King’s Canyon Rim Walk and Katherine Springs
We were up before first light, and plodded our way up the steep stone stairs to the rim of the canyon in the dark. “There it is”, Pete exclaimed, pointing to his right, “The Canyon!”, which had been there all the time in plain-ish view. We picked our way between stone tors and across rippled, yellow and red stone pavements, before emerging on the edge of vertical cliffs, with the dawn light highlighting the opposite side of the canyon. Later, we learned, it is best to do the walk anti-clockwise as (a) you avoid the busloads of backpackers, and (b) you improve your chances of seeing kangaroos and wallabies. At one point, the walk descended vai a steep wooden staircase into a beautiful, verdant valley, full of palms and gums – the apty named “The Garden”. We then made our way down the east side of the canyon giving us fine views of the other side, and the apparently red-brown stone (which is just a thin layer of red-brown sandstone over white rock made from compressed ocean sand (see photo). We then meandered gently down through stone valleys full of palms to the canyon floor and the carpark. The walk was only about 5-6km (2 hours) but a wonderful experience.
The rest of the morning we caught up on various things: washing clothes, blogging, business (for Pete), and having a bit of downtime. At some point, Pete realised we were on powered site, and exclaimed: “There it is” as he discovered the electrical socket! Truly, a day of discoveries!
Late afternoon at Pete’s urging, we drove east about 20kms to Kathleen Springs, which were once Aboriginal hunting grounds. The valley and spring drew in the game, and the Aboriginals wisely lived back from the waterhole, to encourage the game to come to drink. The valley was quite narrow, and it was said they speared the kangaroos as they fled through the narrow enclave. Later, a cattle station was set up, and water was pumped from the waterhole to the drinking troughs in order to maintain the purity of the spring. Sadly, there was quite a bit of conflict between the traditional owners and the stockmen. A delightful place in a lowkey, under-stated way, which should have an Indigenous name given its history.