Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday October 7th

One of the must see places in Australia is Ayers Rock.  It’s one of the most recognizable landscapes in the world.  The land was given back to the aboriginal peoples who changed its’ name back to the original Uluru.  There are over a half million visitors a year but no overnight accommodations in the park.  A nearby well developed service village provides all needs for the visitors.  It has become the 4th largest city in the Northern Territories.  There are campgrounds available for the budget travelers since the hotel rooms are $400+ a night.  It was a good night to break out the tent.

I’ve seen plenty of postcards of Uluru and was sure that the red hue was digitally enhanced.   As we approached the park entrance in the distance we could see the red rusted mound protruding from the desert floor.  It didn’t require any color enhancement. 

Our first stop was the well designed cultural center that tries to educate the visitor how sacred the land is to aboriginal people.  They discourage climbing Uluru or removing any rocks from the park.  According to the local story of “the sorry rocks” everyday there is a package from a guilty tourist mailing back a souvenir rock with a letter of apology for the misdeed.  Some feel guilty while others feel it has brought them bad luck and want to return the rocks to change their luck. 

Parked the car where the climbing route starts.  Despite the park literature asking people not to climb, there was a steady line heading up Uluru.  The aboriginals see it something akin to climbing up the Lincoln Memorial and sitting on Lincolns head.  Interestingly, in their culture only men are allowed to climb.  They have many strict divisions of male and female roles.

We got a late start on our hike around Uluru.  It’s hard to describe or take a photo to capture.  Around every corner is another stunning view of the red rock cathedral. 

With recent rains everything was in bloom and pools of water graced the edge of the rock base.  Plenty of birds and lizards, but few pesky flies. It’s hard to frame a picture because of the scale but that didn’t stop me from trying.  Nothing like digital photography.

It’s about 7 miles around, my legs were done at 3½ and near dusk. Annette continued on while I hitched a ride from a passing car.  It was full dark when Annette got back to the car.  Her last km was hurried along after she saw 2 dingoes (wild dogs) racing by behind her.  It was a three quarter moon so plenty of light to see and be seen by the dingoes.  It also lighted the way for the last of the climbers coming down off the rock.

The resort was hopping when we dropped in to find a meal.   Live music, big screen, pool table, and hard working bar crew.  It is known for its Outback menu, any kind of meat including emu, kangaroo, alligator and crocodile.  We had pizza with pumpkin, tomato, basil and feta.  Next was Ibuprofen, shower and bed. 

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