When we all piled into the bus, as it happens, the singletons tend to gravitate together. In this case, there was only one in addition to me, Taiya. She was up top visiting her friend – traveling from Newcastle on the other side of the country. Lauren had to work (sucker!), so Taiya was doing the tour solo. She and I teamed up. It definitely made the tour better for me; I don’t know if it did the same for her. We did some extra trekking while the rest of the group lounged in the pools. So, we got to see cool bats, and she provided some bush knowledge to me. She’d grown up in Alice Springs (“As soon as I graduated, I left!”), so she’s reasonably familiar with the bush, though typically hotter and drier than Litchfield. Her path to her current occupation as a dental nurse is pretty amazing, as are her travel adventures, and love of reading. I sensed a kindred spirit, especially when swapping book recommendations while walking a trail, and, since I didn’t feel like going back to my AirBnB, I invited her and Lauren to join me for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.
The food itself wasn’t particularly Mexican, and the picante margaritas packed significantly more heat than the food, but I had an exceptional time. I even broke my scooter cherry and rode one about halfway back to the AirBnB. Halfway, you ask? Yes, my stay is outside the service area, so I could only get so far. Still, it saved me about 2K of walking after a long day, and numerous adult beverages.
In my last days here, the sunsets have been amazing, my bird life list growing and my feet getting itchy to move forward. I’m not sure if I’m being pulled forward by the enticement of new people, places and experiences, or being pushed by the past. All I know is it’s time to move forward. I’m doing Katherine later today. I hope she doesn’t mind.