We drove all the way to King's Canyon to climb up a steep set of stairs to get to the top of the canyon, to walk six kilometers in pounding sun with no water-replenishing sites… above a pretty deep hole with a great deal of rocks on the way down.
You're right. I don't know why we do it either.
That said, King's Canyon is the best place we've been so far. Kata Tjuta was nicer than Uluru— the Base Walk is much too flat to be anything but mindless droning, and Kata Tjuta actually has flat parts.
If I had to walk a long distance and I was given the choice between a rough road with lots of big rocks and a smooth road, like asphalt, I'd choose the big rocks. They're more visually interesting.
King's Canyon is home to one of the largest permanent waterholes in Central Australia. Its name? The Garden of Eden.
To get to it, you deviate from the Rim Walk path and walk 300m to the waterhole, where you encounter a pool of water that smells weird. There are insects and beautiful light gray birds flying. There's a sign with swimming guidelines, but we didn't do anything beyond putting our hands in. It was a bit cold and probably full of bacteria.
As we came back, we sat down on one of the 'pancakes' to rest. Dad looked over to the left and saw a bird hopping around on the path.
"A bird!" Dad exclaims.
We all look over and smile. It's so hard to actually see these small sparrow-like birds up close. They're my favorite sort, too, because they're so small and fuzzy and cute.
It's hopping around, looking somewhat inquisitive… and then I realize it's fluttering its wings and seemingly trying to escape from something.
"It's caught." I said, standing up and trying to figure it out.
"Loosen it." Mom says.
It seems to be a really, really thin wire, caught around the bird's right leg. Ants the size of my pinky nail are beginning to approach it. I realize it's wrapped around the bird's leg, which is bloody.
"I can't loosen it. It's wrapped."
"Pick it up."
I do, and Mom comes over to investigate. The bird's heart is pounding.
"It's a human HAIR!" Mom exclaims.
That's right. And who knows how long it's been here in the baking sun?
"Where's the nail clippers?" Mom asks. We need something to cut the hair off.
"In the Scottevest… in the car." I say miserably.
Mom remembers the tweezers. With our hands over the bird's head to keep it calm, Mom tweezes away the hair. We put some healing cream on its foot and wing, fill Ileana's hands with water (it drinks), hold it a bit more, and then let it fly away.
It stays in Mom's hand very comfortably, no longer trying to escape. We wait a bit longer, set it down on a rock with a small puddle of water, and say goodbye.
I wonder where it is now?