Another 5 am wake-up call and another morning hike. This time Jason took us to Watarrka National Park’s Kings Canyon. Our options were to do a 5.5 km canyon walk or a 0.5 km creek walk. The first one would take more than three hours and involved a steep trek up the canyon wall. The second one was a flat, half-hour jaunt. You should know by now which trail was the obvious choice for me.
One good thing about waking up at such a godforsaken hour is that we did the hikes while the weather was still cool. Australia is so enormous that its climate varies dramatically from one area to another. Several days ago, we were freezing and wore a couple of layers of clothes. These days we were hot under the midday sun, which was a lot like Hawaii but without the humidity.
Together with Corinne and Sue, a retired U.S. Navy pilot who lived in Germany, I had a nice, easy stroll along the creek. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Australia’s wildlife is everywhere and sometimes their closeness will surprise you. About five minutes into our walk, we stumbled upon a black-footed wallaby. Jason said he hasn’t seen one of those in this area for a long time. I guess we were just lucky that day.
|Slide Album: Kings Canyon|
Corinne, Sue and I spent most of our time at the trail’s lookout just talking. It was nice to spend time together getting to know each other. Even though this section of the tour was seven days long, it didn’t seem like we had a lot of time with each other. Every day we were busy with something to do and there was very little down time in between activities. I suppose that’s what most people like about the tour. But, since I am on a somewhat unlimited holiday, my motivations are a bit different from other people.
For lunch we had burritos at a nearby campground. It amazes me that Jason and the rest of the tour guides/drivers must also handle the cooking. I’m not sure if they take a cooking class to help them or not, but Jason’s meals were some of the best I’d had since leaving Sydney!
After lunch, we drove four-and-a-half hours to Alice Springs where we could finally lie our heads on a real pillows and rest our bodies on a real beds. We appreciated the sweet luxuries of civilization a lot more after this past week of roughing it in the bush.