— 16 Aug 2012 —
Last day of this leg and to kick-start the day, we went on a hike around Kings Canyon.
First, we had to conquer the stairway to heaven. 200 odd steps chiseled out of the canyon face. All at 06h30 in the morning. Joyous.
We climbed and climbed which seemed like forever. To entertain us along the way, Frank and David decided we were on an Indian Jones-like adventure so started whistling the theme song. However, David got it mixed up with the Star Trek theme song. FAIL. My proneness to failing was rubbing onto them.
Despite the all the complaining on the way up, the view was totally worth it. It was the best spot to view the sheer face of the canyon itself. The photos don’t do it justice at all and a panoramic can’t even capture the entire canyon.
We found this one (Sara’s favourite tree) amongst a few others of its kind around a flat area at the top of the canyon. Apparently this is one that has adapted to the harsh environment. It has roots which span out around 10 meters which go in search of water, penetrating through the canyon rock itself. Amazing.
We found some fossilised water ripples along the way which just goes to show how old the canyon is.
On and on we hiked, up and down and all around. This is me after the x-number of stairs we had climbed. Yet there was more, on our mission to find the oasis where we would be resting for morning tea.
So we found the oasis and it was stunning. A little watering hole in the middle of the canyon. The water was so still and clear, you could see your own reflection and the tiny fish doing their thing. Where did they come from? Beats me.
We continued through the land of the rock mounds and finally made it on the other side of the canyon where we took in the sheer grandeur of the canyon.
Sara kept telling us to say 2 meters away from the edge but I repeatedly assured her I wasn’t going to jump off the edge. I was wanted to wave to the guy on the other side (the speck on top of the canyon).
We had one last info session about the Cycad tree. According to Sara, this is the largest one in the canyon and there is a group of people who come out annually to count and pin point where the cycads are around the canyon. Unfortunately they haven’t been able to pin point all of the tress yet because the canyon is so darn big but they try their best.
We also learnt that the female tree is pollinated by worm-like insects with seeds from the male tree. When the male tree is “on heat”, the core will heat up. Because the insects don’t like heat, they take the seeds and “live” in the female trees which are much cooler. Once the females have been fertilised, their core will then heat up and the insects will go back to living inside the male core. Fascinating right?
And we that fact, the hike was over and we were bracing ourselves for numb bums again.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post.
Like Uluru, I thought the King deserved a post of its own.