On the final day of our stay at Uluru we inadvertantly missed our tour bus
to head out to King Canyon Lodge. Ultimately this was a good thing, because
it afforded us the opportunity to do some much needed washing and drying.
Clean clothes was a very good thing. However, it did force us to set out early
the next morning at o dark thirty to catch up with our tour that was heading
out for Watarrka National Park, the chief point of interest being the King's
Canyon climb. This is a tectonic canyon in which the depression was fashioned
both by tectonic separation and the erosion of Kings Creek from the Ernest
Giles Range. As we traveled out of Uluru on the bus we welcomed the sunrise
partway through our journey. It is unfortunate that we were only able to see
the very vague outline of Mount Conner, the third major rocky monolith and
the most eastern of the three. This is a large structure much flatter than
Uluru that is known by the Anangu Aboriginal people as Artilla, and it is
noted that part of their beliefs is that it is the home of icemen who create
cold weather.Unlike both Uluru and Kata Kjuta, this latter lies on a private
cattle station and is not open to the public.
A note on private cattle stations. If you are not aware, these bear no resemblance to even the largest cattle ranches of the western United States. The cattle stations of central arid Australia cover hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. There are US states that are smaller than Australian cattle stations. Come to think of it, that is not a good comparison. There are counties in the US west that are larger than northeastern US states. I happen to live in one of them. Still you get the idea. Central Australia outstrips the cliche of the Texan's conception of big. Another note of interest is that Kings Canyon is where Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was partly filmed. If you are not aware of this movie, well, click on the link above. It will not take you to the movie (that is currently not available on VHS or DVD), but it will take you to the book.
Partway to our final destination we stopped for breakfast at one of the working stations. The breakfast would put a greasy spoon to shame, but it filled you up and the coffee was most definitely welcome. The other note of interest here were the various tourist possibilities available there. Amongs others, they had helicopter tours and camel rides. They also raised kangaroos.
The one personal point I will make about Kings Canyon is that of all the strenuous treks that I experienced in Australia this is without a doubt the most challenging of all those I tried. In a word, I was dead last in most cases and huffing and puffing as I went. We were told it was approximately eight kilometers. It was all that and much more, I think. Still, the beautiful sights were well worth the journey. The pictures that follow are in no particular order. We circled around the upper part of the canyon and then some of us descended into the bottom where the Garden of Eden was located. I have to admit that I opted for sitting that part out, given that it was a walk down into the canyon and straight back up. However, Fran continued on and caught some very interesting shots that might be of interest. The one on the left took place at distance between the beginning and the end. I seem to remember that I was looking up that rocky slope with its precarious footing and wondering what I had gotten myself into? And the one below showing individuals scaling up the side of a rather sheer looking cliffside is part of the journey down into what is know as the Garden of Eden. Perhaps the scariest part was the very end where, very tired, we had to descend in stairstep fashion down a very very steep cliff/hill side on uneven rock steps. I would mention that bifocals are not the best eyeware to have in a situation like this. Still, with all the cautionary notes I have supplied, the pictures speak for themselves in terms of the sheer beauty of this walk that left me exhilarated and happy that I had stuck it out and made it to the end.