First stop: Kanyaka station, ruins of the first settlement & sheep farm in the outback. Life must've been so hard back then; wandering through the rooms & watching the sun rise through the trees its easy to imagine not much has changed since then.
We wandered past crumbling chimneys & through a dry sandy once-riverbed to a very old cemetary filled with unmarked graves. It was completely silent except for harsh birdcalls & our footsteps. Its a singularly satisfying crunch to have the dry brush underfoot.
At the bathroom break, Dennis (from Canada - totally reminds me of our friend Cacease (sorry butchered the spelling!); hes Italian, loud, funny & crazy) bought a net hat to keep the flies away & I totally jumped on the bandwagon. I look completely "special" but I don't care. It really works.
Then to Arkaroo Rock to see aboriginal cave drawings over 5,000 years old! Hiked a hot, rocky, though not too strenuous trail to the site where they used to do initiation ceremonies when boys crossed into manhood (marked by when they started to grow facial hair). Our guide told us what the symbols meant and that its one of the best preserved art sites in the country. It was pretty cool though less intricate than I was expecting; its not the dot-y kangaroos you see on the gift shop boomerangs, its just simple symbols. I should know better than to get my facts from gift shop merch. :)
We saw more blue-tongue lizards & I got a pic of one for y'all this time.
Next was Wilpena Pound, a beautiful park full of red gum trees, yellow flowers, grasshoppers, and euros. We hiked a long but level path to Hill Homestead, which wasn't interesting to look at but I found the signs explaining it very intriguing. Apparently, people settled there, grew crops, & THEN tried to build a road out to sell their crops. Seems a bit backward...
Hiked up a seriously steep, I'm talking practically vertical, rock slope to Wilpena lookout. By the time I reached the top, I was panting, sweating, heart beating, I stepped up on the platform and... Uh, saw some trees. Totally anticlimactic. Its a valley enclosed by a circle of mountains and apparently its pretty great from the sky, but not so much where we were. We all sat up there for about 10 minutes, just to catch our breath before heading back down.
My feet & legs are so sore. But it was good; I got my blood flowing & a healthy dose of vitamin D. :)
Oh, and did I mention that all this occurred BEFORE NOON? Yeah...
Stinky & exhausted, we ate our burger lunch in the shade & listened to the birds fight over our crumbs. Now we're back on the bus for a 40+ degree celcius (100+ F) afternoon of naps & swimming pool. Phew.
Catch you on the flip side...