Farewell to Lost City
[Extract from Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981]
We’d spent the night camping in the Lost City, Kings Canyon; prohibited now, perhaps then, too, but Dad being Dad, and the 1980’s being the 1980’s, somehow, we got away with it…
We dragged our weary bodies back to where we had camped the previous night. After such a generous lunch, my legs ached, and lugging the heavy load of a back pack, all I wanted to do was sleep. I used my will-power to put one foot in front of the other. The track back to that camp seemed to take an eternity.
Once we reached the site, we packed the hidden items in a couple of packs and embarked on our return to base camp.
The last leg of our Canyon adventure was underway, and with renewed zest, most of the party scampered ahead, leaving me to struggle at the end of the line. Only my brother, Richard stayed behind to keep me company. We plodded in silence through the tangle of tunnels, our hearts bidding the paradise of the “Lost City” farewell.
When we arrived at the lookout, the sun casting tangerine rays over the cliffs and reddening the roofs of the sandstone city behind us, Dad assembled the party in front of the mounds’ red tips and photographed us; the return of the triumphant.
The sun set and the blue-pink tones of twilight guided our steps. Still, before we reached the Rover, we had enough light to obtain water, and collect wood for the fire.
‘I hope our trailer and stuff was alright,’ Dad said and picked up his pace as if the last few vital seconds would save his belongings from being stolen.
‘Could be all gone, Uncle,’ my older cousin, C1 joked. ‘Then what?’
‘We’ll have to hitch a ride to Alice Springs,’ younger cousin, C2 said.
TR, our family friend limped along the path looking like the walking dead. ‘I’m not walking any further, that’s for sure,’
My brother snorted, ‘We’ll put you on the bus with the tourists,’
‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ Dad said. ‘The Lord will’ve looked after our stuff.’
And the Lord did keep our Rover, trailer and all our possessions safe. There they sat in the clearing untouched.
‘Praise the Lord!’ Dad sang as he completed inspecting our belongings. ‘It’s all here.’ He lifted a corner of the tarpaulin, leant forward, screwed up his nose and sniffed, then put down the cover.
‘Well, TR we don’t have to put you on with a bus load of tourists after all,’ C1 said.
‘No.’ TR sank down to the sand and sat cross-legged. ‘What a pity.’ I reckon the seed of thought to leave us had been planted and was already growing in TR’s overworked body and exhausted mind.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Photo: The Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981