Kings Canyon to
November 4, 1998
Another Early Start...
Once again getting up at some extremely
early hour, we headed towards Kings Canyon for a day of hiking amongst the rocks.
We left our resort and piled on the bus for the trip.
Kings Canyon is where parts of "Priscilla, Queen of the
Desert" was filmed.
We also watched this movie on the bus.
End Trivia Bit.
We started the walk at the bottom of a large cliff, up
which we hiked. Along the way I saw some interesting
wildlife as my thoughts drifted to the Grand Canyon, or possibly parts of Nevada.
Everyone was in good spirits and taking pictures
like mad: the scenery was definitely right for it! There were lizards running
about as well, probably thinking "God, not another
load of bloody tourists.."
We got to a place called the Southern wall that looked like it had been cut by a knife.
Everyone took the time to sit and relax a bit while guzzling a bit of water.
At the bottom of the canyon is a place called the Garden of Eden, which we could see from where we were sitting. We'd
take a look at that soon... It was really fun watching who would come up to the edge
of the cliff, and who wouldn't. Of course, some people
could take things a bit too far!
After we rested up a bit we headed down the path to the Garden of Eden. Along the
way I was starving (not having brought any snacks with me) and Chantal gave me an apple. I told her that her
"generosity was surpassed only by her beauty" (hey, you should hear what I say
if people give me money). I think she gave me a weird look. :-) Of course, the
downside of this is that I had to carry an apple core in my pocket until we left the
canyon (the guides frown on litter).
The Garden of Eden is a little oasis of lush greenery in the middle of the canyon.
You can swim in the water if you want (and I
chose not to partake in that particular pleasure, the water being a bit too muddy for my
tastes). Great view, though! On the way out we stopped at Kestrel Falls, where
we took a few group pictures. There was a park
ranger running about grabbing trash and other stuff: he practically ran by the path that
we had slogged up in the morning, and apparently he does this stuff all day. I need
to hit the gym more...
After a quick restroom break (for those who could stand it: they were
"environmentally safe" toilets and therefore could be used in chemical warfare
experiments) we got back on the bus for the *5* hour drive to drive to the
Along the way we watched some films and played a few games: Jo offered a free beer to
anyone who could spot Ayers Rock first: they had to call out "Uluru!" (which is
the Aboriginal name for the rock). If they were incorrect, though, they had to by Jo
& Daryl a beer instead! My There's-Got-To-Be-A-Catch radar immediately went off,
of course: so I waited to see what would happen.
Sure enough, a familiar object appeared on the horizon: and someone shouted
"Uluru!!". Jo got on the microphone and told the LOSERS (I knew there was
a catch) that this was *Not* Ayers Rock, but Mount
Conner, another similar mountain that is part of the same chain.
Another Trivia Bit:
Ayers Rock, the Olgas, and Mount Conner are all parts of an
ancient mountain range that once straddled central Australia.
It has long since worn away, leaving only these remnants behind.
End Second Trivia Bit.
As we came to the Olgas (Also called Kata Tijuta by the natives) the storm clouds were moving in, and it looked like we
were in for a spot of rain (I thought it *never* rained out here...). The Kata
Tijuta means "Many Heads" in the local speech, because the rock was supposed to
resemble many heads sticking out of the ground. We took a walk in between a couple of them: the rock appeared to be made of concrete, as it was not one
solid piece (like Ayers Rock) but a conglomerate type of rock with many different pieces
all stuck together. As it is considered sacred to the Aborigines, we were
asked to keep quiet as we walked into the rocks.
The storm was moving in, and I attempted to take some shots
of the approaching lightening between the rocks. After about 20 wasted shots, I got the idea that maybe I was NOT
going able to do this, I don't know, because I lacked a light-trigger and other
photographic equipment, maybe? It didn't stop me from taking at least one more shot as we left on the bus, though...
Today the Olgas, Tomorrow the Rock!
Back at the resort we had dinner and discussed tomorrows tour: a climb up Ayers Rock as
well as a walking tour! Little did we know that it was not going to happen QUITE