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Published: December 30th 2009
Day eight started with another early morning so that we could get around King's Canyon before the sun became too intense. Ian had warned us that the beginning of the route was up a very steet 300m incline called heart attack hill that would take us to the top of the canyon wall and from where we could walk around the rim. When we arrived at the bottom, the air already stiflingly hot, we saw why we had been advised to bring a lot of water for the walk. Living up to it's name, heart attack hill was very intimidating. We had to take a couple of breaks on the way up to the top but when we arrived the view was well worth the climb. We were able to look out over the plains behind us and stood for a while admiring the view and catching our breath before continuing with the walk. We wound our way through various rocks and gum trees along the rim before arriving at a beautiful lookout point in the middle of the horseshoe shaped canyon where we sat for half an hour, munching on apples and enjoying the scenery. We continued along the walk
before descending steeply into a shady gorge called the Garden of Eden. Because the base of the gorge is protected from the sun by the sheer walls around it, and the fact that it collects rainwater, it has remained a lush paradise of palm trees and tropical pools. We walked along the base of the gorge before arriving at one of the permanent waterholes where we sat cooling our feet. Rather exhausted by this point we climbed back up the wall of the gorge and continued with the rim walk. As the morning wore on the sun became very hot and we all had to reapply sunscreen like mad. We ambled around the rim of the canyon at a snails pace, drained by the heat and also not wanting to finish the spectacular walk too quickly! Ian even joked that we were the slowest group to ever complete the rim walk. Finally we finished and climbed down the thankfully more gentle slope at the opposite end of the horseshoe before heading back to the bruck and hitting the road.
We drove for hours along a rough outback track, spotting wild camels and horses out of the window along the
way. At one point we passed yet another brilliant example of oddball outback humour. At the side of the dusty road, miles from anywhere, there is a tree that has become known as The Tree of Junk. Everybody that passes the tree is meant to decorate it with a random piece of rubbish so we duly jumped out and made our contributions. Mine was a snotty tissue that I stuffed inside a punctured tyre suspended from a branch. Nice.
We drove on until nightfall, making another couple of stops along the way to stretch our legs and kick about the footie before turning into Palm Valley National Park. The track was extremely rough and we bounced over rocks in the dark until we finally arrived at the campsite. As a rare treat, the site actually had showers although we did have to share them with a variety of colourful, and probably poisonous, frogs who hopped around as we washed. We set up our swags near a dry creekbed and settled in for the night.
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