Trekking with the T-Team Next Generation: Central Australia 2013
The Splendour of Mount Sonder Sunrise
Calm descended on the Glen Helen campsite, as did the biting cold. The K and T-Team snuggled into their bedding in their respective tents and, after the action-packed day, fell into a deep sleep…until…
K-Son 1 cried, ‘I can’t sleep! You’re snoring, Mum!’
‘I can’t sleep with this mattress; it makes my bones ache!’ K-Son 2 said.
‘I’m still awake, how can I be snoring,’ I replied.
‘You were,’ K-Son 2 said, ‘sure you don’t have sleep-apnoea?’
‘No. Now, stop complaining and get to sleep!’
‘Deal with it,’ I snapped, then turned from Mr K’s pop and buzz.
[Dawn on the Finke © L.M. Kling 2013]
At 7.15am I peeled off my sleeping bag, pulled on my jeans, windcheater and anorak to fend off the early-morning cold, and then shuffled through the annex of our tent where our boys slept.
Wait a minute…one’s missing.
One son lay scrunched up in his sleeping bag on a deflated air mattress. The other mattress devoid of sleeping bag and son. He must’ve got up to see the sunrise, like me, I thought.
I shuffled over to my mum’s cabin and knocked on the door.
‘Coming!’ Mum mumbled.
Clomp, clomp, clomp. The door creaked open and Mum in her nightie, rubbed her eyes and blinked. ‘What?’
‘You said to wake you up early to see the sunrise on Mount Sonder.’
‘Oh, yes,’ Mum peered out into the pale blue dawn, ‘just wait a minute.’
‘Hurry, we don’t want to miss the sunrise.’
Whilst waiting I gazed at the MacDonnell ranges to the east, blocking any hint of the rising sun. Clouds still black from the last vestiges of night crept over the aquamarine sky. A party of parrots chatted in the nearby gum trees. Camp staff carried rubbish bins from one place to another.
[Finke River before Mt Sonder lookout © L.M. Kling 2013]
‘Hope we haven’t missed the sunrise,’ I called.
Mum stepped out the door. ‘Nah, it’ll be alright.’
Bouncing over the road in Mum’s hire car, in a race to beat the sun, we headed for the lookout.
‘It’s just past the Finke crossing, you know, where we turned around yesterday, and up the rise, first turn to your right,’ Mum said.
‘Probably where the T-Team turned their vehicle around.’
A battered sign flitted past on our right.
‘That’s it,’ Mum said as we passed it.
I sighed and then sought a place on the road wide enough to do a U-turn.
[Before sunrise, Finke River © L.M. Kling 2013]
As we crawled up the track to the vantage point, I mumbled, ‘I hope we haven’t missed the sunrise.’
‘We’ll be alright,’ Mum said.
I shrugged. ‘There’s always tomorrow.’
‘Oh, no! I’m not getting up early again.’
We parked. Only one other couple stood on a ledge, admiring the clouds lighting up. Mount Sonder appeared as a dark lump on the horizon.
[Sun risen on Finke © L.M. Kling 2013]
I stepped out the car and slung the camera bag over my shoulder. ‘I don’t know.’
‘Go on, ask those people over there,’ Mum said.
I rolled my eyes and plodded over to the couple.
‘Hi, have we missed the sunrise on Mount Sonder?’ I asked.
‘Sunrise? I don’t think so,’ the young man answered. ‘Hard to tell with all those clouds.’
‘We’ll wait and see, I guess,’ I said and then plodded back to Mum.
Mum pointed. ‘Look, it’s turning pink.’
[Sunrise beginning on Mt Sonder © L.M. Kling 2013]
I extracted my camera from my bag and then looked. Sonder’s cliffs glowed salmon-pink as the rays of sun filtered through the clouds touched them. I watched as the couple snapped a few shots of the sunrise over the Finke River, then climbed in their car and disappeared from the lookout.
[Sonder’s Morning Light © L.M. Kling 2013]
Mum and I stayed, recording the changes on Mount Sonder as the sun rose, and then touching valley and ridges that lead up to the mountain in gentle orange and golden hues. So peaceful, communing with God and photographing the splendour of Sonder.
[Mt Sonder with MacDonnell Ranges Panorama © L.M. Kling 2013]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018
Feature Photo: Namatjira Sonder © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2013
Read more of my adventures with the T-Team and the K-Team [click on the link below]