John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.
The Lost City
Wiping the sweat away from my brow, I slid my backpack from my shoulders and let it fall beside me, then sat down on a boulder and took a sip of water from my canteen. I poured some into a bowl and placed it on the ground in front of Mojo. He looked up at me gratefully, between lapping, with his big brown eyes.
This was quite a hike but Litchfield Gorge had been calling my name for years now. I had planned to explore it a couple of times but the access road (for want of a better term) had been closed, either cut due to the wet season or because crocodiles had been sighted in the vicinity.
After a short rest, we made our way deeper into the forest. Litchfield is a little unique, most of the area being sub-tropical but which seems to change and become rainforest the deeper into it you get. There was no track to be followed now, the undergrowth thick, and the going slow but at least the overhanging canopy offered welcome relief from the blazing Territory sun directly overhead. We pushed on.
I had to leave the 4x4 hidden among some trees at the end of the access road some seven or eight kilometres back. My reserves of stamina were being tested, in fact almost exhausted, when the flora seemed to sympathize and began to thin out, before suddenly parting to reveal the most remarkable sight! There had been many tales of a lost city hidden somewhere in the 1400 square kilometre Litchfield Forest and many had searched for it over the years to no avail. Surely, what lay before me couldn’t be it. I mean, what are the odds that I’d be the one to stumble upon it?
Mojo barked as some small creature darted into the bushes to our right, and I petted him in reassurance, though my eyes were transfixed on the incredible architectural formations before me. In an area probably rivaling a modern small town in size lay the ruins of an ancient city, with sandstone block and pillar structures and a maze of narrow alleys.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 1
One week down, and Mojo and I are still here. We were fortunate to find a freshwater spring and waterfall close by and the bush actually has an abundance of fruit, nuts, edible roots, and wildlife. Sustenance: challenging but possible.
The sandstone ruins themselves offer a wide variety of living options and I still haven’t explored every alley, cave, or crevice.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 2
I have decided to move to the Lost City permanently, to free myself from the materialistic and technology-driven urban lifestyle and actually put my Permaculture qualifications into physical practice. Extreme, I admit, but I have always been up for a challenge. I will need to return to civilization temporarily to resign from my 9 to 5 job, transfer the lease on my apartment to a friend, and sell anything I don’t need.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 3
Back ”home” from the rat race. Arrangements made, ties broken, arguments defeated. It wasn’t easy but I packed and transported all the essentials I could carry. I had to leave some of it in my hidden 4x4 and make two extra trips to collect it all (including a rooster and hen for breeding, eggs, and meat.)
I have to admit I am not abandoning technology entirely, I brought a solar blanket and lights, and a solar phone charger. Fortunately, despite the remote location here, there is phone reception. Apart from allowing me to write this blog, the phone is basically just in case of emergency. It is good to have that lifeline.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 4
I have been using companion planting principles to create a natural food forest by planting the fruit and vegetable seeds and seedlings I brought from town in among the native forest flora. I am surprised how quickly they are growing.
It is possible for me to get by on a near vegetarian diet, but not Mojo. We are already getting eggs, and will have meat from the poultry eventually but that won’t happen over night. I managed to bring some dog food, and hopefully I can capture enough wildlife (kangaroos, wallabies, and smaller marsupials are in abundance) until his natural hunting instincts kick in.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 5
Most of my time has been spent alternating between gardening, writing, and contemplating the origins of this lost city and what type of society or civilization lived here. Well, it started out that way. I haven’t seen any evidence of previous human habitation, and a closer examination of the sandstone structures leads me to conclude they were, in fact, naturally formed by millions of years of weathering. This was somewhat disappointing, but miraculous none the less.
I saw a dingo yesterday, and also found evidence of their droppings in one of the caves. I will have to be vigilant to make sure they don’t see the hen and rooster as an easy meal, but Mojo is a Maremma, a renowned livestock guardian dog, so hopefully he will keep them safe.
Blog/Journal Entry: Week 6
This is my sixth week of living alone (apart from my faithful companion, Mojo). Solitude is fine, and what I sought … at the moment, but how long can I be happy with no human interaction? Time will tell I guess, and maybe I will resort to inviting some friends to join me. Revealing it to the world, however, would ruin it, so that decision needs careful thought.
In the meantime, my vegetable crops are thriving in the wild garden, the hen has hatched eight chickens, and Mojo has even been catching some of his own food. So, life is good in The Lost City.
© 2019 John Hansen