Roasting flavored marshmallows while watching the lava-like glow of prescribed fires close below, lying flat on the sandstone to watch constellations, knowing that the closest company (other than Mornington Station itself) were a few folks at Fitzroy Crossing represented by a flickering light on the horizon 95 kilometers away – what could be better? And waking up to all-encompassing sunrise, in a grand place off-limits to all but Mornington staff? Nothing, really. Yesterday and today were days I will remember for the rest of my life.
Four of us sweated through an uphill, 2.5-hour hike yesterday afternoon to make it to Mount Leake’s summit by sunset. Butch, our near-resident helicopter pilot, had graciously flown a supply of water to the top so we didn’t have to carry much on the ascent. After a night in the sky (my sleeping pad was spread on the peak’s literal highest point, with steep dropoffs on both sides) and subsequent sunrise, we dropped into a deep gorge for the return hike and spent today meandering between swimming holes between sheer red cliffs. Not even a sidewall blowout on our truck tire could dampen high spirits all the way home.