We'd chosen to do the walk in late June because that's when the daytime temperatures are best for walking, and also because it rarely rains then. After a few days on the trail, we'd arrived at Standley Chasm, and were treated that evening to an electrical storm. Not the worst I'd ever camped in, but unusual for that time of year, and I was pretty glad that we were down in the valley at a campground and not perched on top of Brinkley Bluff where we'd been a few hours earlier.
Feeling like we'd dodged a bullet, we set off the next morning towards Jay Creek. After lunch, the clouds started gathering, and before long we could see and hear a storm racing towards us from the west.
And then our luck ran out. A few hours later the rain and hail came down in tropical amounts. In the middle of the night we dragged sodden tents into the shelter shed and waited for the deluge and din of the storm on the metal roof to pass. The dry creek turned into an impassable river. In the darkness we could see the tiny retro-reflective arrow on the opposite bank by torchlight, and we knew just by the sound of the torrent that we weren't getting out that way any time soon.
The next morning we discussed our options. Continuing our walk towards Simpson's Gap wasn't one of them, at least not in the following few days. The map indicated a property called Hamilton Downs about 5km up a track to the north, and mentioned the possible presence of a caretaker, so we figured that was our best bet.
We were relieved to find that the property did indeed have a caretaker (two, in fact), and with our remaining vestiges of luck and the kindness of strangers, we managed to get back to Alice Springs by road a few hours later. The same storm that drenched us at Jay Creek had hammered Alice Springs too. The town was carpeted in eucalyptus leaves and fallen branches, and the Todd River was raging.All in all we were very lucky - lucky to not have been on the track when the final storm hit, lucky to not have had our tents shredded, lucky to not have camped on top of Brinkley Bluff during an electrical storm and lucky that the Hamilton Downs caretakers were there and so helpful.