Those of you who have read or are reading the book will know that getting out of Alice Springs proved to be a challenge. The photos below will give you an idea what the roads were still like, even a week after the rains ended. As noted in previous posts, the Red Centre had turned green, but the roads had turned to mush.
Because we’d been detained for so long by the floods, we would be driving straight through to get back to our starting points– almost 2-1/2 days of driving with only occasional breaks for meals and leg stretching. Fortunately, most of the driving was through remote, rugged, and really beautiful landscapes that provided a nearly endless series of memorable images. And as always, the nighttime driving was magic, with stars reaching all the way to the ground on both sides of us. So while it wasn’t easy, it was still fascinating.
Main road still flooded.
Well, the flood was certainly inconvenient and was keeping us from moving on, but for someone who loves nature and science, this was a real National Geographic-level opportunity, and I was enjoying myself immensely.
Desert frogs, which survive underground for as long as 7 years, only come out when there is flooding. They mate and lay eggs, and if they’re lucky, the eggs will hatch and the tadpoles will grow to adulthood before the water disappears. So while it was still raining, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by frogs. Then, within a week, after the rain had stopped, we found that all the ponds and pools that remained were filled with tadpoles. Having seen this previously on a TV special, I was thrilled to watch it unfold before me (though I wouldn’t be able to stick around for the full cycle and watch grown frogs bury themselves again).
As the water began to recede, the force with which the water had flowed through some places was underscored by flattened bushes and, what delighted me more, patterns in the mud that looked like patterns on the sea floor. It was fascinating—and, as with most things I find interesting, deserving of being photographed.
So here are the photos: on the left, tadpoles, and on the right, the “sea floor” patterns left by a temporary roaring river.