Saturday 17th March
Very early start, had to be at reception for 5.30am! Today I was going on a three day adventure to the Rock!. There were a few of us in my room who were on the trip or going on similar trips so didn't so bad about getting up in the morning and making noice.
So our guide is called Rory and he seems like quite a character so fun times ahaed! But first it is a five hour drive to get to Kings Canyon! And we are advised o start drinking water straight away as people have died doing the climbdue to not taking on anough water! (Alittle drematic I thought for 6am, little did I know how true this could be!). So I start drinking my water and sure enough along the way there are a couple of stops for toilets and at times stopping to just squot behind a bush! (This I learn to get used to, and at times seems a cleaner option than using a public toilet!).
We had a short stop at a camal farm which was guite interesting and by now the flys were out and I was so glad to have a fly net. We reach Kings Canyon at about 1pm (not a great time of the day I thought to be climbing), we had lunch earlier of sandwiches to build up our staminar ready for the walk. We got off the bus to be greated by the hot beating sun and a really steep climb! By now I have drank all my cold water and as I refilled my water bottle up again from the water tap at Kings Canyon I realised that the water was warm, no cold water here. So we started our climb on to this amazing canyon and by now the flys are out in full force and the sun is hot about 35 degrees! Slowly we climbed the first part with stops to drink which isn't easy with a fly net on. The climb is hard especially in the sun and one lady had to turn back half way as she couldn't make it. When we reached the top what a view (se photos!). From then onwards the rest of the walk was easier as we walked along the top of the canyon and down into the gorges and up again there seemed to be a little breeze but still very hot. Rory was great with stories of the aborigional people, to catching small lizards and trees which sound like they have water running through them! Three hours later we were on our way down, a gentle incline that finished the walk off nicely. By now we were all kanackered, hot, sweaty and in need of a cold drink. But with another hours drive to go to our camp site we refill our water bottles with more warm water. But Rory got out fruit cake and biscuits to help us along and regain some energy. Before we reached the camp site we had a stop off at a swiming pool, bliss! Showeres too, a chance to get a wash we were informed! We stopped 10 minutes away from the camp to use the nearest loos and then onward. Sure enough there was nothing at the camp site except a gas stove and a pit to light a fire in. It was quite exciting really. Rory planned a dinner of camal con carni and vegatable carni with fat noodles. We all got our swaggs out and made a big circle around the fire and watched as the stars camae out, wow! Dinner was great and camal meat is really lovely or may be the fact that we were all so hungery made it taste all the better. Rory then explained about the tiolet system (great photos of this) and to watch out for snakes! The great thing was though that you didn't need to go far from the camp to go loo as it was pitch black only a few feet away! We then all crashed after dinner as it was late and we had an early start to get to the Olgas the next day.
Sunday 18th March
6am Rory came around to wake us up and what a wierd feeling sleeping out in the open is! The swaggs were really comphy but I woke with a huge headache and so started drinking water as I think I was a little dehydrated. Quick breakfast and we were off. About two hours later we reached the Olgas and pasted Ularu along the way and we starded to get excited to see this amazing site. We stopped off at a look out to photograph the Olgas and it the distance we could also see Ularu too. What an amazing site, these mounds in the middle of the flat dessert. We then drove to the Olgas and a another three hour walk through these amazing rounded rocks. Not a difficult climb thank goodnes, more of a hard walk. Rory was full of information about how the rocks could of been fomed (no one is certain how they came about), giant ants with stong picers and deadly spiders too. The to an amazing view point in the rocks too giving us a chance to sit down and take it all in. We had completed our walk by lunch time and drove towards the Uluaru Cultural Centre to set up lunch. This time Rory delegated out chopping duties getting us to prepare fillings to put into our wraps as he cooked sausages, we were really hungery too. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Cultural Centre which was really interesting learning more about the rock and especially how it was given back to the aborigional people in the 1980's. After a bit of souviner buying it was time to headed off to the rock itself where Rory took us for a small walk around the rock pointing out special areas of the rock and what they meant and the history of the aborigional people thatsuronds it. It was really facinating and it was obviouse that it was some thing he felt passionately about. Then onto see the sunset. The actual viewing site for the sunset was really busy and although you don't see it set behind the rock, the viewing site is placed so the sun sets behind you reflecting its colours onto the rock. But unforunately there weren't many colours for use to see as it was quite cloudy but still a great oppotunity to take pictures of this great sight. After about a hour we headed off to our second site, which was based at Ularu resort. A partially covered area for cooking and putting down swaggs but also there was an area where you could lie outside too. Dinner was to be Thai green curry, yum. More chopping too as a vegetable curry was made too. Great meal again from Rory, plenty of food for everyone. Over the years of doing tours he has become a master at cooking for 20 people but stuggles at getting the portions right for two!. The evenings entertainment was very interesting too. A girl had braught with her these long chain things which you swing from the ends of your fingers and light at the ends with fire! It was funny watching people have a go, although Rory was pretty good, a man of many talents. Time to settle down at mid night and I decided to camp out under the stars not under the shelter as there was a chance of rain. It did try to rain in the night but I stuck it out. But by 5am it did star coming down hard, so I had to drag my swag under the covered area but it was time to get up any way as we were headiding off soon to see the sun rise.
Monday 19th March
Had a great nights sleep and despite the rain everyone was looking forward to seeing the Rock. Rory was optimistic about how good the sunrise would be but as the minutes ticked by while we were having breakfast it came apparent that it may well be a good one. So all hands on deck to get everything paked away and off to the viewing point. As we drove around the Rock, Rory made a quick stop and we all rushed out of the van and saw the sun creep up at the side of the rock. This wasn't the propper viewing point but some where that Rory knew we would be able to get some good pictures and her was right. The sun rise viewing point was agian abit like the sun set point. The sun rose behind us and reflected its rays onto the rock, but it was a cloudy morning so not that great but it was still great to be there.
We then headed off to the walk which takes you around the rock. The easiest walk we had done in the last two days. A flat path which goes round the rock. I took loads of pictures! It is a truely amazing place and it was hard to beleive I was actually there! It was a little dissapointing as a couple of times it did try to rain. But not enough to shrten out walk. They say that when it really rains hard, water falls appear from the rock and that it is an amazing site to see. So as rain was predicted you were not allowed to climb the rock, which I decided not todo any way as the aborigional people would prefere it if you didn't.
We finished the walk about 11am and headed off to reach a site where we would have lunch. Sandwiches and sausages again but well appreciated except for all the flys!! After packing up it was then a five hour drive back to Alice Springs, which for part of the ride Rory got us passing an orange from one another with our using our hands. For every time the orange dropped we owed Rory a jug of beer. Its not easy to do this at the best of times but on a moving bus is even harder!! I think we ended up owing him about five jugs in the end.
We reached Alice about 5.30pm and we arranged to meet later in the bar and resaurant at Annie's for dinner and we were allowed to have everything on the menu for $5 bargin!! It was a good end to a brilliant trip and nice to get dressed up after 3 days of walking and sweating. It was well worth every penny.