I left Darwin this morning, riding through Katherine and Timber Creek, towards the Western Australia border. I pulled over to call it a day some 750 km later, at Saddle Creek Rest Area, named after a beautiful spot in the road between two plateaus.
I parked my bike, crawled under a fence, and went for a walk up a small hill at the foot of the cliffs adjoining the plateau. I perched myself on a rock, and spent an hour staring out at the vast expanse of flat flood plains between the setting sun and my eyes; the various hues dancing in the clouds slowly as sun and sky went red.
“Hello?”, someone in the distance yelled, “anyone there?”
It was coming from the carpark.
“Yeah, I’m up here. You alright?”
Incoherent mumbling, and I wasn’t sure if it was a cry for help.
I ran down the hill, carefully avoiding the irregularly oriented rocks everywhere because rolled ankles aren’t fun.
I crawled under the fence again, and was facing 3 aboriginal men, one of them much older, toting a warm can of beer between his mouth and hand.
“Locals?”, I asked.
“Yeah”, one of the younger ones replied, “Other side of the hill. Our land… Listen, you got a smoke?”
“No… what? I thought you needed help. That’s… that’s why I ran down. You just made me run down the hill to ask me for a fucking smoke?”
“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have crossed the fence in the first place. Oh, and I don’t have a smoke.”
“Ah that’s ok. We understand. You rock climbing or something?”
“Thanks. No, I went up for the view. Beautiful sunset! You can see everything across the plains!”
“Yeah, we know. We seen it for many years. My father seen it for many years. And his father. View from our side even better!
Well… we’re off to Kununurra.”
“Lucky. Might see you there tomorrow. Good luck getting a smoke”
And they sped off.
Kununurra is on the way to Broome, where I’m headed next. I might make a detour to Wolfe Creek. I might not. I’ll see how I feel on the road.