Tom and I got up early to drive to the sunrise viewing spot. We shared this with a cast of hundreds. It was freezing but I had Ben’s sleeping bag to keep me warm. We left the boys snuggled up in bed. Unfortunately there was some cloud so the colours on the rock were not as spectacular as we had hoped. Still none the less, it was beautiful. With a memory card full of photos we returned to camp to rouse the boys from bed and have breakfast.
Today we decided to do the Base Walk, a circumnavigation of the rock, including detours it is just over 11km. We had chosen not to attempt to climb the rock. It is the Anangu, the traditional owners wish that we do not, as it is a sacred place for them. Through our time travelling in the Northern Territory and talking to the Indigenous guides and some of the people in Arnhem Land I feel we have a better understanding of some of their culture, and I know that we have barely scratched the surface. Although it may have been great to do it, we won’t be. Ben wanted to know what it would look like on top so we used Google earth to discover it.
Along the walk there are many signs explaining some of the creation stories to do with the rock. What is surprising is how varied the rock is with caves, art sites, a permanent waterhole, Mutitjulu, and even a gorge (Kantju Gorge).
Everyone went really well on the walk, it was the longest one we have done, but unlike most of the others was completely flat. Ben and Sam talked on the phone to some cousins and friends back in Melbourne, which was fairly bizarre. With about 1 kilometre to go Patrick had had enough so he, Tom and Sam stopped for a prolonged rest, while Ben and I completed the circumnavigation. We got the car and came back to pick Patrick up. Sam and Tom could then finish the walk, and everyone was happy. While waiting for them to finish Patrick, Ben and I were entertained by watching various people and their attempts to climb up the rock, and to get down when they realised how hard it is. Frequently the decent were done on bottoms, or relying on friends or family to rescue them.
Another sunset…..and then we had dinner at the Outback Pioneer Bar a barnlike pub. Patrick and Ben opted for overpriced pizzas while Tom, Sam and I went for the cook it yourself BBQ. Always adventurous Sam joined us in the mixed plate, which included the animals of our coat of arms – kangaroo and emu. An added bonus is we were able to watch Gold Coast beat Collingwood on the TV.
Music – Songs with ‘Rock’ in the title. (Emma had fun playing with the iPod)