Uluru is a place you have undoubtedly seen photos of. That big red rock in the middle of the desert, where herds of wild camels roam through the outback, and the land isn’t even slightly barren, and our fair heroines rode a camel through the dawn.
It was a lark, rather foolishly expensive for what it was, a ride on a camel through the early morning, but worth every frivolous dime. Jo and I were in the lead, on a gentle camel named Alice. Alice has very long eyelashes, which help keep the sand out of her eyes, but it really just makes them look pretty, too. She wasn’t noisy, like Jack, who complained loudly when his people climbed on, or slightly shady, like the one right behind me who kept pretending he wanted to nuzzle but really wanted to get into my pockets. The rocking motion, the very high view, the exotic pleasure of riding a camel! was worth every minute.
After breakfast, we headed out to the rock itself. I walked around the base, a distance of about 11km, all told, and it took three hours because you really can’t stop yourself from pausing to shoot yet another angle of sage green against red against sky. It was a long, quiet, meditative walk, and I’m genuinely sweaty for the first time in a month. It was also the first time I’ve done a long walk on my own since the Avon walk, and I realized that I missed it. Maybe three hour solitary walks are not everyone else’s cup of tea, but the training this summer showed me that they really are mine.
Just now, it is raining, a heavenly thing in the desert, and I’m feeling quite mellow and delighted. I’ll have a shower then nip out to see if I can find some supper. Tomorrow we fly to Cairns, our next to the last stop. Can I bear to leave this amazing country?