There are flies on the windscreen
22 March, 2010
I survived my night in the yoff hostel despite one girl snoring like a beast and I think it would be rude not to thank the person who invented earplugs. Everyone staying there was really friendly and I had dinner with two German girls and another girl called Fabian who is sharing the same room as me. In fact, everyone seems to be either from France, Germany, Austria or Holland and there are no Brits. Of course, the Europeans all speak perfect English and speak English to each other as one of the reasons they are here is to learn English (learning Australian English?!). Most of them also seem to be incredibly tall so for once in my life I feel diminutive!
‘The Rock’ tour starts at 6am and there are 21 of us (one English couple from “ull” (Hull); Danish, Germans, Dutch and some Aussies: mostly in their 20s). The Aussies are a brother and sister in their 60s/early 70s and an Austrian woman in her 60s who has lived in Oz for 33 years. The brother now lives in Canada and is as mad as a mad thing. He runs a retreat in Vancouver and is here on a spiritual journey creating a ‘rainbow’ of peace, love & abundance etc. You get the picture. Actually, I cannot be too cynical about him as by the end of the tour he and I have engaged in an interesting conversation and his new-age life was borne out of losing his wife to cancer 10 years’ ago. Our tour leader is a typical Aussie male and makes Bear Gyllis look like a sniveling girl guide.
I cannot get over the amount of flies and they are the uber annoying small ones that do not shift when you try and swat them away from your face. I have had to purchase a hat with a fly net and it turns out to be the best purchase of my life (well, not really because if I’m honest that was probably a pair of shoes or a handbag)
Our first designation is Kings Canyon and we arrive at 12 noon to start our 3 hour hike. I personally think this is bonkers as it is so hot that you could fry an egg on the rocks and only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. I join the oldies as my knee is still bothering me from my London marathon ‘victory’ and we all head off on a shorter, less challenging hike and have a swim in the creek. The geology is quite spectacular and a lot of the rocks are petrified and come in all sorts of shades of red and the contrast of the green vegetation and red makes for some good photo opportunities. The area is greener than I expected and has had more rainfall than usual and we pass a lot of river beds along the way that have been washed into the road. The weather here has gone from one extreme to another and where they have had drought in most places for nearly a decade, other parts have had more rain than the average.
After an exhausting day of hiking (not me!), we have dinner around the campfire at Curtin Springs and sleep in swags under the stars. For the uninitiated, swags are a large canvas sleeping bag equipped with a thin mattress. Now, as you will be aware, I am not a camping girl and the prospect of sleeping in a swag directly on the dirt and having to piss in a long drop doesn’t really appeal to me. But I have to admit that I had the best night’s sleep in my swag under a non-light polluted sky and waking up to seeing shooting stars was ‘awesome’.