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Kings Canyon

blog-0934313001398424894.jpgNortheast of Uluru is an area known as Kings Canyon. The as the crow flies distance is about 120 kilometers but the road distance is more like 300 kilometers. It is a beautiful area of sandstone bluffs and canyons. There are several hikes of interest to us in this location so we spent Easter Sunday driving to this location. We arrived at the Kings Canyon Resort to find that all the powered sites were taken and the rate for unpowered sites were just a few dollars less than those with power. If we wanted to camp without power, we could do that free at some locations but none close.

Being in the park in mid-afternoon we decided to take one of the short hikes. The hike we chose was about a half mile long and went directly into Kings Canyon along Kings Creek. The hike was an easy one being on paved or gravel walkway with a few bridges over Kings Creek. The scenery was spectacular as you looked up several hundred feet to the canyon rim. The rock walls consisted of a lower layer of sandstone in very thin layers overlain with sandstone in massive thick layers. The canyon walls were eroded in these steep walls because the thin layers eroded away more easily leaving the upper layers unsupported. The upper layers then collapsed into the canyon and were evident throughout the walk. Blocks of sandstone the size of houses littered the floor of the canyon. Weather would eventually wear these blocks down and the creek would carry them away.

We enjoyed watching birds, photographing a lizard and seeing interesting plants including one that looked very much like a holly with small red berries. There was some interpretative information but nothing mentioned that plant. There was another trail that started where this one did and we planned to hike that trail around the canyon rim the next day. That trail was described as being difficult with a steep climb to the rim and with very dry warm conditions strong cautions about taking adequate water for the hike were posted. We took note of those cautions and begin planning for the hike.

The only other campground nearby was at Kings Creek. This was a private way station just outside Watarrka National Park, the park that contains Kings Canyon. These stations are isolated and are high cost operations which also charge high fees for everything from fuel and food to camping. We were able to get a powered site at Kings Creek and it wasn’t as expensive as I assumed but the facilities were really rough. The shower house was in poor condition and the roads and campsites were on dirt or dust. Still, we had power and could use the air conditioning to cool down for the night.

The following morning Louise woke up feeling poorly. She was suffering from a migraine headache which had become worse overnight. We decided to scrap the plans for the rim hike and head for Alice Springs where we would get some rest and catch up with housework before continuing north toward Darwin on the northern coast of Northern Territories.


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