August 19th 2016 – Outback Tour Day 10 of 10

Today we woke up at 5:30am. I had coffee and toast for breakfast and then packed the rest of my stuff up so that we could leave by 6:30am. 

We drive to Kings Canyon and hiked around the entire canyon, also visiting the Garden of Eden. The hike took about three hours due to our leisurely pace so that everyone could keep up. The hike starts off with a few hundred very step semi natural steps. There is an AED at the top in case anyone has a heart attach climbing it. I was quite impressed that they had one.

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We learned a lot about the canyon and the Garden of Eden during our hike. The kings canyon is comprised of Carmichael sandstone. Carmichael sandstone is like a sponge. If can retain water for a long period of time. There have not been too many rock falls but one did occur about two months ago, and you can tell from the white rock face because unexposed sandstone takes hundreds, if not thousands of years to oxidize. That rock fall was the first in nearly 70 years, and not many buses got through during that time.

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We also learned that Spinifex grass can be used to make a resin similar to super glue. It is used to attach spear heads, as well as be used to patch boomerangs. Spear vines can be used to make spears and if the vine isn’t straight you can straighten it by holding it over a fire.

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White gum trees can be used as a sunscreen but running the powder from the bark on your skin. You can tell if a tree has been used a lot for this purpose because it starts looking like a red gum tree. White gum trees are unique because they can kill off some of their branches during times of lengthy droughts. They will keep their strongest branches alive and kill off the weaker ones. 

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We also learned that traditional punishment of beatings is still done by the aboriginals and police meet them half way. They allow minor lashes, but not abuse, but also enforce some white people laws as well. 

When we reached the top of canyon our tour guide Nat had a whip off with another tour guide who also had a whip. They are the only two tour guides on Way Out Back to have whips. The sounds were amazing and it was really cool to watch. My tour guide also took a funny selfie with my SLR too, so I had to include that picture.

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We continued along the canyon a bit further down some very steep stairs, across a small river leading to the Garden of Eden, back up some steps, where we had a rest and Nat gave us some chocolate chip cookies. She stayed behind while we went and explored the Garden of Eden, which is a permanent water hole within the canyon. The sights were mesmerizing!

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After returning back to Nat we had to go up quite a few more stairs. Some people were struggling a bit here so Nat cracked a joke saying that some people took too many cookies. 

After we finished the hike we had some ham and cheese wraps with vegetables. It was a five hour drive back to Alice springs afterwards, but we broke it up with two stops. We took a fairly bumpy gravel road to shave off 2 hours off the drive. 

I was dropped off second last at the bed and breakfast that I was staying at, called Kathy’s Place. I was greeted by her husband Karl, who showed me around the home and showed me to my room. He offered me some coffee and we talked for a bit before i decided to head out in search of food. Another guest was getting dropped off at the same time I was leaving so the gentleman who dropped him off offered me a ride into the centre town, about 2 kilometres away. He dropped me off at the IGA grocery store where I picked up a few beers and some food for dinner. I walked back, which took about 20 minutes. The walk was a bit scary because Alice Springs has a very high crime rate, and the streets are not very well lit. I walked very fast and kept checking over my shoulder. 

When I got back to the house Karl was watching television. I made my sandwich and cracked a beer. Karl and I talked for about an hour and a half about the Olympics, politics, airplanes, Australia, family, and travelling. I phoned the shuttle company and confirmed a pickup at 10:00am tomorrow from Alice Springs Motor Inn, about 500 metres away from Kathy’s Place. I was getting tired so I decided to head to sleep. 

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