By mid-morning, the novelty of a good night’s sleep (after none the previous night: deflated mattress, Mr. K snoring, the pitter-patter of rain and rustling of animals near the tent), had worn off and the war against the invasion of little black flies had taken over.Read more "Trekking With the T-Ks (2)"
After parking, Mr K leapt from the car. ‘Oh, looks like rain.’ He ripped out the “raincoats” and waved them in the air. ‘Come on boys, you need to be waterproof.’
Son 1 recoiled. ‘I’m not wearing that.’
‘No!’ Son 2 screamed and hid behind me.
‘Oh, yes, you will!’ Mr K said. ‘You’ll get wet and a chill and then catch a death of cold, if you don’t.’
‘No!’ both boys squealed and then scampered up the path.
A battle ensued; Mr K with garbage bag-ponchos verses sons refusing to wear the garbage bags.
I knew this wind meant business, dangerous business. I rushed to Dad and told him the whole story—the wind, the sparks, the wild fire, and my little blue bowl.
‘What campfire?’ Dad smacked his lips, yawned and turned over.
Ten minutes later, Dad dragged himself over the last ridge and limped to the summit. There, he sat on a rock and rubbed his knee. ‘O-o-oh!’ He inspected the damage, red and swollen. ‘I tripped and fell on my knee. I hope I can get down alright.’
‘You better,’ C1 laughed. ‘You can’t exactly camp up here.’
‘Stop!’ Barney groaned. ‘I’m going to be sick.’
‘Oh, no!’ Doris and I cried.
‘Stop the—’ Barney gurgled, and he leaned forward, his hand cupped over his mouth.
My brother slammed on the brakes …
“Matt, ma boy, do be careful. Don’t go too far from camp. A bull might get you.” Mr. B squinted in the direction of distant thumping, then rolled over and resumed snoring.
A monstrous brown hulk loomed through a cloud of dust.
[While painting this scene of a group of older men gathering to admire the glowing walls of Stanley Chasm, I was reminded of the T-Team’s trek in 1977 with Mr. B. This wealthy man used to comfort and luxury, took on the challenges of roughing it camping with the T-Team. This stunning chasm is about 50km west of Alice Springs and is one of the first of many beautiful sites to visit in the MacDonnell Ranges.]Read more "Story Behind the Painting: Stanley Chasm — Angkerle Atwatye"