A rock, a giant red rock in the middle of nowhere. This may not sound very exciting but man it’s one amazing Rock!
Made of sandstone and iron, is rusty red colour, so deep you can’t take your eyes off it.
A giant looming structure literally in the middle of nowhere.
Uluru, has been something I have had on my bucket list for years. Always wanting to scale the side of the ROCK and reach the top. To see as far as the eye can see. The borders of the other Australian states, some 400km away, others only 70km!
Well I did it! I scaled Uluru and I looked into the distance! I ticked another thing off what is becoming a long bucket list!
The weekend was what I would call a fly in fly out weekend. I was lucky enough to join my parents. Dad who was attending a conference and mum who was accompanying him.
The Rock itself takes your breathe away. Flying in you can see it, on its own, just sitting in the middle of a massive grassy plain. It’s beautiful, majestic and enormous.
You don’t appreciate the size until you are right up close. You don’t appreciate the wonderful natural structure until you are at the bottom staring up and up and up, the top invisible to you.
I woke on the Sunday morning fully prepared to conquer the rock. Little did I know it would literally take my breath away.
We approached the bottom and I looked up, the signs saying it was currently closed to walkers. The disappointment seeped through me as I thought, oh no!
I turned back to mum and dad who were chatting to two of their friends and said, “it’s closed!”. They also expressed disappointment.
It wasn’t long after this that two rangers approached the sign and started taking them down. Stating, it was now open.
I didn’t move… I didn’t want to be the first one…
As I stared at the climb ahead of me, a lady and her husband, Donna and Al, came up behind me and said ‘come on you let’s go’.
To say they were amazing is just short of a lie. Donna and Al spoke to me the whole way up, even when we all stopped to catch our breath. Al had claimed the rock three times in three days. Why you ask? Well he said he did it because he could. For Donna, the rock had always been on her bucket list!
As we climbed to the summit we chatted about our lives and all that jazz, talking with people when you’re tackling a challenge like a very, very steep climb, all while hanging onto a chain and the sheer drop either side of you, keeps you distracted.
About 30 minutes after we started the climb we reached the first ‘top’. Like any mountain there are always what we call false peaks. Well when we reached this one, we had reached the top, a place where many people stop. Here the view was amazing, the car park no longer visible and the people now resembling ants! You could see as far as the eyes could see, the grassy plains just never ending. The sheer expanse of the land and the scenery were breathtaking. In the distance the Olga’s or Katajuta another spectacular site and place to visit.
This was not the top for Donna, Al and I. We wanted to go further. It was another 30 minutes to the very centre and very top. I was on a time limit, thanks mum, so we decided to walk just a little bit further, every step closer to the very top, the true top. We stopped just short of this point but at a point where you could see the entire 360 degree view of what lay around us.
It was beautiful, majestic and cold!
Uluru, because of its sheer size has its own weather system. How awesome is that! Reaching the top we were exposed and the wind was something that literally throws you off balance. Not only this but the wind changes, one minute coming from one direction and the next a different direction. It’s strong enough to knock you off your feet. This is generally one of the reasons why the climb is closed.
Spending a few minutes taking in what I had just accomplished, what I was seeing and literally feeling, like I was on top of the world I breathed in and breathed out! A hug from Donna and a high five from Al, watching Donna shed some tears as she had to achieved a life long goal was something I won’t forget too soon.
The hard part about climbing such an amazing mountain is having to go down again. This can be just as scary and dangerous. Many people have died climbing Uluru, a memorial dedicated to them resides on the side of the rock wall near where the climb begins. You climb at your own risk. The dangers so real your heart races with every step you take.
Zoom in on the above picture, you can just make out the chain you have to use to climb!
Coming down with Al and Donna was great. Al has some great advice and it was actually quick and easy. Going backwards and letting the chain slide through your hands.
Your breath quickens and you start to shake every time someone has to pass you coming up. They ask how far to the top, we tell them the truth, a while and don’t stop, take it slow as once you’re at the top the pain is worth it! So worth it!
On the way down I came across a father and his son. His son clinging to the metal pole scared and frozen. I asked if he was okay and he said he had to wait there for his friends to climb to the top and back down to get some photos of him and his son. Looking at the distressed little boy I said, ‘here let me take some photos and I will send them to you so you and your son don’t have to wait on the side.’ The father was so thankful! So I clung to the chain myself, removed my back pack and took some photos.
He was so appreciative and I could see the relief on his sons face.
Here’s some of them.
When my feet touched the solid base, pardon the pun, the solid, flat, red ground relief swept through me. Donna and Al gave me a hug and their well wishes. What a lovely couple. Such an amazing feat we completed.
It just goes to show that even when we think we are incapable of achieving great things, you can, nothing and no one can stand in your way. Determination and literally sweat and sheer muscle power allowed me to achieve something great!
I am now planning a return trip, to take my daughter as well as some school children through the outdoor education program I run. I think it’s a necessary and essential place enriched with history and amazement to be experienced.
If you haven’t been, you must go! Even if you don’t want to or have no urge to climb Uluru, then go anyway. Walk around it. That alone is an experience!
Also add to your list – the Field of Lights. An exceptional feat by Bruce Munro who assembled over 381km of fibre optic cable to create what is 8 football fields of beautiful changing, glass fired globes. As the sun sets the field comes to light. You then get to walk through these amazing fields. While it was freezing the sights of the spider webs and globes took your mind of the frostbite which may be crawling into your toes!
You can even enjoy the sunset with a glass of champagne!
A change of perspective, Uluru through a glass.
Here’s a snippet of that adventure.
So as the sun sets in sunny and cold Queensland on this cold June evening I hope you have realised that in our back yard we have stunning places and sights to see.
Take the plunge, accept the challenge and add it to your bucket list!
Trust me you won’t be disappointed!