29/07/16 The flat semi-desert landscape that we travelled through to the south changed after Newman, becoming hillier as we entered the foothills of the Hamersley Range in the Pilbara Region.
Roughly 100kms to the west of Newman on the Great Northern Highway, we free-camped for two nights at Mt Robinson Rest Area. It was a very quiet and picturesque spot, set back a kilometre or so from the road against the base of Mt Robinson. With the mountain behind us, we looked out on an expanse of spinifex, the usual green mounds flush with tall yellow seed stalks from the recent rains, and beyond to the red mountain called The Governor. I like the look of spinifex. The contrast of its circular green clumps with the red stony ground is quite beautiful. Though, it’s prickly as hell if you get too close to it.
On the morning of the second day, Di and I spent several hours exploring the gorge just behind the camping area on Mt Robinson, following it as it narrowed between high cliffs of striking red rock. Fig trees clung to the rock walls by roots welded over many decades. Most had long roots that followed fissures and crevices sideways and downwards many metres before disappearing into the dry creek bed in search of water. Deep in the gorge, we came across a stone axe head showing signs of having been chipped and shaped into an edge encircling it. It was quite large and probably would have been held in two hands rather than by a handle. We left it where we found it. Quite eerily, it had smudges of red and yellow ochre on one side that smacked too closely of past ownership, and while the ochre had in all probability gotten there through natural processes, it still felt too much of a bad omen not to leave it.
“Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things” – Anonymous