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Back to King's Canyon

Sunday 9th August 2015

sunny 29 °C

It was another early rise this morning, with clear instructions from Bez that we would be leaving camp at 6:15am sharp. Nigel set his alarm so as to give us enough time to get up and ready and sort out our tent. We both had a better nights sleep, and although it had been good to sleep under the stars on the first night it had been warmer to be under canvas, and having a bit of space to call our own made getting ready much easier. Again it was a bit of a makeshift breakfast, with a couple of bits of toast and some juice. Amazingly everyone was ready to leave on time, and so we all headed off to the Kings Canyon in order to have an early start. It felt as though we were at a slight advantage in that we had already seen the area from the helicopter the previous evening and so knew a little of what to expect. It was about a 25 minutes drive from Kings Creek Station to Kings Canyon and Bez had timed it impeccably, as it was just becoming light as we drew up in the car park. We were given a choice as to whether wanted to walk around the rim or in the creek bottom. Bez had been quite honest about the strenuous nature of the start of the walk and the fact that the initial climb, with its 500 steps, has been named 'heart attack hill' re-enforced the message. We knew that the pace would be brisk, and that it would be difficult to walk at our own pace and so had already decided to do the creek walk. Everyone else in the group were soon disappearing from view up the canyon wall. Bez explained the other options to us including the gentler approach to the rim up the south side of the canyon, with a good view point at the top.

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We set off along the dry valley floor, crisscrossing where the river might flow in wetter times.

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After about a 20 minute walk we reached the platform Bez had described, about 3/4 of the way along the canyon. The sun was starting to come up over the north rim, bathing the upper reaches of the southern wall in a now familiar reddish orangey light. It was incredibly peaceful sitting there only interrupted by bird call and the very occasional echoey voice coming down from the canyon rim. We got some idea of the nature of the terrain up there from a small bridge crossing a gap in the rock hundreds of feet above us. We sat there for some time watching the sun continuing to rise, like some luminous tide mark on the rock face.

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Eventually we were joined by an elderly Swiss couple. As we had enjoyed the solitude for some time, and had taken all the photographs we wanted to take, we decided to leave them in peace for a while and we returned back the way we had come.

There was still over an hour until the time that Bez had estimated the rest of the group would return, so we decided to try the path up the south wall. This also had many steps (I estimated at least 350) but these were more gradual than those on the north wall at heart attack hill. The view became more spectacular as we climbed, and we eventually reached a point marked Kestrel Falls where we decided to stop. Characteristically for the area there was no water to be seen although it was possible to see where this would flow after heavy rain. We stopped to admire the view and take some photographs before making our way back down the way we had come.

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Once back down at the base all we had to do was wait for the others to join us. A few front runners appeared after about 10 minutes or so and announced that they were off to do the creek walk, and let us know that the others were about 20 minutes or so behind them. After a bit of a wait we were all together again, and after a quick comfort break were all back on the bus for the drive back to camp for lunch.

By this time we were used to getting down the domestic chores, and working as a team. Initially there were tents to sweep out and bags to pack. This was followed by the cooking of a lunch of beef and camels burgers and salad. A burger between two slices of toasted white bread wouldn't be my normal fare but it tasted surprisingly good. After we had finished eating there was the washing up to do, the canteen to sweep, and the van to pack. Bez seemed pretty pleased that we did all of this promptly and efficiently, and by this stage of the trip pretty much everyone was mucking in. We had the long five hour/ 275 mile trip back to Alice. There was a lot of snoozing, apart from Bez who seemed to have his eyes firmly on the road. There was still the opportunity to give out a little more information en-route and we had a stop at a cattle station/ emu farm for a break.

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We were pretty tired once we reached Alice, so just went back to our apartment and checked into our new room which was considerably larger than the previous one and enjoyed a few hours of relaxing before going to the comfort of our large double bed!

Posted by Gill's Travels 07:01 Archived in Australia Tagged australia outback kings_canyon

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