Saturday, 30 July 2016

Canyon of the Kings

We made the trip from Palm Valley to Kings Canyon via the dirt road passing through some pretty amazing country. Many people warned us that the road was awful and corrugated to the point your car would fall apart. Turns out they were right and wrong. The road itself was not bad at all, with the tyres down in pressure we were comfortably doing a average of 60 to 70km/h most of the way. 

A few corrugations ...

The downside was that we noticed in camp that some of the underbody panels were not bolted up with as many bolts as they started with. A quick fix with some repairs and we are back fully bolted. Will need to adjust the daily vehicle and camper check routine to ensure they are all there!

There were some inventive slow down signs on the way. 

But scenery was very pretty. 

Long straight roads were far and few between the 300km stretch. 

On the way we did our daily firewood collection. Andi got in on the axe action, taking to the dry timber with some vigour. 

We arrived at the camp around 2pm and setup to get across to the ranger guided talk at 3pm. The camp itself was pretty sparse and we setup on a patch of green grass with a view of the canyon. 

Having so many people around us a bit of a change. After relatively few people at Glen Helen and small group at Palm Valley it seemed like grand central station. 

Turns out the guided walk was cancelled for that day due to the Rangers being involved with burn off, so we heard up the creek walk to stretch the legs. The walk goes up the bottom of the valley. The boys got some reading practise with the signs on the way.  We were saving our walking legs for the rim walk tomorrow

After Palm Valley, the sunset here was spectacular but it just didn't have that flare. The red rocks certainly know how to put in a show, we must be getting spoilt for choice now. 

A quick game of cards at the pub listening to some fairly unique singing and guitar playing. Unique not so good way, and we headed back to camp. Not before we got asked for some of our sunset pictures from Palm Creek though! Have to remember to send them once we get back in coverage. 

Here we are dressed mostly in Red in the red centre!

The next morning we readied ourselves for the walk around the rim of the canyon. It was about 6km, certainly the longest walk we have done so far on the trip.

We headed off around 9:15 passing signs about making sure that you have enough water etc. During the warmer months they have a lot of work making sure people are aware of the dangers of dehydration etc. They close the full rim walk gates at 9am if it forecast to be over 36 degrees. Hopefully it works so that the rescue count is reduced. We have not had such temperatures forecasted and it was a chilly 13 as we headed up the first hill. 

It was pretty steep but the boys flew up in about 15 minutes or so. 

The view from the top was stunning

Once we were up on the plateau it was a lovely rather flat walk. The scenery changes to show more of the beehive style mounds, shaped by millions of years of weathering by wind and rain. 

The boys had a ball scaling some of the rocks without wondering too far off the path. There was always the danger of the vertical cliff face of the rim in mum and dad's mind, making sure we weren't too close. 

We started down thereeeee.

A heart pounding part of the walk especially for Dad was the section of the walk over the bridge to stand nearer to the south walk.  It involved walking over a bridge with a bit of a gap. 

Dad made it but didn't feel comfortable to head further. Katie and the boys took over the camera duties and got some great shots.

This is of the north south face. To give you a sense of scale, there are people in the top right hand chatting near the edge. 

It was a bit breezy up the top. 

 Later when we were on the north rim we watched as people came incredibly close the edge to get a great shot! Not sure if they are brave or otherwise.

At the back of the canyon there is sufficient shelter and water to form a protected spot for plants and animals, they called it the garden of Eden. It was certainly stunning and a big change from the barron rock landscape around. 

We then headed over to the south face of the canyon to see the shear cliffs of the north face. The cream colour is the natural colour of the rock, formed from sand dunes about 360m years ago. The lighter cream colour is and area where there has been a "recent" rock fall.  It darkens up over time with the rusty colour with lichens and leeching minerals from the rock. 

There were people walking at the top of the picture above for a sense of scale. 

It was a lovely walk down the south face on a slightly shallower gradient than the start. 

We passed Kestrel falls on the way back to the car park, a mammoth bit of rock. 

We arrived back in around 2 1/2 hours which was really good considering that the boys hadn't done much walking. They were tired when we got back to the car but that didn't last long as when we were back at camp they were straight back into the playground and hooning round on their bikes :)

Us on the other hand had a lovely relaxing afternoon chilling out. The breeze was a bit chilly but you get out of that and it was glorious. 

We needed to rest up as the next day was "moving day" making it way to Uluru and Kata-TJuta for a couple days. 

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