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Onwards to Kings Canyon - Night 130

Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

Four am comes early when you fall asleep after midnight, though I felt very good as I slept like a log out under the stars. Similar to last night, the crowds were amassed at the sunrise viewing lot and sort of ruined the atmosphere. With a bit of leg work, one could get away for some solitude. Small, wavy clouds hung in the eastern sky, making for a great sunrise. Next up was the 9 kilometer base walk around Uluru. As is common, the climb to the top was closed due to wind, though I doubt I would have climbed it anyways (I’m willing to grant the Aborigines their wish that no one climbs it).

We said goodbye to Uluru/Kata Tjuta park around noon, had a quick lunch at camp and then set off for Kings Canyon. Along the way is Mt. Connor, a large mesa that looks as though it belongs in Northeast Arizona. Stranger still is that it is privately owned by one of the large cattle ranches in the areas, so the only way to see it up close is to book a tour through the private landowner. About 50 km before Kings Canyon we came across a pack of wild camels grazing near the road. Camels used to be a major form of transportation until the automobile took over. The camels were then released into the wild and have flourished. Australia now has around 250,000 wild camels and even exports them back to Arabia.

We arrived at the Kings Canyon campground in time for a quick swim at the pool and a chance to stock up on beer for the evening. Adventure Tours, our company, has its own secluded campsite at Kings Canyon which is tucked away in a small gorge about 10 km from the main resort. Better still is that they allow us to have a campfire so long as it is for cooking purposes. Naturally I volunteered to start the fire. My helpers, the old Irish guy and the three Koreans proved utterly useless in setting up a fire. I had to can the whole lot and do it myself. With wood this dry, it didn’t take long to have an eye-brow singeing inferno ablaze. The chicken curries and potatoes turned out wonderful. Another night of drinking and making marshmallows over the fire let to a late bedtime. The dingoes howling in the night were no match for my weariness and I quickly fell asleep under the stars again.

What I Learned Today: Americans build the best fires.

permalink written by  exumenius on February 17, 2008 from Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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