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…