Jennifer walking before dawn is like watching something out of The Walking Dead.
She’s alive, kind of.
At least, she pretends to be alive.
I’d made her a double shot latte on the Aldi espresso machine in our room before we left, at about 5:30am.
I don’t know what you give zombies to activate them, but I was hoping that coffee would do the trick.
It did, kind of.
Her mumbling became slightly more coherent.
Driving out to the rock in the dark, there was a line of buses and vehicles in front of us. A convoy. But they all peeled off somewhere else. We were headed to the sunrise side of the rock, to do the Base Walk, which is a complete circumference of the rock – almost 11kms.
It was still dark when we arrived, although the sky in the east was starting to lighten.
We set off at 6:15am.
The walk would sometimes loop wide, and sometimes hug the edge of the massive monolith.
As we began, in the dark, Jennifer turned to me and said with a huge smile on her face: Can you feel them? They’re with us. They’re walking with us.
She then walked off on ahead of me.
I stayed back and began to take photographs as the sun began to rise.
There were signs up in certain sections requesting that you don’t take photos or shoot video, because the traditional landowners regarded those parts of the rock as sacred.
And climbing the rock is now forbidden, for the same reason.
This place is as much a place of reverence as any holy site.
We walked clockwise, which at the beginning of the walk had us heading into the rising sun.
As I walked I felt a very powerful sacred energy – the same sort of energy I’d felt by the Ganges, or gazing up at the snow-peaked Himalayas, or walking into the Notre Dame in France, or in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
The difference though was that this energy was ancient.
And very much of the earth and the stars.
There’s scientific evidence that the aboriginal people have been living around Uluru for at least 40,000 years, and some believe up to 55,000 years.
After about 4kms we came to a shelter, and a chair made from local wood.
Jennifer had a sit down. I suspected that sometime in the last fifteen or twenty minutes, she’d woken up.
We then walked together for a while.
The sun came up – and as we wound around the base I looked up and saw what I regarded as a head. It was etched into the rock.
Interestingly, it had a protuberance where the Third Eye is.
As we walked, it seemed to follow us – just like the Mona Lisa’s eyes are meant to follow you around the room!
We walked further around the base into the full glare of the sun, now well into the sky. The light had changed dramatically. But the majesty of the rock was undiminished.
Walking further around. And found new contours in the rock to marvel at. I could walk around Uluru a thousand times and see something new each time.
This shot here above gives you no sense of how huge this is; from ground level to top of the rock is possibly twenty-five stories.
After about 2 and a half hours we decided to stop and have breakfast – a sandwich. Someone very kindly took our photo.
As we sat having breakfast, this is what we were looking at.
We finished our sambos and continued the last few kms of the walk. The sun was now behind the rock, starting to peak at its rim.
After nearly three hours we arrived back at the carpark. When we’d pulled in at 6am, ours was the only car – now it was nearly full.
I took a photos of two tourists wearing nets to keep out the flies.
Most of the tourists were wearing these nets, because the flies are so intense they get into your eyes, up your nose, into your ears. Insect sprays etc simply don’t work with these little buggers.
As we got into the car to drive back to the hotel, Jennifer and I agreed that it was one of the most extraordinary walks we’ve ever done.
I mused that we travel so much, and yet one of the great walks is right in our own back yard. But then that’s the same no matter where you live….
We tend to think that the ultimate experiences are in exotic foreign places.
Sometimes they’re right at home…
OK, having only walked along one front of it all, I guess I now have to go back to do the full circumnavigation … amazing photos, Bill, thanks 🙂 And you’re right, even when confronted with the size, it almost doesn’t seem real, it’s THAT BIG!!
Hey Britta – yes it’s freakish how huge it is, isn’t it… It’s like a huge power dynamo… you can feel it from a long way out… I didn’t think I would be so affected by it. And sorry, conked out early last night, but to reply to your previous comment; I only got to within about 5kms from The Olgas because I had to be back at the hotel for the Retreat session. I would shave loved to have spent some time there. It too looks like a very powerful place…
Tell me, you can get back to Katja Tuja. Surely you can’t leave without entering that space too … it’s really different, but just as powerful. I always thought it incredible that two so very powerful and yet so different places were plonked so close in that vast and otherwise ’empty’ landscape. My mother, who was one of the most sensible and grounded people I’ve ever met, nearly ran out of there, saying that there was something there she could not describe, but too powerful for her to want to deal with! I hope for you both that you can make the extra trek 🙂
Hi Britta – I simply haven’t had the time on this trip; it’s been full on each day – principally for the film, but also the seminar. There’s been no spare time at all. But i feel we will be coming back…
Wonderful post and stunning photos Bill. If you think you could be back perhaps you could give some thought to putting this on a future PGS tour.
Hi jenny – sorry for the delayed response but I’ve been driving all day – so if I can, I’ll respond to your three comments in one.
Firstly, it has occurred to us to mount a Uluru tour. Perhaps even going up to Utopia. There would need to be sufficient interest though. After the Indian tour we’d like to mount the Celtic Camino tour – but again that would be subject to a certain level of interest.
As you say though, the rock really is the beating heart of this country. There’s something very profound there, which I wasn’t expecting until I saw it for the first time…
Also, thank you for your very kind words re the posts and the photos. I enjoy doing it. It helps define my day… 🙂
Hugs to you mate,
Cheers Bill. Both the Celtic Camino tour and the Uluru/Utopia tour sound wonderful. I’d be really interested to hear more about them when your time permits. I know your plans for the Celtic Camino tour are more advanced than the Uluru/Utopia tour as that’s been in the pipeline for a while now and I love it that ALL the tours have spirituality as the common link.
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Hi Jenny, yes I also have a vague notion of doing a walking tour in Japan, around the ancient sacred paths there. But again that will come down to level of interest. Also, hosting a tour in Australia would be expensive! We’re one of the most expensive countries in the world right now!! But yes, our tour mission statement if you like is to only do tours that have a spiritual side to them. That’s really what interests Jen and me…
You’re right about Australia being one of the most expensive countries to host a tour – particularly when there’s air travel involved. Yikes – air travel in Oz is astronomical, except for Jetset and Tiger and we all know how unreliable they are.
Absolutely breath taking. Thank you for sharing it all. ❤
Thank you Ingrid. One of these days in the middle of your freezing winter you must come to Australia and see Uluru. You would find it very powerful and very moving, I’m sure… Bill
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WOW its so lovely! I would have been a walking zombie too. but what wonderful photo’s. What was the temperature Bill?
Hi Kathryn – the temp was fairly moderate; 17C. And for the first part of the walk there was quite a stiff breeze, which kept the flies away! Good weather for walking, and for a short while there I had good light, but it changes fast out here. After sunrise you really only have about 20-30mins of good light before it becomes boring… 🙂 Thanks also for the very kind words!
No “tourist photos” here. Absolutely gorgeous photos. It is truly an amazing rock! Odd how out in the middle of the desert the flies are so pesky! I remember a stage on the Camino Frances that was like that! The couple with the nets are hilarious!
Hey Lynda – thanks re the photos. Yes it’s quite extraordinary. I hope some of that energetic power comes through in the pics. The flies yes are troublesome. It’s pretty yukky when you swallow them!
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