Mount Warning, first part of the continent to have light as this giant sphere of rock careers madly around an even larger sphere of fire. With that cosmic display of strength in mind I checked into a caravan park to do my laundry and have a shower. I slept early and woke early, 2.30am – I wanted to be at the carpark by four at the latest and hurried through my morning routine. The path up the mountain was rocky and steep, I began with a jumper, jeans and tshirt however not thirty minutes into the journey was I topless with rolled up jeans – it was cold but my pace kept me warm. Up and up, sometimes there were steps, sometimes just a rough path of stones, the forest loomed, dark and foreboding around me, my head lamp providing only a small amount of light to guide the way – the mind conjured images of creatures in the dark, waiting for the light to go out, ready to pounce. Every so often there was a metal platform intended to airlift those to safety who had fallen along the way, the most interesting of such to me marked the half way point. Standing on that platform catching my breath I was horrified to see an orange light coming over the horizon, the sun is nearing! I got moving, glancing every so often at the dim glow over yonder, grateful for my strong walking boots, not quite a run I moved ever so quickly upward. The last portion of the ‘walk’ was an intensely steep scramble over smooth rocks, a chain was linked all the way up to provide something to hold on to as one scaled the cliff-hanger like edges. I saw the day getting lighter, my arms pulled the chain and my legs pumped against the rocks, wrenching my body upwards to the ever distant top. I eventually made it before the sun and to my surprise met a dozen people at the top already, I guess the early climber catches the sun.
The pastels of first light filled the sky, the mountains below slowly came into contrast revealing soupy cloud nestled in the deep valleys. The moment was upon us, a spark burst through the horizon and that great provider grew shape, cheers from the top of Mount Warning came, cheers and the familiar pop of a champagne cork as a triathlon group celebrated their birthday. “How are they going to get down?” I jokingly asked my Canadian acquaintances as the second bottle was uncorked and passed around.
I returned to the caravan park well before the checkout time to deeply enjoy a hot shower and continued north to Queensland.
After a bit of searching I finally came to Cobb & Co campground, 50 acres of lush bushland camping, I checked in for two nights and found a nice spot to park. Not long after setting up another campervan pulled in and I had the pleasure of meeting Poppy and Alex, a couple from the UK on their working holiday around Australia. Poppy is a teacher, passionate for wildlife and gunning for a career in such and Alex a carpenter, both great trades to use in a land such as this. The three of us got along well and spent the next day together bushwalking and swimming at the local water hole. The days were easy and I immensely enjoyed the quietude of the area, when not swimming I lay in the sun, soaking up the rays, knowing that the next two weeks would be hard work, this knowledge made the day ever sweeter. The evening came and we shared a fire, the flames creating a circle of dancing light against our faces, the stars shone brightly in this clear night sky and sometimes moved giving evidence of a satellite dawdling by.