Nehalem resident Kindness Hyde flew to Australia on July 1st for a 20 day National Geographic student photography expedition.
This is from one of the Nat Geo leaders about the group’s days in the outback. They just flew into Cairns and will be exploring the Great Barrier Reef next.
Time To Get Lost: A Leader’s Reflection on Time in the Outback
Posted on: 07/11/2017
PHOTOS BY KINDNESS HYDE
“This is the part where we settle down, fall in, and get lost. Not lost on the dusty red Outback trail and not take a wrong turn, but lost in our own thoughts. The part of travel that people forget about. The downtime, the transfers. The escape from one place to another. Almost like leaving one existence and heading into another. Reflection time, think time, wait time. Time to get lost. Always to be found again, but not till we’ve escaped to the other side. The other side of knowledge, exploration, excitement. The process of turning into new and improved human beings. Stronger, fitter, more complete editions of ourselves. The music plays, the bus hums, and we bounce along this long, flat, straight highway as the red Australian bush passes us by out the window.
We are leaving Kings Creek Station on our way to Curtin Springs Station bush camp.
Curtin Springs Station is a cattle ranch the size of Denmark, right here in the middle of Australia. It should take about three hours to get there, not arriving till after dark. In a perfect world we would arrive sooner (like, before the sun sets), but this is not a perfect world! This is our world, and most of us are loving it. The delay is on account of having hiked Kings Canyon this morning, a hike into the canyon, just over six kilometers. We saw pale white ghost gums and desert oaks, red rock and steep sheer cliffs that could have been constructed by the giants of Middle Earth.
The colors and contrasts here in the desert are stunning. The ghost gum for example, has smooth bark that’s whiter than the teeth of a puppy. When one touches the ghost gum, it releases a white substance that we can put on our skin for sun protection. They are shapely trees; almost perfect in their solitary stance, as if looking out over the desert to keep order. Plus, they have just enough leaves to provide a bit of shade when the sun beats down extra hard.
In other parts of Australia’s “red centre,” are desert oaks. There are forests of them. Which really means about four or five trees for an area as large as a baseball infield. Large, wispy, and faint, yet prominent in numbers, relatively speaking. They remind me a little bit of Joshua trees in California’s high Mojave desert. According to Ryan, our Outback guide and new adventure expert, the desert oaks mean there is lots of water beneath the surface; hard to believe, given the arid appearance of the landscape.
Speaking of water, yesterday on the road we saw roughly nine wild camels. Some of them were quite young. Ryan said that one camel can drink up to 200 liters of water at one time. I’m feeling dehydrated thinking about it! But it won’t last long. Because thoughts come and go. They pass though us like a soft breeze through ghost gum leaves. Completing experiences, solving problems, making us more real and more complete. In fact, I’m really thrilled to be this lost. Because when I get found again on the other side, I’m far better than when I started!”
– Patrick Hagarty (leader)