Nearly Dying In The Outback
A moment lived in Australia by Ross the Explorer, a traveller from United Kingdom
When I landed in Alice Springs a massive smile stretched along my face. I was about to see the Outback, who would not be excited!
I had 48 hours to kill before I headed to Uluru (Westerners tend to refer to this place as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.
The day after arriving I chucked 1.25 litres of water and my camera in my backpack and went to Mount Gillen. In hindsight I should have packed 3 litres of water and told someone where I was going.
I left at 12.30, it was going to be a 4.5 hour walk (including the walk to the mountain itself). I eventually got back at 9.30pm. It turned out to be a very long 4.5 hours.
When I arrived at the base of the mountain I realised that it was going to be a steep climb. That was no problem, I was up for a challenge. After about an hour I was near the top. Getting to the top required me to do some climbing.
Once I had finished the climb I was treated to breath taking views. Alice Springs is surrounded by nature. I sat at the top for a while getting my breath back and taking loads of photos (and selfies).
I walked toward the cliff edge to make the climb down. Then it became apparent that I had no idea how I got up. It was really unclear which part of the cliff I had previously climbed up. I could not work out the path down, all the paths looked as if they just led to death. After much looking and observing I finally found the right path.
I carefully made my way down this path. I was making good use of my hands and feet. I would be lying if I said I was not scared. Then it became apparent I was not on the correct path! I saw the correct path and decided to crawl along the cliff edge onto the correct path. I did not want to stand up and risk falling to my death. I had to crawl through a thorn bush which was fun. Then I had further bad luck. It became apparent I could not crawl onto the correct path. I realised I had to go back to the top and start again.
When I was back at the top I was looking at the cliff edge and just had no idea how to get down. I decided to walk down the other side of the mountain. It was going to make the walk far longer than planned but I had no other choice.
I walked, slid and climbed down the other side of the mountain. According to Google Maps at one point I was walking through a river. I did not see any water.
I eventually got to the bottom of the mountain but had no idea how to get back to the main road. Frustratingly Google Maps would not work at the bottom of the mountain. I started walking along a dirt track. I thought it would eventually lead to the main road.
It started getting dark and I started to feel completely lost. I picked up my pace and kept walking on the dirt track. When it became pitch black I called the police for assistance. The phone operator was going to speak to his manager and then call me back. Before he did this my phone died! Great!
I kept walking and eventually got to a sign which read ‘No Trespassing’. I sighed deeply and started looking for alternative routes. In the distance I saw what looked like cars. I assumed it was some people off roading on a dirt track. I headed towards the ‘dirt track’. I bumped into a sign which had ‘100’ written on it, it was dark but I could tell it was a speed limit sign. I looked around me and I realised the ‘dirt track’ was actually a proper road.
I stood at the side of the road and frantically waved when cars came past. Two cars drove straight past me and I felt gutted. Then fortunately one of the cars turned around and came back and asked if I was okay. I was lost, dehydrated and it was pitch black. I was not okay!
He told me to jump in the car, he said he could give me a lift home. I got in and started chatting to the guy. According to him the town had recently had a problem with Aboriginals committing car crime. It was his words, do not throw the racist card at me. I asked him why he stopped for me then, I asked if he had seen I was not an Aboriginal. He said ‘I didn’t see your appearance but I am a big bloke and have a gun on the back seat’! He could clearly defend himself if he needed to. The guy dropped me off and I thanked him a million times.
The next morning I woke up and realised I was coated in cuts and bruises. At least I was still alive! A lot of lessons were learnt after that ordeal!
This traveller has a blog : Ross the explorer