What a difference a day makes! Today we had to worry about dehydration and sunburn instead of slippery rocks and hypothermia! But let’s start at the beginning.
After another good night’s sleep in our motel accommodations we headed to breakfast. Today our owner friend was no where to be seen and we had to eat out under the bough roof, like the rest of the guests- no kitchen invitation this morning! But that was OK as we had lots of k’s (kilometers) to drive and some hiking to do.
Our destination was Kings Canyon, a drive of 220k east and north of Curtin Springs. I drove this morning and it was a very easy drive of just over 2 hours. For the driving we’ve been doing, there really is no need for a rear view mirror because there is never anyone behind you! As we drove we watched the cloud cover break up and by the time we reached Kings Canyon National Park the sky was blue with a few puffy white clouds! Yippee!
We planned to hike the 6k rim loop hike, which turned out to be a very popular hike. This park encompasses an escarpment with lots of deep crevasses and gorges, not something we thought we’d find in the Aussie outback! To get to the rim we had to hike up a trail of man made stone steps, 300 meters, about 1,000 feet. The trail crew is to be commended on the workmanship of this staircase up the side of a mountain!
Once on top of the escarpment or ridge line, we hiked around, through and over all sorts of rocky formations. There were many overlook points where we stood on edges of cliffs with views that went on forever!
At one point the trail dipped down, mostly via steep wooden staircases, to the Garden of Eden, a box canyon with water and lush green plant life. This park is known for being home to over 600 plant species! We saw quite a few, but didn’t count them! At the head of the canyon was a beautiful, deep pool of water, reflecting the deep red canyon walls! It was a special place.
Around every corner and over every cliff the view had changed, but was always impressive. Two-thirds of the way around the loop we got to a spot where we could look across a canyon to sheer cliff walls, where over the years huge slabs of rocks have slipped off the wall, leaving a clean, flat cliff face. It was one of my favorite sights on this hike.
The rocks and colors at this park made me think that I was hiking out in Colorado with Tucker and Alison – lots of similarities.
There were many more people on this trail than we thought would be there, but after hiking it we came up with some reasons why. First off, it is not that long, 6k. Second, the path up to and down from the rim level is steep but manageable and very well built and maintained. And lastly, it is beautiful!
Upon our return to the car, we drove a short distance to the resort in the park, where we had pizzas in the pub, the only place open for food at 2:00 PM. After that we had some k’s to drive so Bob put the pedal to the metal and we covered the 278k’s about 2.5 hours. During the drive, we watched some clouds move in and kept our eyes out for kangaroos and feral camels, but struck out on those sightings!
Tonight we are at a roadhouse/motel at the junction of the Lasseter Highway and the Stuart Highway, about 200k’s from The Alice, tomorrow’s destination. The Stuart Highway is the main drag between Adelaide and Darwin, a distance of 3000k. What a trek that would be, maybe I’ll do it on a train sometime!
Tomorrow we fly back to Melbourne, arriving there in the mid-late afternoon.