Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Australia: Outback (post 1)

Usually my blog is all about knitting, but that isn't the only thing I do in the wintertime here in Fairbanks. Sometimes I actually like to get out of this state, especially since we are now down to just a little over 5 hours of daylight and well below zero. All summer long, Mark and I (mostly Mark) have been planning a trip to Australia. Every fall, Mark (DH/ HighOhSilver) and I take a vacation away; away from the kids, away from work, away from Alaska, away from house construction, away from stress and committments and responsibility so that we can reconnect as a couple to strengthen our relationship and rid ourselves of any negativity that may interfer in a happy relationship. We take a vacation with the kids in the winter/Christmastime and then another short vacation just Mark and I in the spring as a jump-off from one of either of our work-travels. This year, we decided to go to Australia. May's calendar picture was the Great Barrier Reef and I causually mentioned wanting to see that sometime in my life and the vacation was born. Plan was 1) see the Outback, 2) See the Great Barrier Reef, and 3) take two weeks to do it. After months and months of planning, late October came and off we went. Since I have so many pictures, I will be breaking them up into several different posts. The first post is just a sample of our Outback pictures. We took over 700 pictures during our time in Australia, I wont bore you with all of them. Here are just a few starting in the Outback: We flew from Fairbanks, to Anchorage, to Seattle, to LA, to Sydney, to Alice Springs: the center of Australia, referred to as "the Outback".

We flew into Alice Springs, collected all of our luggage (thank you luggage-Gods, we received every piece we relinquished to you hours previous), rented the campervan, stopped at the grocery and LiquorLand to load up on supplies and immediately headed south to Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru.

{seriously, blogger is rough to work with, it wont let me place commentary where I want it, I apologize in advance for the lack of explanation on some of these pictures} above: the land was SO red in some places. I was so amazed at the redness that we pulled over just to take pictures. It is not called the red center for nothing below: we arrived at Uluru very late (dark) and set up camp for our first night in a plug-in site at Ayer's Rock Resort and woke up early 6am to see the rock at sunrise. Not realizing that 6am would be more than an hour after sunrise, we caught the rock mid-morning. Realize that 6am is not mid-morning for me.
Yes, Mark is catching a wave this morning. I like to call this picture: "Geologist Surf".
As they say, 'Geologists know what makes the bedrock", give a man his props!
So I dont exactly have that, "I'm ready for you to take the picture" smile on, but I still like this photo. It is difficult at best to approach someone with your camera and ask them to take a picture. Most people just act like you are invading their personal space just by walking by them. It was hard to find anyone friendly. I blame it on the lack of coffee available in the area. We found lots of Iced Coffee, which was just coffee flavored milk, but drip coffee is hard to find. Guess no oen likes hot coffee at 90F. Don't blame them much but I don't like coffee flavored milk much either. How about just plain iced coffee?
After Uluru, we headed back north heading to Kings Canyon. Needing to fuel, the next fuel stop had a bunch of kangaroos and camels. Hating camels because of a bad camel riding experience in Egypt, I seared clear of those vile creatures and stopped to feed the roos. This fella here decided he was hungry enough to care to nibble out of my bag of feed.
This guy only wanted to scratch himself...
After fuel and feed, we hopped back in the camper and made way to King's Canyon
There were three walks described: a casual walk at the base of the canyon 0.5kms, a stenuous hike around the upper lip of the canyon 6kms, or a full on all day 30kms trek. We discussed our options and decided on the 6 kilometer hike.
it started off with steps like.. yes, these are steps
a brief pause for photos
hello down there
this hike was one of my favorite activities of the entire trip. We were upset that for the first few days there were scattered sprinkles and it was only in the 80's. We wanted HOT! But after the first afternoon of hot, we realized how grateful we should have been that it was only in the 80's because it would have made this hike impossible to accomplish
after the hike we tried to drive into the West MacDonnell mountain range, but running into soft, lofty, red dirt on the road only making 50km/h, we realized we wouldn't make it to the next campsite on the path, so we sorrowly pulled back to the King's Canyon Resort campsite.
and we were so grateful that we did. Everyone before dinner headed to the viewing area and watched the sun set and the view of Kings Canyon to darken to a golden burgundy. A gorgeous view before dinner.
Day 3: drove through the MacDonnel's in the morning, hit Alice Springs by mid afternoon and continued North to Tennant Creek. Along the way we noticed this pullout. I figured it was picture worthy, since it isn't every day that I cross over the Tropic of Capricorn.
Once the heat of midday broke, we realized we would be hitting Devil's Marbles with perfect timing. An hour or so before sunset, we could run around and not be dying. {note: this Alaskan girl does not handle much above 90F. Day3 's mercury hit 35C, which is about 93F}
Here is Mark pushing this marble back into place...
Just a drive off the road
can you imagine how nervous I was that these two rocks might decided to meet?
Ah, making camp at Tennant Creek. And our first of many Red Rooster chicken sandwiches.
Day 4: Tennant Creek to Julia Creek. This was a refreshing repreive. I still miss all the Ginger Beers, our Ginger Ale is not the same. Australian's don't know how good they have it!
Our first sighting of a wild emu. They aren't exceptionally attractive birds, but they do make good sausage.
Day 5: Julia Creek to Cairns: Welcome to Queensland
When your husband says, "honey, I found a shortcut" act like you don't hear him. Seriously, listen up: ACT LIKE YOU DON'T HERE HIM
A word of advide: When an Australian map says Development Road. They mean: a road UNdeveloped. Our shortcuts lead us on these undevelopments.
First there was the Kennedy Undevelopment Road, which lead to great views, one blown tire, in places lofty sand almost a foot thick, no other automobiles, lots of cattle, and five hours of solitary driving.
Secondly we hit the Gregory Undevelopment Road, which unlike the first was paved. But only one center lane was paved. There were Road Trains, which if you don't know what those are, let me fill you in. Road Trains are semi-trucks with not one trailer, not two trailers, sometimes not even three trailers, but as many as four trailers, going 110km/hr (70mph) coming at you as you are diving on the same one lane at 110km/h. It was fun. I wasn't brave enough to take a picture when we saw them coming. We just pulled off the road, as gently as one can do at that speed and let them pass. Fortuneately, Australians are smart enough to stay off those roads and stick to the more developed motorways.
as to make this posting manageable, I will post on the rest of the vacation in another post.


Holly Jo said...

Un-freaking-believable. Photos are beautiful. The pictures LOOK hot. The red, the kangaroos, all of it. Can't wait to see more.

Aligning photos anything but center on blogger SUCKS.

Kat Fyten said...

Great photos, Krista and enjoyed your commentary. Looks like you found some of the best reds, oranges and all the hues in between. I remember hearing something about those Road trains. Guess they must drink more tea than coffee down there.
I REALLY can't wait to see more photos!