[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.]
Several kangaroos bounded across the sealed road in front of us. We slowed, keeping a wary eye on the wildlife that seem to have an attraction for roads and cars at dusk. Once in the camping ground, we followed the clearly numbered camp sites until we found ours.
Mr K set up the tent with little help from me. I just held the poles while he hammered pegs into the hard ground pitted with stones. He made sure the Ford stood between our tent and the gum tree.
‘What do you say, ol’ boy?’ Mr B badgered Dad.
‘I don’t know, it’s getting late.’
We edged around the southern foot of the mountain-sized boulders. Mr B leaned forward and peered at the hill leaning up against the designated highest peak. ‘I mean to say, we could give it a try.’
The morning warmed but the atmosphere between Dad and Mr B remained frosty.
‘I’ll drive us to the Olgas,’ Mr B said.
‘Are you sure that’s a good idea, if you’re tired and had no sleep?’ Dad asked as he chucked a bag of peanuts in the back of the Rover.
Would this be where an alien space craft might land unnoticed? Young people go missing? A cockroach called Boris lurking in a cave just around the corner?
And where young 17-year-old Minna begins her unwilling mission in the war against Boris?
At the mouth of Walpa gorge, Kata Tjuta, we dumped our baggage under a tree, and then advanced up and into the gorge. The heat and flies evaporated as the dank shadows of the gorge’s walls towered over us.Read more "The T-Team With Mr B (14)"
Dad slowed the Rover to a crawl and slotted into a space at the end of the carpark. ‘Well, there’s the tourists,’ he said.
‘And what are we?’ Mr B asked.