The decision not to climb Uluru was not an easy one to make. Everyone else in our group was going to do it and my husband and kids were all geared up to do it - me being the sheep that I am had also planed to do it. I had posted my intentions on FB and no one had objected. I was ready, at the base with my phone in my pocket (so I could boast about my achievement on Fb from the top of the rock) to climb. Unfortunately, or in my case fortunately, the rock was temporarily closed due to high winds. So off I set on a base walk instead.
Having the time to walk around the base and read the information placed there by the local indigenous tribe gave me time to reflect on my decision. The indigenous Australians have the worlds oldest continuing culture. I have seen for myself that it is an endangered culture with so many in the NT on a dangerous path to self destruction. Uluru is a sacred place that is a part of their creation stories. They do not climb Uluru and they do not want people to climb it (the Aust tourism industry won't let them forbid it because they think it will affect tourism). People climbing the rock is causing erosion on the path and the constant urination of the climbers is polluting the surrounding environment. I felt like climbing the rock would contribute to the destruction of the indigenous peoples beliefs.
I thought to myself - how can I be proud of doing something that is causing hurt to people. If I climbed it I felt like I would be saying to the traditional owners 'stuff your beliefs... I'm doing it anyway'. I would not do that to any sacred site that belonged to any culture or religion. I would follow their wishes - out of respect.
Since the rock was closed we all traipsed over to the olgas to do the climbs there that you have the blessing of the local tribe to do. They were difficult and breathtaking. A truly spiritual place to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed my hike and even did it with Didabell strapped to my back. I have noticed a serious decline in my fitness levels this trip. Too much sitting on my bum has led me to pork up quite a bit. I'm not really worried too much about that though, I am more worried about how unfit I will be when I finally get back to the gym. Luckily my flash dance pants have a bit of give in them!!!
Apart from Uluru and the Olgas (i think their traditional name is Kata Tjuka.... although I really can't be bothered getting off my porky arse to look it up) there is absolutely nothing else to do there. They are pretty much in the middle of sweet nowhere. There are a ton of over priced tours and dinners... but nothing really for the budget conscious.
Ben and I had a triple date with Kris and James + Con and Karen at one of the over priced restaurants in Ayres Rock Resort. It was nice to have a night out and a yummy meal.
Our second day at Uluru bought with it perfect weather conditions for climbing so everyone shot off. I remained back at camp with the babies and little kids.
I don't begrudge anyone elses decision to climb. I could just see no personal gain from doing it. I would not feel triumphant but ashamed. Also, I have already tramped all over it when I was 8 years old. I made it to the top of the chain back then so I have already had the opportunity to clamber all over the rock.
There really is something about Uluru that gets to you. Ben constantly pointed out to me that it is just a rock... but I feel it was more than that.
Oh dear... I am getting a bit sentimental. I think that's my que to sign off!