Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uluru, Kata Tjuta, King's Canyon and everything in between. (Days 31 - 34)

Uluru = Ayer's Rock
Kata Tjuta = The Olga's
1 litre = 4 cups or 2 pints.
We had to carry 1 litre for every hour we were going to be walking, so at Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon I was carrying & drinking 4 litres.

February 19th

I've actually already posted on my blog for today, or three day ago when you read this. But anyway, I felt like I needed to clarify that I wasn't as sick as I said I was. I mean, I felt it at the time but feel considerably better now. My headache is 99% gone and I don't really feel sick to my stomach either.

After I posted I talked to this girl from Holland who's really awesome. I'm actually a little bummed that I won't get to really get to know her. Her names Thara, with is pronounced Sarah. Yes, I am not messing with you. Whatever, she's Dutch so she can do whatever she wants.

Also talked briefly to this German girl, who was very... furtive. She's hiding something man, I can tell.

I will be writing as much as I can every day, so there should be quite a bit on my return. And I promise I'll really start taking photos. I dunno what it is about Alice, but I just feel suer weird using my camera here.

February 20th

Woke up at 5.15 when Thera's alarm went off. Got up, saw that reception was still closed which was weird since in theory they opened at 5, brushed my teeth and triple checked I had everything, checked again and reception was still close even though it was 5.45, Thera and I had some breakfast and at 6 it still wasn't open.
Started freaking out a little since I needed to leave my bag there to go on the trip and they were lending me a sleeping bag.

At 6.10 the bus came to pick me up, still no sign of anyone. Explained what happened and he let me and the three other people staying there just bring our stuff. We went and picked everyone else up and then drove back past to see if they were open. It was around 7 and there was still no sign of anyone. GAH.

wedge tailed eagle

We drove for about 2 hours, during which we saw Wedge Tailed Eagles. Two of them, which is pretty rare and super awesome. We stopped and got fuel & snacks then drove another 2 hours, stopped for some lunch, picked up a few people from the Uluru Airport, then drove another 2 hours to get to Uluru. On the way we passed Mt. Connor, which is a huge flat topped mountain. We also some wild emus, which is insanely unusual. We saw a lot of stuff that was 'insanely unusual', which was fantastic.

the first look at uluru

We looked about the Culture Centre for an hour or so, looked at some art, read the Sorry Book (a book of letters people have sent is apologising for climbing uluru or for taking rocks and stuff. A lot of them include all the bad shit that happened after they took a rock or what have you. it was terrifying), I watched the documentary on how to make a piti (wooden bowl used for everything. Water, food, children, anything else that might need carrying by a woman.) as well, which was super cool.

We drove to the actual base of Uluru and all did the Mala Walk, which is about 2 km easy walking. After that we either had the choice to do the full 6km Base Walk or half of it, I chose to do the full walk which means I've walked around 90% of Uluru. It was so beautiful, even though it ended up being my least favourite walk we did.
Before we started we decided that all the group photos would be taken with my camera, since it's fancy shamncy. Which means you, dear reader, get to see them before anyone else but me.

ta da!

bush plum. one of those little things has 7 times more vitamin C than than an orange.

We went to the Sunset Lookout to see the famous sunset, which wasn't very impressive since there was a huge lightning storm between us and the sun.
Ate dinner and drank some beer that some Spanish man was handing out to anyone who'd take it.

We set up camp, we had a roof, but no walls. So we made some with tarps in an attempt to keep the coming rain out. Which mostly didn't work.

A bunch of us went up to a lookout about a 4 minute walk away to watch the lighting and we ended up staying there for over 2 hours taking a ton of long exposure photos with my camera, writing lots of stuff in the air and cloning with light and shit.




Since the damn YHA was lame I didn't have a sleeping bag, just the provided swag (
Luckily I travel with two huge-ass sarongs, so I had sheet type things. I was a little chilly though. But hey, I lived.


February 21st.

It took us for fucking ever to get ready this morning, so even though we woke up at 4.15 we didn't leave the camp until like 5. Lord knows what took so long.

We went to see the sunrise, which was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. We could see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta and the sun was just perfect. Outstanding.

kata tjuta at sunrise


We ate some breakfast there, I had ever delicious raisin toast, toasted on a bastardised toaster made from a piece of metal and some fire. Awesome.

so pleased with sunrise they just started levitating.

Now, we we're off to get to Kata Tjuta and walk around!

The walk was breathtaking.
It took me (and everyone else who did the full 7 km walk) about 3 ½ hours. We even had to walk through a creek for a while, which is amazing in and of itself since it's the summer in the desert. There is normally never any water anywhere, but there's been so much rain in the past weeks that there was even a waterfall there that Scott (our guide/driver/doctor/all around nice guy) had never seen.

explaining geography.

We walked to this awesome look out, took our day two group photo and just generally marvelled at the waterfall and view.

My camera says it low battery and I'm only about 50% sure that my second one is charged. If it's not I am going to be so upset. I don't understand how it's low right now, I think he heat is getting to it. Poor baby.

We stopped by some picnic area and had some lunch. Pasta salad and build your own sandwiches. I ate with Martina and Janine, two friends traveling from Switzerland.

We're currently 45 minutes into a 3 4 hours drive. We'll be stopping a few times (to collect firewood for instance) and when we eventually stop well be 90% of the way to King's Canyon.


We stopped by Mt. Connor and Scott told us as the story of how Central Australia was created. He can only tell us the child stories, since none of us are men or woman in the eyes of the aboriginals since none of us have proven ourself. So he only know the children's stories and we can only know them. They're still amazing though.

mt connor

my two loves. those boots and red sand.

My camera says it low battery and I'm only about 50% sure that my second one is charged. If it's not I am going to be so upset. I don't understand how it's low right now, I think he heat is getting to it. Poor baby.

We stopped by some picnic area and had some lunch. Pasta salad and build your own sandwiches. I ate with Martina and Janine, two friends traveling from Switzerland.

We're currently 45 minutes into a 3 4 hours drive. We'll be stopping a few times (to collect firewood for instance) and when we eventually stop well be 90% of the way to King's Canyon.


Stopped a little farther on to collect firewood, all was well for a little bit. But then Mascha pulled this dead tree out of the ground and hit me in the forehead. A piece about 5 iced long stuck into my head, which was outstandingly painful. I pulled it out and immediately it started gushing blood. There was blood pouring down my face, my hands were covered in it and it was literally dripping on the ground. Bit exciting.
We walked back to the bus and I got myself patched up. I just used some tissues to staunch the blood, wiped it down with some sanitising stuff, but some anti-bacterial cream on it and put a band-aid on. It only look about 7 seconds and I was fine.
I did get a massive headache, which no one had painkillers for. That's the only bad part as of now.
Scott says he was impressed about how well I took it/dealt with is since a few weeks ago he had some guy have almost the same thing happen and he flipped shit and wanted to be air lifted out and shit.
I feel I should mention that Scott does have a first aid kit and would have done all that for me. He wasn't just like "oh, deal with that ok?"
I just wanted to deal with it myself.
The thing I'm the most annoyed about it I didn't get a photo of my face before I cleaned it up. :(

I was feeling a little nervous about infection or anything since all the wood out here is insanely high in iron but then I realised how much it bled, so there's so way anything could still be in there. Which is awesome.


Well, I now have an awesome bump on my forehead which is painful to touch. But the 'wound' itself has already scabbed and pretty much looks like a pimple. If it scars it's going to look lovely with my chicken pox scar that's right below it.

Halfway through writing that paragraph Scott slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the van and ran off behind us. When he got back he was holding a Thorny Devil, which he had somehow spotted while driving. The chances of being in the bush for that amount of time and seeing one is pretty much zero, so we're so lucky.
 It was adorable, frankly.

We're now about an hour away for tonight's campground, maybe I can buy some painkillers at the service station there.

thorny devil!


Well, no painkillers for me. But the headaches gone way down. I just have a sort of ache behind my eyes now that I can live with.

We got to camp fine, made a fire, laid out any swags that were still damp from last night next to it.
Sat around helping to make dinner and drinking goon (goon is aussie slang for cheap wine, mostly bought in 2 or 4 litre boxes) with the French family, Janine, Martina and Mascha.
It hit me a little hard, since I don't drink really ever and hadn't eaten in a while.
And everyone's more effected in the heat.
Two glasses in and everything was pretty hilarious to me.

We ate awesome chili and rice around the fire.

Now everyone (but me, since I'm anti-washing) is now showering and then I think we'll just relax for a while.

We're going to hike King's Canyon tomorrow, it should be awesomesauce.

my super delicious dinner.

martina is excited for the fire!


February 22nd

Well, Carlo, Janine, Martina and I ended up staying up until around 1 in the morning. I nearly had a heart attack because there was suddenly a lot of moving around in a bush about 5 feet from me. We never did find out what it was and honestly, I feel that's probably for the best.

I slept well until 3 when I woke up and was awake for about 45 minutes.
We all got up at 5 and ate more delicious toast.
We're now en route to King's Canyon.


Walked around King's Canyon!
The very first part of the walk was brutal. Uneven, steep, sometimes loose rock steps straight up for about 200 feet.
Once we'd made it to the top Scott allowed as to how it's referred to as 'Heart Attack Hill', legit, no?
But other than that part it was pretty easy going. I mean, not like the Base Walk. But like yesterday's. So nothing too bad.

Unfortunately I decided last night was a good night to drink (well, for me. haha), so I thought I was going to die about an hour in. But I drank about a litre of water and the headache and urge to die went away. Plus King's Canyon was my favourite walk so I was ok.

king's canyon.

After we got to the top of said 'hill', we walked about halfway around the rim which was so gorgeous. The canyon is so beautiful.

We went down some stairs (you know how I feel about stairs, so this part made me more nervous than anything else we did the whole trip. Hell, I was more nervous on the stairs than I was scuba diving at night) into the bottom, to the Garden of Eden. Which really wasn't as lovely as I wanted it to be, but was still really beautiful. You did forget for a second that you were in the middle of the desert.

garden of eden

bush tobacco, which was disgusting.
Went back up and completed the rim walk. This was definitely my favourite part. It was vast expanses of desert with these stone domes on one side and the canyon falling away to the other.

so... close...

We went to a spot where you can see where a giant piece of the canyon's wall had fallen in 63 years ago. Which, when talking about something about 300 million years old, is about 30 second ago really.

We walked back down the mountain, on a much nicer trail than we cam came up on. Same uneven rock stairs, but at a much gentler angle.

the walk we did was the one with arrows.

It's now only 10 AM and we're back on the bus. Oh yes.
We're driving back to Alice, where we'll arrive at about 5 tonight.
We'll be stopping for lunch and to ride camels if we wish. Which I wish very much.

We're all (all of us that aren't being dropped off at the airport, which is Macha, Janine, Martina, Miao, Joachim and Sunny) are going to go out for dinner tonight at the Rock Bar, which I'm pretty excited about. I love these things.


I still have yet to see a kangaroo. I'm beginning to think they don't exist and it's a big joke at my expense. :(

We stopped at some service station, E something or other.
I got an ice cream bar even though I'll probably regret it later I really needed it.
it was just vanilla with chocolate coating stuff but I think it was the most delicious thing I've ever had. Ha.

As I write this we're back in the bus going toward the camel farm, which is an hour away. I'm going to eat some chips and look out for wildlife. And by wildlife I mean kangaroos.

We drove over the Palmer River (which was bone dry when we went over it on the first morning) and it was a freaking flowing river. It was huuuuge.
We stopped and everyone took a bunch of photos since it literally hasn't had water in it in years. There was another tour bus doing the same thing and the driver of tat one has been in Alice for like 15 years and he's seen it once or something insane like that. We also saw the first 'signe is now very afraid' spider of the trip (as in, my whole trip). A Golden Orb spider. I'm not looking it up because I don't want to know how poisonous it is, since I'm still in Australia for another 15 days.

He was going the other way and also said the Finke River (more towards the camel farm) is also giant and it's normally just a whole bunch of occasionally connected water holes.

so much water!


We saw the Finke River. It it was fucking giant.
The banks were breaking away in both of them a bit, so they're just looking bigger and bigger. We didn't stop over it since we were running late, but I snapped these from the window.


We got to the camel farm. I forked out $6 for a camel ride. I mean, they were symbolic rides really. I think I was probably on it for about 6 minutes.
Basically each camel holds two people, they take two camels out at a time.
You walk for about 5 minutes and they they run back with you. It was pretty awesome actually.

so it's not a good photo, but it's definite proof I rode a camel.

The camels we were riding are racing camels and the camels from that farm almost always win the Camel Cup, which is held every year in Alice. They're pretty awesome and I think they're be a good edition to our farm. Hint hint mum and da.

We also spent some time looking around at the emus, llamas, parakeets and other stuff they had about. Apparently they have kangaroos too, but guess who didn't see them? I officially no longer believe they're real. I mean, photoshopping can make those photos and stories and become urban legends to easily.

cleaning up our window art.
Drove back to Alice.
Dropped all the people who were leaving at the airport and started dropping everyone to their hostels.
Carlo, the Israeli couple and I all made a big fuss at the YHA about them being late and shit. They gave us each $20 back, which is something but not nearly enough. Ugh, I'm glad I'm leaving tomorrow and I would never stay here again.

Showered (!) and went all out and actually wore some eyeliner.
The Israeli couple decided not to come to dinner so Carlo and I walked down to the Rock Bar together, since we're not supposed to walk around by ourselves at night. Not that having two people would really stop anything, but hey, whatever.

We had a really nice dinner, I tried 'kangaroo'. Or so they say that's what it is.
I mean, I can serve some steak and say it's unicorn, but does that make it a mystical beast? Nope.

We walked back around 10 I think because we were so fucking tired.

Tomorrow I really want to talk to my family and tell them all about it!


February 23rd.

Woke up at around 9.30 and discovered my adaptor was missing. I haven't seen it since I was in Alice before and I have no idea where it could possibly be.

So I went out and had breakfast at my favourite cafe, wrote a bunch of postcards while drinking my second soy flat white there, bought an adaptor and some pain killers since I felt I really needed them in my first aid kit.
Then I went and spent $80 on two Aboriginal paintings. Which is pocket change compared to the price of some. They're both about 2 feet by 2 feet.
They're being sent back to my house and I didn't have my camera this morning so I can't show the to you. I know that the lady is sending some information about the artists with them but I don't know if it'll say anything about these particular paintings.

Walked back, stopped and talked to Sylvie, Marine, Lorène and Côme for a little bit, they were having breakfast at the cafe next to my favourite one. Said goodbye to them again and came back here.

I caught my dear family on Skype, which I was super happy about.
talked to them for about an hour and now I need to get all my photos on my laptop and get this up since it's already 3.15 PM.
Then I need to go to the grocery store so I have food for tonight and tomorrow morning. And snacks for the train. I also need to mail the postcards.

That's the plan anyway!

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