Saturday, April 5, 2008

Heading Bush - Day 9

On day 9 of our tour, we woke up (as we did every other day) but this time, something was different. This time, we were going to KINGS CANYON!

This was going to be another tough one, like the hike from the second day that almost claimed my life. Gus and Christine actually didn't come along on this hike, as both were too sick to reasonably do it... so we were on our own for this one. It was a nice 6 km hike, and the first climb was definitely the hardest. Straight uphill, for about 1/2 a km. Or more, I don't remember exactly... I just know it got my heart rate going! At least for this one, there were stone stairs for most of it... When we did get to the top (and finished 1/10th or so of our journey) the views were pretty nice, and we gazed out at them while we caught our breath...


The hike was really interesting... it was like looking back far into the past... the rocks were completely different from both Uluru and Kata Tjuta... and really anything else I had seen in Australia.



I wonder if this is what the Grand Canyon is like? I really should try to get there one day soon... anyone up for a road trip?

As we walked, we would pass by things like ancient sand dunes, or ripples in the rock marking where a sea once was...


And another cool area was called 'Lilliput', after the little people in the Gulliver's Travels stories... these rocks are like mini versions of huge rocks that we might see... but to insects, these would be the huge rocks.

I should have had my hand here to give you an idea of the small size of these little rocks...

Actually, funny story, when I got to this part of the hike (I was one of the last to get there because I like to take my time, darnit. Why rush and miss all the sights?) I saw that everyone was taking a bunch of pictures... and I thought that they just really liked the idea that this was named after Gulliver's Travels... but it turns out, they were taking a picture of something else...


See him? Amazing how he is so close in color to the rocks, isn't it?

Anyway, we carried onto our hike, and we had a small disaster. Sarah D. sprained her ankle on one of the rocks... and we couldn't turn back, because it was dangerous to hike on the canyon in the opposite direction. Luckily, Sandra had a first aid kit along with her, so we wrapped up Sarah's ankle nice and tight, and she thought she would be fine to hobble along slowly the rest of the way. We had already tackled the hardest part, so we figured that we'd see how she went. If worst came to worse, we could always dial 000 on our mobile phone (that is Australia's version of 911)

So on we went! About 3/4 through the hike, there was a bit of a detour for us to go to a place called "The Garden of Eden", where there was abundant birdlife, trees, and a place to swim inside the canyon. Sarah, Sandra, and Pat decided to go on ahead and skip it, because of the ankle issue... and the rest of us really wanted to see it, so we parted ways and promised to catch up.

The Garden of Eden was just as beautiful as I would have imagined:

And the swimming was terrific.


While we were swimming, we heard a call from above. It was Sandra, Pat, and Sarah looking down at us from a Garden of Eden lookout! They got a few pics of us swimming from above (I am trying to get the pictures sent to me because they were really neat). We took our time in the pool, it really was like a Garden of Eden... but after a little while we reluctantly got out of the pool and continued on our hike.

The rocks got more and more interesting as we went along... the stripes on this was incredible...



Close up of the stripes:


And there was one point that we were able to (carefully) look down into the canyon from the edge...

My pants are wet because we just went SWIMMING and I didn't change out of my swimsuit! Don't start making comments!

Scenery from the end of our hike... I love the colors that you can get in just one photo in Australia...

On the way down, I fell again! Just a little this time... I think I have a little bit of a problem with weak ankles, because when I go downhill, I find that they sometimes just give out and I fall... it has happened quite a bit on my hikes... I should probably do some ankle strengthening exercises before attempting any more hikes, right?

So, we got back to the tour bus and to Christine and Gus... who had been very busy while we were gone. Christine cleaned out the back of the car (it had gotten a bit messy in these 9 days and Gus got a bit peeved over it) and Gus had unrolled our swags and sleeping bags to dry them out. Yay, tonight, we'd sleep in dry swags!

For lunch, we had fajitas (notice a mexican theme on our meals?) at a little picnic area... which was flocked again with the Gallahs! I love these birds!

This is big news. At the store near the picnic area, I found this wonderful new drink... it was like espresso in a can, with milk. And it was cold. I LOVED it! So Cheryl, I think that I can finally drink iced coffee! Starbucks trip when I get back, ok?

Also, it was during this lunch break that I finally (quickly) saw a dingo... it pretty much was in and out of my vision in a flash, but I finally saw one! No picture, sorry!

After lunch, we hit the road for the long drive to our LAST campsite. It was a beautiful day for a drive...

And we saw a lot of wildlife today... wild horses, wild camels... that's right, CAMELS! They are another introduced species in Australia, when the Afghans brought them over to help them build the Afghan railway, they just set them free... but nobody expected them to adapt so well to the Australian wilderness... and now, this is the one place where these camels are found in the wild. I didn't get any good pictures, because they were too far away... but later I'll have camel pictures, I promise. Not on my Heading Bush trip though. o0o0o a hint of things to come!

Another neat little thing... there were some areas on the road that were dangerous to drive too fast, so we saw this little warning painted on a trash can...

It says "Lift um foot". This is a note to the Aboriginal drivers, from the Aboriginal drivers, telling them to take their foot off the gas...

And after the dangerous part was over:


"puttum back down". Cute, huh?

And another fun sight on the desert road... I bet you didn't know that tires grew on trees!

Our last stop before camp... here is a nice pic of the 4WD vehicle and the trailer...

And me, singing 'The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music!"




ANYHOW.... our camp tonight was in the West Macdonald Ranges (the Redbank Gorge). We had pasta and chili (!) for dinner, and we all sat together and talked about what we enjoyed on our trip. It was sad knowing this was the last camping trip for us... and we joked around with each other into the night. I don't think I mentioned this before, but the Canadian guy on our trip (Dave) used the "That's what SHE said" joke throughout the tour... and now, I'm sad to say, that this terrible joke will be spread throughout Australia and Sweden... and probably Germany and England... all because of one Canadian. Tsk.

Oh, and Sandra taught me how to yodel! Well, kind of. I was able to repeat her song line by line, but I don't remember it now :( Another thing I have to do when I get back... learn to yodel a song.

We also had one more surprise before we went to bed... chocolate fondue. Mmmmm, this was the best chocolate covered fruit I have ever had... and it was Swiss chocolate, which is one of the best! We all went to bed with smiles on our lips, and chocolate on our faces.

Oh, and tonight, the stars were AMAZING. The moon had started rising later in the evening, so we had a good hour of billions of stars...

5 comments:

Lisah0822 said...

KAREN PEED HER PAAANTS!! ;-)

Looks like yet another fun beautiful filled day!

PMH said...

Those rocks do look like the Grand Canyon. Some of them also look like the rocks in Wisconsin Dells.

So what is that joke? I don't know it.

stacy is amazing said...

1. I have been DYING to go to the Grand Canyon!! So, I will go with you...but I do NOT want to drive there. A plane would be ideal.
2. "that's what she said" HAHA!Ask him if he stole it from "The Office".

Mom, it's a wonderfully, addictive game to play...I'll teach you it in Wisconsin.

Dave said...

hahaha, "That's what she said" is classic! Great blog Karen!

Anonymous said...

Omg i never would have gotten that close to the edge. Unless i was drunk HAHAHA (jk phil, i dont drink)