Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 191. Ayres Rock

An epic rock climb!

It's 6am, and Bec has us up out of bed for the second day in a row. Admittedly there is good reason, as we are up and off to watch the sunrise at Ayres Rock. As usual, Bec has everything organised, and all I have to do is somehow fit it all in the Pajero...

Sunrise at Ayers Rock

We arrive at the rock, with just moments to spare,. Bec grabs the camera and disappears before anyone can blink. She is off to pick 'her' spot with camera in hand, ready to capture another magical moment out here in the red centre.

Meanwhile back in the car park, Scarlett and I start unloading the menagerie of 'stuff' Bec has packed, and begin preparing a cooked breakfast. First we boil the jug, ready for our morning cup-of-teas. Then Scarlett throws on bacon and toast (her breakfast), and starts cooking herself a fantastic smelling hot breakie.

Sunrise at Ayers Rock (with the Olga's in the background)

Scarlett cooking up a storm!
Just as Scarlett serves up her own breakfast, Bec wanders back with a huge grin on her face. She's enjoyed her morning; watching the sun rise over the spectacular Ayers Rock - and better still, she loves what is greeting her; a hot cuppa and a hot breakfast. Nothing to fancy I'm afraid, just egg and bacon on toast; but from the envious looks and offers of money we get from the other tourists as they return to their cars, it must of looked like a feast!

After a yummy breakfast overlooking the amazing monolith that Ayers Rock is, we were back in the car and off to check out what other adventures 'the rock' had to offer. We stopped off at a car park that led to some aboriginal paintings and a waterhole, but Scarlett just wanted to climb the rock - something she has been pestering us about ever since we arrived here yesterday.

Around the other side of Ayers Rock
Not thinking that this was going to go anywhere, we drove around the rock and stopped at the base of the climb. I was surprised to see it open to climbers, as I'd heard from our friends Karren and Greg, that it was closed yesterday morning. The signs at the base of the climbing point asks visitors to respect aboriginal culture and not climb the rock - but luckily(?) for Scarlett she still can't read because she was already on her way up to chicken rock!

and I grabbed the camera and water bottles, and soon joined Scarlett for the walk up to 'chicken rock'. We arrived there in no time at all, and Scarlett was soon wanting to climb further. Um... OK, so we'll climb the short distance up to the chain handrail - but again Scarlett was full of beans and wanted to continue on. We ventured further and further up along the chain, and were soon taking a rest break (or two) as the rock face was getting steeper and steeper.

Bec and Scarlett ready to tackle 'the rock'
I took the opportunity to ask Scarlett if it was time to head back, but she wouldn't hear of it. She wanted to keep going, and Bec wasn't going to hold her back - as it's something she never finished when she visited Ayers Rock when she was just a little girl. So off we trudged again, with Scarlett leading the way. Bec and I were both quietly 'willing' Scarlett to give up and quit, but the kid just kept going. She was like the 'Energiser Bunny' on TV, as she kept powering up the rock. On a number of times we had to call her back as either Bec or I wanted to take a break, much to Scarletts' disgust. About a dozen breaks later (and a quick phone call to Wendy telling her what we were doing), we finally reached the top where we found a a marker indicating the highest point on Ayers Rock.

Bec and Scarlett taking a break from the climb

It took us just under 2 hours to get up there, but the view was spectacular! I think even Scarlett was glad when we finally reached the top, as after what seemed like a million false crests, we reached the marker. Bec was a little disappointed as she was hoping there was a visitors book at the top that we could sign, but there was nothing to be seen for miles - and I mean miles. We could clearly see the Olga's and Mt Conner in the distance, and even the curviture of the earth.

Only half way up, and mum is already buggered

I'll be very honest here and say that I didn't think we would make it to the top of Ayers Rock. We didn't wake up and plan to walk/climb up Ayers Rock this morning, as we were really looking at riding our push bikes the 9kms around the base of the rock. However, Scarlett was very keen to tackle the rock and Bec and I weren't going to stand in her way.

Nearly there...
At the top, we took a 'few' photo's on the camera, and then another on my mobile phone. I sent the photo via sms to Becs family and also to my brother; before uploading a photo of Scarlett on top of the rock on 'facebook'. Paul (my brother) then called me to say G'day and to tell me how jealous he was with what we were doing while he was stuck back at work south of Sydney.
just a bit more...

This gave me the idea of ringing Becs dad Russell from the top of Ayers Rock, and after trying a second time we finally got through. He was dumbfounded that we had 'reached the top', and to say that he was very impressed with Scarlett and her amazing achievement would be an understatement. It was great to share such a special moment with him, as we haven't seen him now for over 6 months; and I know for a fact that both Bec and Scarlett are missing him (and Wendy) like crazy.

Come on mum! Just a bit further...
We probably spent about 20 minutes on top of the rock (where Bec and Scarlett even had a game of Miss Mary Mac - the clapping game). It was soon time to start making our way back down to the base of Ayers Rock, and it wasn't something either Bec or I were looking fwd to. There were a couple of steep sections along the path that had both Bec and Scarlett sliding along on their butts (which was very funny to watch), but by the time we reached the bottom Scarlett had worn the seat out of her pants. The holes are everywhere and just to bad to repair; so I guess I now have more rags to use.

On top of Ayers Rock (and that's the Olga's in the background)

We did it
Well, it took us a total of three and a half hours to climb to the top and back down again. It was an experience I will never forget; especially since I got to do it with two girls. I underestimated both of them, and I am truly sorry for that. I guess you learn a new thing everyday - and mine today was to respect, praise and encourage; not to stress and think something isn't within either of their reaches. I am very pleased to see that Scarlett had it in her to do it at the ripe old age of 5, and also happy to see that Bec never gave up. They are both amazing people that I feel very privileged to have in my life.

After burning so many calories this morning, we returned to the van where Bec made a yummy lunch, before she 'fell' into bed for a well earned rest. Scarlett watched a movie, before talking me into playing with her outside while Bec slept. Bec woke up hours later, while Scarlett spent the afternoon riding her bike around the campground and playing in the playground.

Miss Mary Mac.. Mac... Mac..
This evening we had planned to watch the sunset over the Olga's, but we just didn't have it in us after today's huge adventure. Instead, we spent the afternoon and evening relaxing around the van.

Although hundreds of Kms out of the way, I'm glad we visited this very special part of Australia. We achieved personal goals on an Australian icon, that we probably wouldn't have had the chance to do in a few years time - as it appears Ayers Rock - or Uluru as the local indigenious people refer it as; is going to be completely closed off to any climbing.

A great photo taken by Scarlett
Bec will probably have us up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to watch sunrise over the Olga's, before we head north up to Kings Canyon where we plan on spending a few days exploring and resting.

The Olga's on the horizon

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