This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels June 11

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FRIDAY 11 JUNE     KINGS CANYON

We were up at 9am again.

There was a lot of cloud about, at first, and we thought it would not be a good day to do much. However, by about 10, it had broken up, the sun was shining, and we decided to tackle the full Canyon Rim walk.

We took a packed lunch, and water, and the little first aid kit, in the day pack. I forgot to take extra film, though, and ran out part way round the walk. Drat!

06-11-1999 01 start canyon walk.jpg

Starting out. Behind John is the spur that the track goes up to reach the top of the plateau

Drove to the carpark. Walked the sealed first section of the track – this section is shared with the walk we did along the creek valley. Then it branched, and the first part of the Rim Walk was a steep climb up to the top level. Much of the ascent was stepped and staged, so it was by no means the worst climb I’d ever done.

06-11-1999 02 carpark and plains from part way up canyon spur

The car park and the surrounding flat plains from part way up the spur climb

As we gained height, there were dramatic views up the adjacent big valley, along the main Canyon, and back over the carpark and the plains below. The plateau at the top of the Canyon  is 100-150 metres above the valley floor.

06-11-1999 03 next valley from spur track

The next valley from the track up the spur. The flatter, top level is evident

06-11-1999 04 view up Kings Canyon.jpg

Looking along Kings Canyon as we climbed the spur track. We will be walking right around the top

Once on the top plateau, the track wound along through lots of small dome, valley and chasm formations, that were quite unexpected and rather reminiscent of the much larger domes of the Bungles, in WA. The domes, according to local aboriginal lore, are native cat men.

06-11-1999 09 on the top scene.jpg

Valleys on the plateau, between the red domes

The sunlight on the red sandstone was brilliant.

There was so much more variety up on top than I had expected. Little valleys had quite thick clumps of grasses growing, with shrubs, low trees and the occasional white trunked ghost gum contrasting strongly with the red rock.

06-11-1999 06 domes and gums on top of canyon rim.jpg

Red rock domes, ghost gums, thick grasses in the valleys between the domes

06-11-1999  10 collapsed rock rim walk.jpg

A place where a rock formation has collapsed

In places we were walking on bare rock sheets.

06-11-1999 07 track guide by domes.jpg

Track guide to stop walkers straying too close to the dome – or taking the wrong route

There were occasional lookouts with huge drops into the Canyon below. Sometimes we could see people across the other side, looking really tiny.

06-11-1999 11 canyon and rim.jpg

Lookout over the Canyon. There are people on the rim on the other side. The smooth rock faces are where slabs have fallen into the valley below. Note the pointy rock at top left.

06-11-1999 13 canyon edge

The unprotected plateau edge, beyond John – who is not going too close!

We came across a first aid box and stretcher arrangement, for case of emergency up there. Like the same sort of thing we’d seen on the Valley of the Winds Olgas walk.

06-11-1999 14 reality bites.jpg

Multi purpose emergency first aid box!

06-11-1999 15 Kings Canyon rim walk looking back.jpg

Looking back the way we have come on the track that weaves through the domes. The pointy rock form by the Canyon Lookout can be seen at left of photo

One side track that we took went to a lookout over the Garden of Eden. This is a deep, steep sided valley in the sandstone, formed by Kings Creek. Because of its depth and narrowness it stays rather permanently damp in there, from seepage out of the sandstone,  and so it is a little oasis, with palms, ferns and 400 year old cycads. Even when Kings Creek is dry, water remains in some deep pools down there.

06-11-1999 16 Valley of Eden Kings Canyon path and steps

Looking over the Garden of Eden. The stairs down are at left

The lookout track crossed a deep ravine over a bridge and had some pretty vertiginous drops – but we gained an excellent view up the Garden of Eden.

After that, we went along and down into the Garden of Eden – on steps built down the rock face. Walked along to the permanent pools. There were a couple of ducks there, and a crow in a tree. Its call was magnified greatly by the rock walls – it seemed quite put out by the loud, echoing call, and kept repeating it, and acting puzzled. We thought it quite amusing.

06-11-1999 17 Valley of Eden

The pool in the Garden of Eden

We ate lunch sitting by the water. The ducks came begging for some. They were quiet enough to take pieces of crust from my fingers. It really was a lovely and serene place.

There were more stair cases to climb to get back up to the top level again.

06-11-1999 18 view over Valley of Eden.jpg

A final look back at the Garden of Eden

The path continued around, through more domes and clefts and with more outlooks across the Canyon. This side of the Canyon was not as rugged as the first had been. The track around the Canyon Rim goes in a big U shape, so a little after the Garden of Eden, we could see where we had walked this morning.

06-11-1999 19 above canyon.jpg

There was more flat rock surface on this side of the Canyon walk

There were places where the red sandstone walls were broken by white patches – places where pieces of rock had broken away and the underlying light coloured sandstone had not yet been oxidised to red.

One intrusive note was the helicopters regularly flying sightseers  over the Canyon to look at it. They were quite low. One even landed up on top and we wondered if it dropped some walkers off to save them the climb up? They were just an incongruous presence in such a grand and awesome place.

Some people venture awfully close to the edge, but not this little black duck!

Eventually, we began a gradual downhill section and arrived back at the carpark.

The walk had been 6kms in total. We had left the carpark at 11am and returned to it at 4pm, without hurrying at any stage. In fact, we dawdled a lot!

I think it is one of the best day walks we have ever done – just a magic day. It was not too hot, and there was a little cooling breeze.  I imagine that being up on the Rim on a really hot day would make it really hard. There were quite a few other walkers, as one would expect in a place like this, but they were not intrusive, and much of the time we were walking alone.

We certainly felt a great sense of achievement from completing this walk.

We did not feel too tired after all the exertion and scrambling, though, back at the van, John had a nap.

I made potato soup and we had some of that for tea, followed by curried tuna and rice – and yoghurt, of course.

A fairly early night was called for.

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