Rob pushed on like a man possessed; his father though was feeling the pace. He would not show weakness in front of the girls even though his back was killing him.
There were a lot of rock ledges that you could get a foot hold into and then pull yourself up. Once past that it was red dirt for about 250 feet.
When they reached the top of that ridge there was an out crop of rocks that you had to walk around but a sheer drop of 400 feet. The girls had to be coaxed to go on even though Eleanor had been taking photos all the way from the start of the climb. They secured a rope around them that was clipped in to a harness they were all wearing so that if anyone slipped they could be pulled back up...
What Rob didn’t want was for someone to break a bone here as it would take some climbing to get them back again.
Rob had to tie himself first after taking off the water drum from his back. He felt incredibly lighter now and began to make his way around the mountain.
He took his time and eventually got around the corner where there was a ledge of about 20 feet with a small cave inside. He tugged on the rope to tell the next man to send the water drum over on the rope which James did the drum went down towards Rob where he caught it then laid it down inside the cave. He untied the rope for the next person to come around.
Eleanor went next after taking another photo of the sheer drop below. She could make out some trees. It took her a good ten minutes before she reached Rob who took hold of her hand and guided her into the cave. Next it was Becky’s turn she cautiously lowered herself onto the ledge and was making good progress until a snake came out of a rock hole. She let out a scream and was visibly shaken but managed to keep her footing until she got around the corner.
“Everything alright Robert shouted down.”
“Yes it was just a snake.”
James and his father got round and they all sat for a while.
Rob had looked inside for any tell tale signs of gold or excavation there was none.
The ground now easier to climb it had natural steps and there was no need for ropes or to cling on to the rock.
Further on they came to some plants growing with green and yellow fruits.
“Look said James melons he was about to pick one up but Rob stopped him.
“Don’t James they are poisonous. They are called Paddy Melons and grow all over Australia.”
“They have a very strong odour when broken; this deters cattle from eating them.”
They carried on walking for another hour when rob called a halt.
“Okay we will rest here and have something to eat and drink before we move on again.”
I want to be on the summit of the next mountain by seven o’clock.” “Then we will pitch our tents.”
Everyone opened their canisters and drank from them. Even though the water was warm it was refreshing. Each of them took out a piece of beef jerky and a cereal bar Rob shared out the chocolate so that everyone got four squares each.