Hiking 'till my feet fell off!

Trip Start Apr 20, 2010
1
7
21
Trip End May 15, 2010


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Where I stayed
Voyages Ayers Rock Outback Pioneer Lodge Hotel

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another day of waking up before the crack of dawn as I could no longer sleep, so I got ready and went to the lobby to await my shuttle (one hour early).  The van arrived at 6am and off we were for the sunrise viewing at Kata Tjuta (the other part of the National Park).  Since it had rained last night, the air was crisp and clean but there were still a few lingering clouds.  The sunrise was nice but not spectacular although in the distance I could see the mist coming down from the top of the mountains.  

We were the first to leave the viewing platform and arrive at the trail head for the Valley of the Winds.  No cars in the parking lot, no hikers around, we were the first to arrive and explore the awakening park.  Just the way I like it.  I was all alone on the trail, listening to the sounds of nature, the birds, the winds.  What a beautiful place, so majestic, so serene, so breathtaking, so weird, so alive, so dead.  The hike is 8km (yes, I did the entire 8K), up and down over rocky terrain but definitely some of the best natural scenery I have seen.  Although there were many tracks of kangaroos and camels I did not spot any :(  The day turned out GORGEOUS, the sun was out, a few clouds in the sky gave it some depth and richness.  The red of the mountains against the different greens of the vegetation thrilled me to no end and made for some great photos.  I wish I could have shared it with someone first hand, but you all can partake in it with me via this blog and the photos.

I returned to the hotel and met Mom for lunch.  She had been busy writing all her postcards and getting them ready to send.  We made our lunch in the Lodge's kitchen and ate leisurely on the patio being watched by several birds waiting for scraps.  We did find out that they are NOT vegetarians!!!  I could decide what to do this afternoon but after some debate with Mom, I opted to take advantage of the weather and head back out to Uluru and do the Full Base Walk (9.4km plus 2.2km to the pick-up point) and then make another attempt at the sunset.  Yes, your math is correct..Zach is going to walk/hike 19.6km in a day?  I DID it and my feet are now killing me but it was soooo worth it.  What a wonderful way to spend a gorgeous weather day in a spectacular environment.  I hope you can feel my awe through these few pictures.  When planning to come here, I had high expectations and I was not disappointed.  You all know my love and passion for wildlife photography and that too came about on my walk around Uluru.  A Horned Devil crossed my path and was kind enough to pose for me.  It is really kind of ugly but beautiful in its own way at the same time (call me crazy).

The day concluded with a beautiful sunset over Uluru.  I am exhausted but it feels great.
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