Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Red Center - Australia

Uluru and Kata Tjuta, two sandstone rocks piercing the desert floor of central Australia are some of the highlights of the Outbacks. Aboriginals have settled long ago around Uluru making this place of unique spiritual heritage. Since then, an airport was built, the roads, paved. National Parks and iconic places always bring many tourists. Walking up the trails let you avoid the crowd but it was difficult to feel the solitude of the outbacks.

I still managed to feel very much alone: after admiring the sunset on Kata Tjuta, I returned to the car park. With nobody around, I tried to open my car. It was locked. I had no cell phone coverage and the closest town was 75km away. After a few seconds of panic, I decided to walk for a couple of miles, in the dark, to the closest emergency phone I had noticed along one of the trails and called the rangers. They showed up, around midnight, towed my car and I eventually went to bed, around 4 in the morning as we had the surprise to discover another empty car on our way back, which meant a rescue attempt. Using headlamps this time, we found the lost guy who was starting his night in the wild, not without fear. Looking at his eyes when we discovered him, he was really relieved. That is my own personal experience of the Australian outbacks. Next time, I will be prepared.

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