The thing about the Pilgrimage to Uluru is that someone’s got to go ahead and make a place for all the Pilgrims to come to. That task falls to the intrepid group of explorers known as the Basecampers. Basecampers are a strange breed, with many strange habits. We are readers, thinkers, philosophers, planners, tea drinkers, youth workers, housekeepers, and web designers. And we all have to do hard labour in the hot sun.
Volunteering for Basecamp is volunteering for the unknown. It’s like running into a strange dream where nothing makes sense, you travel for several days and then suddenly you have to build a town. Luckily over the 16 years that Pilgrimage to Uluru has been happening we’ve built up quite a collection of tents, caravans, pegs and bits of rope that we can actually make it all work.
So here’s a bit of our journey.
Beginning in Tasmania (yes, that far away), a van full of stuff and Steve travelled to Melbourne, picked up a Chris, then headed on over to Adelaide. In Adelaide we picked up Aidan, Nathaniel, Phiona, Biz, Sue and even more stuff. A whole other van appeared, carrying a Dave, and we met up with a car and a Rodney in Kapunda. Then the actual journey began.
From Kapunda to Coober Pedy on Day 1, took 9 people, 3 vehicles and 9 hours. With a few stops along the way, and one particularly big storm.
One of the things that you have to prepare for when travelling through the desert for a few days, is the weirdness. Not Wolf Creek style weird, just landscape weird. Australia is weird. You can begin your morning driving through rolling hills of green, then on the shore of a beautiful blue harbour, then suddenly it’s Mad Max and you’re living in a cave. We ended Day 1 in Coober Pedy, and slept* underground as we mentally prepared ourselves for the 4am start on Day 2.
*HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA it was so hot as if anyone slept.
Day 2 went by in an under slept fever dream. We drove for many many hours before stopping for Breakfast at regular breakfast time. It took about 7 hours to get from Coober Pedy to Yulara, our home base, and when we arrived we were greeted by air-conditioned caravans, hot tea, and all the opportunity in the world to nap.
Lol, no. We were greeted by empty space, hot sun, and 3 days hard labour.
But more on that next post!