Roam Flashback: King’s Canyon, Australia

The remnants of the thunderstorm from the previous night were still lingering in the sky when we woke up in the back of the car and headed back towards the canyon of King’s Canyon. The sky didn’t show many signs of clearing up, so we debated about going on the hike along the top of the canyon at all. Our choices were to either go on the hike, or drive the 400-some kilometers back to Alice Springs. We decided to pushback that long drive as long as possible.

The rim walk is supposed to be for moderate hikers only, but the only strenuous part of the hike is the steep climb in the beginning. We made it to the top of the rim in about 20 minutes (the trail goes more of less straight up), and then sat down and waited for a tour group to go by and eat some breakfast. This bird thought that breakfast was a good idea and joined us.

After the tour group was a satisfactory distance away, Jeff and I continued our walk. We were walking around these tall layered red rocks, it was like craggy huge flapjack stacks.

And when we weren’t in these wide open spaces, we were walking along the edge of a deep and sudden valley. There wasn’t much in the way of a trail, so we pieced our way around the canyon by following white stripes of paint, which we occasionally had to hunt for.

At some point the sky started to clear up, and it was appropriately timed with our arrival at the top of the over 100m tall cliff. There were no fences or¬†guardrails, not even a “stand behind this point” sign. This was effin’ Australia, if you wanted to sit on that cliff face, no outback cowboy was going to give a crap if you slipped off or not.

We continued along the rim and the sky continued to get more and more clear. Soon we would be alternatively looking out at a endless landscape of red rock pancake stacks, and over the edge of a deep life ending cliff drop.

 

At the end of the canyon, was a natural watering hole affectionately called “Eden’s Garden,” where visitors could jump in and swim around in the completely black and unrevealing water. Anything could of been down there, loch ness, zombie kangaroos, or some prehistoric raptor-shark. We jumped in though, of course, and that is when Jeff saw me swim for the first time. He thought I was exaggerating when I said I look like a chicken trying to swim.

 

We eventually were caught up with by another tour group, and overheard some interesting information about some areas in the land of pancake rocks. Apparently the top of the canyon, or the whole canyon, or some small part of the canyon (I haven’t been able to find internet information about this, you failed me Wikipedia), used to have a river/water flowing through it. There is geological proof of this at the top of the wall, where there are paths that have waves fossilized in the stone. That’s right, at the top of this cliff, there are stones that had been worn by a river that once flowed over them.

After swimming at Eden’s garden, the rest of the walk was a the saddened exit out of the valley. We still walked around a bit of the rim, but we knew that our morning was ending and a long car ride was awaiting us. We had a great short hike, climbing into the clouds which then disappear to expose a huge unique landscape, and the new dark shadows make that 100m drop seem more deep and dangerous.

That evening we found a hostel in Alice Springs that had turned old RV’s into outdoor rooms, and we enjoyed a soft bed and a nice shower. The next morning before our flight to¬†Cairns, we enjoyed breakfast with a very aggressive and racist eastern European boy, who showed us first hand about the segregation and civil rights issues that are very vibrant in the Australian outback towards Aboriginals. It wasn’t the best end to the trip, but it was more interesting and real than anything we would of been told on a tour guide, so it was okay.

Anywho, next was a flight to Cairns, then a bumpy bus ride to Port Douglas, where I was to learn how to play with sharks.

 

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