Despite pleas by the aboriginal peoples on every piece of literature and sign in the park NOT to climb the rock, tourists still climb the rock. And every month people have to be rescued from their own stupidity. It’s really hot in the desert, and wandering around out in the sun on an exposed rock with steep sides can be a recipe for disaster. Dehydration, heat stroke, exhaustion, panic, and falls are all serious issues. The entrance to the trail is only open for about an hour in the morning to minimize the risks. Here’s a shot that puts humans in perspective with the size of this rock. You can’t even see the top in this shot because it continues to slope up and away to the left.
All three of us are very fit, and capable, but Jen and I decided not to climb out of cultural respect. Billy couldn’t resist. I dropped him off at the trail head, and headed around to the sunrise viewing station. Jen took off on a run, and I tried to take some pictures, but Uluru is too big to fit in one shot with a 17mm lens at that distance.
I drove back around to the main entrance and walked on the loop trail for about 20 minutes one way, then headed back to the main entrance since there was a naturalist guide leading a tour and I wanted to hear some of the stories associated with Uluru. I was intrigued by the stories and the way that this giant rock fit into the native culture.
The tour was fascinating, and made the rock come alive with some of the mythology of the formations, and the patterns of use by the people that lived in the area. As I understand it, Native peoples believe that the stories and songs that they tell and sing are responsible for creating the world around them. There were a few stories about how different features of Uluru were formed. I saw some of the areas that they had used for teaching children about the world, as well as a cooking area, a water hole, learned about some of the uses of some of the plants in the area, and about how fire management was part of their culture. All fascinating and led to a greater appreciation of what I was looking at wandering around the park.
We regrouped, and headed around to a niche in the rock. We wandered in and saw one of the water holes at the bottom of a series of lools that stepped down the monolith. Bats were starting to come out, and the sky grew dark with storm clouds.
The wind kicked up really fast, and a lightning storm erupted over the desert. I tried to get a shot of the fireworks, with some success.
I’m editing processing and shrinking these photos from the original files on a laptop screen in varying light conditions, so better full size versions of all of the images on the blog will have to wait until I get back home.