Friday, June 5, 2009



The guide woke is up very early in morning with a roaring bonfire for light as it was still dark. We rolled our bags while the guide made us breakfast; nothing fancy but filling.  And, we were on the road by dawn and headed for the National Park.

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) and Ayers Rock (Uluru) are both located in the National Park.  We arrived late afternoon and visited The Olgas first.  Our hike there was not quite as tough but still took us nearly three hours to complete.  Off in the bus for the Cultural Center at the base of Ayers Rock.  There Mark pulled out his magic pot and cooked us a great hot lunch before we walked over to visit the center.  Afterwards we took a short walk at the base of Ayers Rock to see some of the sacred sites.  This whole area is considered very sacred by the Aborigine people and they ask you not to climb Ayers Rock.  Several of the sites at the base are clearly marked that no photographs are allowed.   

Ron, yes the 80 year old, and Matt, a 22 year old Brit were the only ones planning to climb the rock.  Just as they arrived today, rangers closed the trail because of a possible storm.  So they will try again tomorrow morning.  Off in the van we drove to the sunset viewing area to watch the changing lights on Ayers Rock as the sun set amid a cloudy sky.  We were also allowed to enjoy some of our beer while we waited for the sunset.  Some groups had chairs and champagne but we were definitely having more fun!  Mark had fixed our dinner of chicken curry while we viewed the sunset and we enjoyed a tasty treat before leaving the viewing area.

Arrived at our “out back” campsite, similar but a different area, after dark again.  Toilets were again in the bush wherever you could get out of the light of the bonfire.  Since we’d already had dinner we got the rolled swags out as soon as our bonfire was built.  Mary had a headlamp and enjoyed gathering wood with the boys!  Around the roaring fire we sang songs of every nation but mostly English.  We played Musical Swags with Ron (80) and Linda, from Connecticut being the last two survivors…Linda won! 

After a bit of fun with the Hocky Pokey…which everyone knew….we unrolled our swags, inserted our sleeping bags and called it a night with another fantastic star watch.  It was warmer tonight with the clouds but no rain and they didn’t seem to spoil our view.

Up again by 6 am, we were on the road without toilet or breakfast to get to the viewing area for sunrise and Ayers Rock.  Because of the cloud cover we actually went to the sunset viewing area so that we’d have the view of the clouds behind Ayers Rock as the clouds prevented the colors that normally envelope the mountain at sunrise. 

Ron and Matt both got to climb the rock; they arrived minutes before the rangers again closed the mountain to new climbers because of wind.  Coming down our hikers managed to save a woman who lost her footing; Ron grabbed her as she slid head down the mountain.  He really is our #1 guy!

The rest of us spent the morning walking the base of Ayers Rock; a flat but very long two hour walk.  We were very tired, smelly and definitely dirty by the time we climbed back into the bus for our long journey back to Alice Springs.  We left Ayers Rock at noon and arrived in Alice Springs at 4:30 pm.  During our walk in the morning, Mark stayed at the bus and prepared a tasty pasta lunch with tuna and corn.  We dished and ate as we drove.  Being in the front seat, I dished the dishes as we passed them back into the bus.  We had left over chocolate, crackers and marshmallows from last night; did I mention we did some-mores!    

We arrived back at Annie’s Place in Alice Springs and hot showers, laundry and dinner in that order.  We had a huge table that fix us all; dinner was extra cheap at $5 a dish; plus the beer flowed as pitcher after pitcher arrived on the tables.  The music blared even louder than on our trip.  There were many Ipods on our bus, all full of fun music which I’m sure a few of the older folks didn’t enjoy as much.  But, the youth outnumbered us and the music was very loud and rock and roll!  Mary was the cheerleader and kept everyone in stitches as she danced with her hands on the bus as we rumbled down the highway.    She seems to know the names of the bands and lyrics to all the songs they were playing. 

The party went on into the wee hours and the last revelers left when the bar closed.  I departed about midnight, ready for a real bed.  We even danced… all of us….old and young…on the table tops during the party.  The star of the party was Sam (from England) who was celebrating his 21st birthday.  At sunrise that morning, we surprised him with a cake with candles and champagne!  His mum had given him a “birthday celebration” package before he left home six months ago.  He had a pin the tail on the donkey, balloons and noise makers.  I must say it was one heck of a party! 

Today is Thursday and we’re waiting for our afternoon flight to Cairns and Port Douglas.   Mary has been a real trouper and picked up much of my share of the workload on this tour.  I try to be open to adventure and having fun.   We're anxious to get to the coast for some warmer weather! But,  we'll miss the sunrises and sunsets of Ayers Rock...

From Mulga Day Two

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