Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Kings Canyon and back to Alice Alice Springs, NT, Australia, Sunday, 19 June 2011 6:00pm

It seems that I slept through a dingo commotion last night.

Kings Canyon was awesome! I did a 6km hike around the rim of the canyon. The start was 100 vertical meters of rough stairs, but after that it was pretty easy going. The canyon itself is beautiful, with sheer faces of white rock stained red, black, but I found the other areas around it even more interesting. There are lots of huge sandstone domes arranged in neat patterns, and there is a waterhole in the bottom of the canyon filled with cycads that have been growing there largely unchanged for 45 million years. Okay, individual cycads are only a few hundred years old, but the conditions there have changed so little since the time of the dinosaurs that they haven't had to adapt much. There are cheeky little birds down in the waterhole which will come and stand in your shadow as you're trying to take their pictures, ruining the light. There are a bunch of very informative signs posted around the path that provide a lot of information about the geology, history, and wildlife of the area, as well as describing the indigenous people's stories about the sites.

Really, the only downside to going to Kings Canyon was that it was a bit too picturesque and now I'll have to process hundreds of photos of interesting rocks and cheeky birds and sunlight shining through leaves and so forth when I finally get around to processing photos. I think I currently have only a 9 month backlog.

The drive back to Alice Springs was pretty uneventful. The desert here is a lot more vegetated than I expected. They had a very wet Wet season this year and there's a lot of grass in places that would usually be red earth. I talked to a caravan load of Taiwanese on a working holiday. They were impressed that I recognized their flag. They seemed happy to not have to explain again that they were from the ROC, not the PRC.

I feel like I'm ready to finish this part of the trip. I'm tuned in to the gentle wallowing that the van does at speed on less-than-perfectly-flat pavement, so I can sit back and watch the kilometers go by, but I think I've seen all of the variations of the signs exhorting tired drivers to stop at rest areas (favorite: "Have a spell / Stuart Wells 5km"). Driving on the wrong side was pretty easy in a car with a steering wheel on the matching side. The only thing I repeatedly had trouble with was hitting the windshield wiper control (on the left of the steering wheel) when I meant to hit the turn signal (on the right).


g-na (Anonymously) Sunday, 19 June 2011 8:56am

The joke in Fiji (where they also drive on the wrong side of the road) is that when you see windshield wipers go on, it means an American is turning left.