Published: December 20th 2011September 18th 2011
I was tired last night, but I couldn't sleep. I was comfortable in my swag, and I pushed all thoughts of creepy-crawly's out of my mind, but I couldn't sleep because the moon and the stars were too bright. I would drift off, and then their brightness would jolt me awake. Of all the reasons that have given me insomnia in my life, this was by far the most worthwhile one.
If sunset last night was obscured by the smoke from all the bush fires, sunrise this morning was even hazier. I was craving coffee as we made the pre-dawn journey from our campsite to the Kata Tjuta viewing platform. We watched dawn chase the shadows away, and the weathered mounds of Kata Tjuta emerged. On the horizon, a distant red ball appeared, outlining the shadow of Uluru below it.
The forecast was for lots of sun, and heat, so right after sunset we were whisked away to do the Valley of the Winds walk. It was amazing, to be in the sandstone (technically, conglomerate) canyons, with birds and plants and bursts of colour from the outback flowers. We even spotted a few kangaroos having breakfast in the grass.
I was sad to leave Uluru-Kata Tjuta. I loved it there, and now that I've been once, on a tour, I want to go spend more time there next time, doing more hikes, and seeing more sunsets and sunrises. In the last few weeks before I left Canada, I filled my time looking at images of the Red Centre of Australia, excited about coming to see and touch these old rocks. I was so excited that I was worried I would be disappointed. I haven't been. This place, the center of this continent, feels right to me. I love it here, because of the geology and because of the history.
On the way to King's Canyon, we stopped to climb up a dune for views of Lake Amadeus, a giant salt lake. I walked barefoot on the red dune, and the sand was hot and silky. It felt wonderful to sink my toes into it. With Lake Amadeus at our backs, we should have had spectacular views of Mount Connor, but oh, the smoke... Part of me is disappointed that I couldn't see it better, and photograph it better, but I'm glad to have a photo that shows
just how smoky it is. Of course a photograph doesn't capture the smell of the smoke, or the way it changes how the sun feels on your skin.
We had lunch at Curtin Springs en route to King's Creek Station, and of course we stopped along the way to collect firewood from the side of the road. Even though I have yet to see any snakes or spiders, I still kick the sticks around a bit to shake anything off before picking it up.
Once we arrived at King's Creek Station, where we are camping tonight, we had free time. While some people scattered for a swim or a walk, I sat on my swag in front of the fire (to keep the bugs off) and just revelled in the fact that I was sitting on a swag on a cattle station in the Outback!
There are more photos below