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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: -25.3457, 131.037
We packed up camp early and had a dawn start out of camp. It took us most of an hour to get from Curtin Springs to Yulara, the resort just outside the National Park. We stopped for an hour or so to get some cash from the ATM and mail a couple of post cards.
Just past the resort is the park entrance where we paid our $25/person for a 3 day pass. I'll mention now that the currently official name for the rock and the park is the native word "Uluru". I will use Ayers Rock since it is in the same language as the blog, and I like it better. We stopped at the Cultural Center, but there wasn't much there except for a lot of aboriginal creation stories that involve the rock. And, of course, also a souvenir shop.
We headed over to the parking lot and quickly prepared ourselves for the climb. I brought my camera and phone because I'd read that you can get cell coverage up top. The first 50 meters of the climb are just plain walking, but the following 100m or so is very steep with a chain to assist. For added challenge,
I avoided using the chain, but I sure kept within easy reach of it. I had to walk up it on all fours to make sure I kept balance and grip. Luckily the rocks in Australia are all very grippy if you have the right shoes. I made it up the steep part after several stops and 20 minutes time. The next 20 minutes or so was following the meandering path along the upper reaches to the summit near the other side. Carl and I walked on to a futher area that required several scrambles up and down the large ridges you see in the picture.
In all directions there were no clouds in the sky. Judging from the mountains in the distance, the horizon seemed 100 miles away in all directionsl. The temperature was perfect to at about 65 degrees with a stiff breeze.
I called a few people from the summit and posted a photo to Facebook and then we headed down. On the steep part, I used the chain and side stepped to try and reduce the chance of slipping. About 1 person dies on the climb every other year, usually from a heart attack and the
resulting fall. It's best to play it safe.
After the climb, we hikes around the rock on the 10km scenic circular trail. The rock has some seriously steep cliffs that are really amazing to behold. There are a lot of places where erosion has left some interesting marks, and others where water runs down the rock in the rain. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
I'll mention that the flies around the park are fairly annoying small houseflies. I'm sure they bite and they certainly seem attracted to me in particular. In a very Inspector Gadget like way, I deployed the net out of the top of my hat and tucked it into my shirt for the second half of the hike.
At sunset we headed over to sunset viewing area and snapped some photos along with dozens of other people. In general I don't get the feeling that the park is very full this week. I can't imagine that we saw more than 200 different people in all of our events today. After a simple meal at a snack bar, we headed over to the campsite and pitched our tent for the night.
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