posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 09:37 PM
Jan 14th 2004.
Dear diary, man is it steaming, thirty six degrees, ninety percent humidity and not even noon yet. The wife and I left the Jabiru Holiday Inn at
about eight thirty and after a few unsuccessful attempts at snagging myself a couple of Barra from the swollen rivers and billabongs we are now headed
towards Nourlangie rock.
It looks like it could start p*****g down any time now, that would be some relief at least, though the roads are difficult enough now from last
nights thunder storms. Fortunately we have only had to cross one fairly treacherous creek so far. The missus gives me a stern look as i put my foot
down on one particular nice straight stretch of muddy dirt road, the rear end of the Disco fishtailing nicely.
Well c'mon whats a man to do when temptation is placed so neatly before him, we are only human after all, though some of my compadres on ATS might
argue that more than a few of us are possibly reptilian.
Pretty soon we can see the top of the rock poking above the scrub, it has that wonderful reddish glow that so much of our rock formations have up
here, almost eerie as one half of it is darkly shaded purple, away from the encroaching sunlight. Another ten minutes and as we swing around a tight
right hander, again with just a nice little shake in the ass end of the Disco, followed by the obligatory stormy look, and the rock springs into full
scope like some medieval edifice minus the creepy castle. Awe inspiring ain't really the right word to describe it, it's more mystical, a little off
putting even, it seems to radiate something, pervasively old.
I park the Disco, there's only two other cars here, which is one of the reasons we chose the wet season to visit, the other being this is absolutely
the best time to visit Kakadu no matter what anyone tells you, the abundance of wildlife, the sea of green, the swollen rivers and billabongs,
cascading waterfalls and amazing thunderstorms. It helps to be fairly competent in a four wheel drive, it's a hellishly dangerous place too, with
plenty of dangerous creatures and an isolation from civilization that can trap the unwary.
It's a fair hike from the car park to the first of the overhanging caves on the tourist walk, we are both absolutely soaked from the humidity, it
hasnt started raining yet but it is getting more ominous by the minute. Some of the cave art here IS awe inspiring, to think that the local aborigines
have been using this exact same spot for thousands of years as a temporary shelter from the harsh enviroment that surrounds us, leaves me momentarily
speechless, even my wife is lost for words (for about five seconds). Now don't get me wrong, i love my girl, and she would be the first to admit that
she loves a chin wag, so please take no offence.
It takes us another couple of hours, with plenty of pitstops, to make it back around to the car. We're both absolutely knackered and decide to spend
the night rather than drive back to the hotel. Another half hour see's us with the tent up, a nice little fire going with the billy on the boil and
sitting back to watch the sun go down on another glorious day, even the rains holding off. I'd love to be able to describe the sun setting over the
rock to you but i haven't the talent, perhaps Henry Lawson or Banjo Patterson could do it better justice than I. Suffice to say I'm a card carrying
atheist but if one thing could sway me towards believing in an almighty then that fifteen minutes of glory would be it. And so i close this chapter
feeling pretty bloody good about myself, my lot and my world, the last thing i see as my eye's are drifting shut is the silhouette of an owl perched
upon a tent pole not five feet from my swag, and a shimmering sea of stars as his deserving backdrop.