Lots of early starts on this trip. I came to think of it as the "sunrise and sunset tour" as we seemed to see them all!
Monday July 2 saw us rising early to be walking around Uluru before sunrise. It was very special to see the silhouette of the rock before sunrise.
Most of us then walked around the base of Uluru. I guess what surprised me most was how uneven the whole surface of Uluru was: it looks so very even from a distance. But close up you see the erosion you would expect on such an old rock.
Another surprising thing was that the red of the rock was only skin-deep. The rock was originally a grey sedimentary one. Iron sand was blown over from Western Australia, and with the addition of bacteria and water, the red colour developed. This shot shows Clarke, our tour guide. He knew a lot he could impart about plants especially and also geology.
We drove back down the road to where we got a great view of Mt Fularoo (Mt Connor). Uluru is one piece of rock. Kata Tjuta broke into bits. Mt Fularoo (so called as some think they have seen Uluru when they see it, and head on back to Alice Springs), has several layers. There is a thin sedimentary layer on top, then a layer hard as titanium underneath, then sedimentary under that again. It is actually more U shaped from another side, and was formed by glacier action. To Aboriginal people, it is known as Atila, and they think the weather gods reside there.
It was an interesting drive to Kings Canyon, as we drove along near the George Gill ranges.
On arrival at Kings Canyon we were quickly into some vegetable preparation as our meal was going to be cooked in camp ovens on the campfire. (And it was very delicious!)
Sunset this evening was observed from a little knoll near the campsite, and again the red colour drained from the rock as the sun left it. This time we had the sunset to ourselves, only our group.
For the second night, I slept in a swag under the stars. Afternoons were warm, but nights were cooler, though warmer than the week before by all accounts. I had my three season sleeping bag, my long johns, a hat on my head, and I slept comfortably under the stars in an Aussie swag. This is basically a big canvas bag with a mattress in it that you wrap yourself up in. Being able to sleep like this for three nights, going to sleep next to the campfire, was one of my favourite parts of the trip.