'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)


Menoreturnagain; TBP 14a - FFF with Realism

For this month's Final Friday Fiction, something more real. A side trip before we head to The Alice - can't miss this tale out of the revisit to my first adventures in the Great Down Under Parts... who needs fiction when real life offers such fun!!!

😈
Uluru, for the uninitiated, is the traditional landowners' name for what the white fella called Ayers Rock.  Any white fella worth his witchetty grub now knows better.  At the time we were there, the move to discourage the climbing of The Rock had only been going for a short while so there was still a bit of ambivalence about the matter.  It is a sacred site; the clambering all over it by thousands of non-indigenous feet is really akin to trampling all over your grandmother's grave.

At first, I was inclined NOT to climb.  I would like to say it was entirely for ethical reasons, but to be frank, it was also to do with vertigo.  I can get the 'woozies' looking up at tall buildings.  I can get it sitting on a chair at home watching movies with all the wrong scenery in them.  It's rather disturbing. 

I was firm in my resolve until a couple we had befriended at the campsite had a bit of an argument.  They were very senior folks (late 60s) for such activity.  The lady was not having a bar of it but Ol' George with the heart bypass and still dicky ticker was determined he was heading up there.  YAM, as regulars will be aware, has a soft spot for the elders and cares a bit about what they get up to.  So before she knew it she had volunteered to keep Ol' George company and to make him back down if any sign of trouble showed up.  The lady was well pleased. 
"800 metres of potential suicide ahead..."

Aitch just stared at me.

Before dawn, we gathered at the foot of the one and only path.  The shallowest angle of the climb is about 30' and a fair bit of it is 45' or more.  A small chain is anchored on the parts beyond the 50' angle.  The width of the 'path' is never more than 4 feet before it begins curving away.  Often narrower.  It's a ridge you see.  At the bottom, the leader gave us the pep talk about dos and donts and pointed out the metal plaques which had been put up by families of climbers who had fallen to their ends.  An encouraging start.  The fit and keen raced off first. Then the 'we are here so we better do it' crowd took off. Finally, the half dozen of us who were battling our inner elements set off.

Aitch just stared after me.

Ol' George was enthusiastic it has to be said.  Also surprisingly fit.  I honestly had not expected him to get past the 50 feet marker, based on his being a smoker and showing signs of emphysema as well as CHD.  The sun was well up the horizon by the time we reached the halfway point.  Not quite halfway exactly, but close enough and here there is a flattening out - almost a ledge you would say - where breath might be taken.  Ol' George would have pressed on, but I was watching him closely.

The heat by this time was reaching over 40'C and our water diminishing.  We had been climbing for the best part of 2 hours already.  Slow and steady.  We had met all the fit and keen heading back down again.  I looked over at Ol' George and noticed that the otherwise rather grey and pallid face was now resembling a plum.  The Victoria sort - not the Green Gager.  I was not at that time, of the medical persuasion, but I was a first-class First Aider, so I knew this was not a good look on a senior man of questionable health.  He was a proud old duffer though and the only way I was going to get him to stop was to feign my own trouble.

This whipped back on me because, as soon as he agreed to rest, we turned around…  and faced the very wide, very open, very deep space that is the central Australian desert.  Not another height in sight.

Ol' George became the rescuer.  As the spins hit me and I began to tumble, he grabbed my wrist and thumped me onto the rock, face down.  "Why didn't you say you have vertigo gal?  The lady has it too that's why she didn't want to come!!"  He 'tsked and tutted' and grabbing the back of my pants, guided me all the way back down the way we'd come.  He would never admit that this gave him the best excuse possible to give in on the climb himself!

Thus a mid-20s maniac and a late 60's mule saved each other from sudden death on a lump of red rock.

At the bottom, Aitch just stared at me.

Not quite, but nearly...

18 comments:

  1. Oh my stars YAM I got dizzy just reading this. Thank goodness you and George had each other's backs.
    Never in my wildest dreams did I think at one time folks were allowed to climb. Didn't know it was sacred just thought it was too dangerous without steps etc and hearing reading about families who had lost loved ones there, I would not have attempted it. Aitch did a lot of staring. BOL MOL LOL Love this story and the good ending.
    I'll join up tomorrow with my FFF....it too is real
    Hugs Cecilia

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  2. Oh my...This had me on the edge of my seat! Lucky you both had each other!!
    Glad the adventure ended with no one hurt!!

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  3. Quite another adventure ~ glad you were both safe ~ Is Aitch still staring at you??? LOL

    Be Safe, Be Well,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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    1. Hello Carol,

      I don’t have to stare at Yam so much now as we are both older and wiser. LOL

      Hilary

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    2. ..bbbbwwwwaahahahahahahahah..... Yxx

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  4. Blimey. That's all I can say. Blimey. So glad it was a good outcome. Can't believe Aitch only stared at you.

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    1. Hello Joanne

      I had learnt that if Yamini wanted to do something there was nothing I could say to stop her or even to say it may not be a good idea. But a stare told her everything she needed to know and then she went ahead. If things went badly then she knew she should have maybe listened to me without me having to say anything. LOL
      Hilary

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  5. oh wow!!! and you really saw this rock with your own eyes... that is more than amazing...and now we were there with you and we survived LOL

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  6. When we view the pictures of beauty spots, we will feel like having been there.So, real experience is indeed wonderful.

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  7. I have vertigo and a fear of heights and would not climb up that mountain if you held a gun on me..

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  8. You have the best adventures. xxx

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  9. You are making me laugh with these wonderful memories. Xxx

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    1. Hari OM
      it's fun, isn't it?! Sooooo long ago... we'll have new adventures. One day soon... Yxx

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  10. I give you lots of credit. No way would I be climbing!

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  11. Hubby and I take turns just staring. Another day, another adventure! namaste, janice xx

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  12. What an adventure and such fabulous writing. It flows like a scene from a film in front of my eyes. Talking of films, this episode reminds me of a film I've watched recently. It's called Tracks--based on the memoirs of Robyn Davidson. Have you seen the film or read about Robyn's journey?
    Sending you love from Doha. xx

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    1. Hari OM
      Yes, Arti, I have seen the film, but not read the book. It was quite the adventure, if (some might say) rather reckless! As adventurous as I am, I stop short of the foolhardy... Yxx

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  13. Hi Yam - I've always looked at pictures of Ayers Rock and thought I couldn't have tackled that ... but a great telling of what can happen - two faces saved from other fates by the telling of it. I've also seen Tracks ... at least you went half way - but perhaps the memories always bring back vertigo thoughts ... if one can have vertigo thoughts?! Wonderful photo of 'a few years' ago and I loved the telling of this story ... all the best now - Hilary

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