Monday, December 26, 2005

Of Rocks, Canyons and Crocs [UPDATED]

So my camera broke and other than that been enjoying Australia just famously. After ridiculously hot weather we have arrived in the extreme north of Australia where if you go swimming in the ocean there are a handful or two of ways you can get killed and you're likely to be, so our guide warns us, so no swimming in the ocean up here. The tour ends soon, just two more days. Hopefully I will get a chance to upload pics.

Kings Canyon That isn't me but it might as well be. This is a picture I found on Google. Eventually I will have photos up on here from the other members of the tour. The tour ended today. But with the ending of one thing comes the start of something new. Tomorrow morning I fly from here, Darwin, to Cairns on the east coast of Australia where I will be celebrating New Years. Conveniently I have the same flight as two people from the tour so we will be travelling together from Darwin to Cairns.

Pixagogo direct photo link

Haven't seen any Kangaroos yet but have seen some Wallabies (similar to a 'roo but smaller) and some crocs and tons of amazing birds. And bats. Lots of giant bats that hang upside down from trees.

Uluru or Ayers Rock is a sacred site to the Aboriginals and it isn't hard to understand after climbing it. It is a dangerous climb as the rock is completely bare, the largest bare rock in the world, and it is very steep. There is a small chain fence installed in places to aid you but I opted to not use the chain but nearly lost my footing on the way down and was about to dive for the fence when I manage to gain control of my feet in the nick of time. Lost my hat on the way up to the hot wind that was billowing over the rock from the other side. A strong wind from the early morning sun that was already hot before 7am was blowing up and over the rock and down the other side where we were climbing up. We had to leave extremely early in the morning to catch the sunrise before commencing the climb. We were not allowed to commence the climb of the rock after 8am due to the forecasted heat for the day. So we climbed up in shadow with the sun behind the rock climbing in the east. I found my hat near the base of the rock when I came down again. The aboriginals ask that people do not climb the rock due to its ominous nature: they believe it brings bad omens when people get injured or killed from climbing on it and you totally feel that ominous threat while climbing it. It feels very baren and alien when you're on that rock. Very eerie and quite an awesome experience. It commands a lot of respect and I sort of felt bad for disrespecting their wishes. But everyone climbs it. 16 people have died climbing it since it's been open to the public. It was a very unique experience, though, not a climb you can compare to any other climb. Unfortunately because of the time restrictions of the tour I still have no time to upload pictures.

We visited some canyons as well which were awesome. Hard to describe but basically it was made up of layers and layers of red rock forming all these unique shapes all around the giant chasm that is the canyon. We walked around the canyon's edge through a seemingly endless network of layered rock creating a sort of alien world of unique and strange shaped rocks making it feel very much like walking through another world in a video game. Very cool.


Anonymous said...

Didn't expect to see you on again till the 28th. A nice suprise. Missed you and your siblings not on Xmas but thr day after. Getting my ticket foe S.F. today.
Very wet here as well this Xmas. All the snow gone.Enjoy the last of the heat.Are you tanned or are you always covered.
Love CPR

Steve Bohrer said...

Jake, you do have one (stock) photo of the rock down in your first post. Are the canyons you mention similar to those shown in the rock at the left side of the photo, or are they separate from it? Either way, sounds very keen. Too bad you were without your sun hat for most of the climb. Did your scalp get toasted?

Steve Bohrer said...

P.S. Crocs?

The Intrepid Dr. Root said...

Crocs = Crocadiles. The sun wasn't too intense so it wasn't really a biggy. We finished the climb around 8:30am so the sun was still pretty low in the sky.