Ayrers Rock

Day 9, Wednesday, 1/15/03
Today, we climbed Uluru! Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it is also known, was awesome. Its just this huge rock some 300 meters high and six kilometers in circumference (Im estimating on the exact number). The aboriginal people dont want people to climb it because it is a scared place, but according to our bushtucker guide from a few days ago, every major physical landscape is a dreaming, or sacred place. The people also accept $700,000 a year to let people climb it then they tell people not to climb it. We climbed it because it really is the ultimate way to experience it.

We all got up early and had to be by the bus at 5:00 AM. We drove out to Uluru and had breakfast and watched the sunrise. It changes to a different shades of red- brown. We were all itching to start climbing.

Id say probably half the people climbed the rock and the others walked around the base in a walk that took them 2 - 3 hours. We started the climb at 6:40, so they couldnt close it. They only close for heat after 8:00. None of us really had any idea of what we were in for. The first part of the climb is really steep rock, then you get even steeper and they put a chain to hold on to. We all kept climbing, using the chain to hold on to. We all kept climbing, thinking the end of the chain was the top. We were so wrong. When you finally get to the top of the chain, youre probably 1/3 of the way.

It got so windy when we got higher that I almost lost my hat. It flew off my head but I managed to snag it and buckle it onto my belt loop. I unfortunately forgot a hair band and my hair was flying all over my face.

Next came steep rock ridges with crater like holes beneath them. We all said we felt like we were on the moon, of course, we wouldnt have felt like you were going to blow off with a big gust of wind.

We were walking/climbing with Michelle, Roy and Alyssa. We all thought the wind would die down if we just kept moving further. Yeah. We were definitely wrong about that one.

Next came running up and down the hills and valleys of the rocks. Michelle and I felt like Spiderman with our bodies close to the rock and our arms and legs spread out.

Finally, we reached the top. The view was spectacular. You could see Kata Tjuta, where we climbed yesterday. You could see for miles, but your couldnt see the base of the rock. We all yelled and took tons of pictures. People were calling other people back home just to tell them that they were standing on the top of Ayers Rock. It was awesome. It felt like such an amazing accomplishment. We stood up at the top for quite a while, unwilling to surrender the view that we had all just worked so hard for. Plus, we were a little worried about the climb back down. Bill stopped to take a picture and his hat went flying. It was his favorite white Yankees cap. We all felt bad for him, but then just posed for the photo. Then, all of a sudden. Jim comes running back. He had chased the hat down two craters away. He was a hero.

The walk down turned out not to be that bad, but I guess Ill really find out tomorrow if I am sore. We went to a couple places around the base and then went to the bus, where we replenished ourselves with water and orange wedges.

Next was the cultural center while some people went on Harley rides around the base of the rock. The center was ok, but nothing can really be that good after the climb. (They closed it down at 8:00 b/c of the heat).

Cory and I stopped at the shopping center to get some money and mail postcards. We looked around there for a while, then came back to our jail cell of a room and headed to the pool for our free afternoon.

At 6:30, we all got on the bus to go back out to Uluru for a champagne sunset. Paul, Scotty and Kenny jumped on the bus singing and dancing to I would walk 500 miles. Its Kennys theme song on this trip because it is sung by Scotsmen. Well, on this particular time, Kenny was decked out in full regalia Kilt, socks and all. They all danced down the aisle while we hooted and cheered. The atmosphere continued to be festive with the gum tree song, the Australian bloke song, and Sweet Home Alabama. By the time we got out to the sunset viewing area, we were all in a great mood. Paul and Scotty set up the champagne and nibblies while we all took pictures of each other and the rock. Kenny was the most popular guy around as everyone wanted a picture with the kilted Scotsman. He even answered the age-old question about whats under the Kilt...nothing! He gave quite a show and the old people from the other coaches loved it. We all drank the champagne and ate Pringles and cheese and meats. The drink went right to everyones head and I was no exception. I dont think that many people paid all that good of attention to the actual sunset.

We all headed back on the bus and they cranked the music and everyone got up and started dancing in the aisles while Scotty did donuts in the parking lot. We had a great ride back to the hotel and then we headed to the bar where we completely took it over. Before we got there, it was calm and people were pleasantly eating dinner and listening to a guitarist. After we got there, the music got louder, we started singing and dancing along. He played the gum tree song and we all did the movements. The old ladies had their cameras out and were taking pictures of the Contiki group. They loved it. They were laughing and cheering. Kenny got up on the stage and danced to the 500 miles song. He leaned over lifted his kilt and showed the whole bar his bum. After dancing for quite a bit more, a bunch of people went to a second bar, because the one we were at stopped serving. I had drank plenty by that time, so I went to bed and Cory did laundry. He borrowed change from Naniek and she pulled it out of her bra. Later she said she forgot about having it in there and when she took her bra off to go to bed, the change went flying everywhere.

People climbing Uluru (Ayers Rock)

On our way up Ayers Rock

We made it to the top


Next cover for the Contiki brochure

The girls at Uluru

the boys at Uluru

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