I know I have moved on from the outback now but I really wanted to finish telling you all about it
Day 7 – 05 May 2013
Another one of our early starts, before sunrise we had packed up the tents and jumped in the car to drive to Kings Canyon to take on the Rim walk. This trek is only five and a half kilometres and I thought the four hour time that my guide book had suggested was at a very slow pace (they usually are). However this is one of those times when it was absolutely right. The walks starts with a good thirty minute climb and if you get it right you can watch the sun rise over the canyon. I took solace up on a rock to take it all in before we all started the big walk around the rim. We (or rather I) was very lucky on this walk, the night before there had been a lot of wind which had blown in some clouds to cover the sun and cool down the temperature a little. I took no risks and put my suncream on anyway before the sun came up but doing this walk in the blazing heat like the day before was just unbearable in my mind.
Again the walk is incredible. It takes in the mass of sandstone that makes up Kings Canyon which in itself is beautiful. Every now and then the view will open up into vast expanse and you can see trees far and wide like looking out onto a painted film set it really looks unreal. Along the walk you can take small detours onto various lookouts which are totally worth the extra few kilometres. They do generally involve a lot of ascent and decent though so if you have dodgy knees go carefully. I think also the four hour suggestion took into account the amount of times you might want to stop and take a photo. Sadly the Canyon on this particular day had a few tours arrive so unlike The Olgas where we did not see anyone for about two hours this time we would mix in and out of various tour groups. Regardless of the weather we took plenty of water along with us and I am sure on a hot day you will get through about three litres worth before you get to the end.
We use the rest of the day to get closer to Alice Springs our next major destination, we camped at a rest spot by the side of the road with two Aussie cyclists in their mid 50’s, early 60’s who had been cycling up towards Darwin from just north of Adelaide for the last three weeks. I chatted to them about touring and how they had been surviving the long distances, it has inspired me to go ahead with a crazy plan that I had several years ago and that is if I ever get back to the UK I shall at some point in the near future jump on a touring bike and head into Europe. My mind has not changed about camping, I don’t love it but I can see the appeal to it, I would rather have a bed and I think through Europe I would have a good chance to use both. We made a fire that night and all sat round it eventually tiredness hit and we all went to our various bed’s to sleep.
Day 8 – 06 May 2013 – Alice Springs
Hitting Alice was a bit of a culture shock, I had not seen civilisation like this for the past 7 or so days but it had felt like weeks. Alice is a small city as you might expect with all the relevant things you may need. There are a lot of aboriginal people in the town and I will be honest with you and say that I got a bad impression from them. They tried to talk to me on occasion and always ended up asking me for something or trying to sell me something, I’m not saying that they all do this but there are quite a few who do this so you get a bad impression. Having lived in a multi-cultural city for most of my life I don’t like the feeling that I am judging people like this to the point where you could easily call it racism I am sure if I got more involved in the community my anxiety about them as people would dissipate but sadly I just don’t have the time.
Alice was the first time in ages I had access to the Internet and I had to make a bit of a decision. Time for me in Aus was running out, I need to be on that flight to Thailand on June 10th and have just over a month to get back south and try to see as much as possible without feeling like I am just moving from one place to another. After careful consideration and some calculations it turned out to be quicker and slightly cheaper to fly to Cairns. I discussed this with the girls and decided to book the flight for the 11th so I could hang around a bit and take in the West Macdonnal Ranges. The next two days are not worth writing in great detail. but the West Mac’s were beautiful and we spent them camping in various spots, finishing the final night with an outdoor free BBQ with all four of us celebrating the time we had together and of course an early birthday.
It was great to be with such nice people for the 10 days we were together. I am sure if I meet them somewhere else in the world they will say hi but it’s also good again to be striding out on my own.