AUSTRALIAN MODERATE HIKE
Day two of our Emu Run Outback tour started around 5am when we packed our swags, and went to a popular spot for watching sun rise over Kata Tjuta. It was really, really cold, and the sunrise was nice, but nothing spectacular. Save your energy for the hike ahead. The hike we did was the Valley of the Winds trail. Well deserved name by the way, as there are parts of the hike where you feel the wind will blow you away. And I am not that easy to blow away. The hike is definitely not moderate, as Emu Run's website suggested- this pamphlet later confirmed the difficulty of the hike. It was a 7.4 km hike (4.5 miles), rated Difficult, grade 4. It took us more than 4 hours and we did the full circle, mainly because no one could figure out how to get down from one very steep rock we just finished climbing. The most difficult part of the hike, other than always going up the hill, were loose pebbles and loose stones, as you were always wobbly risking spraining your ankle.
Once the hike was over, we went back to our camp ground to pack up our swags, and then headed out. On our way to the next camp site close to King's Canyon, we stopped to pick up branches for the bonfire we were supposed to have that night. As Jerome K. Jerome said in his book "Three Men in a Boat", "I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours." So, I stayed in the bus and watched others gather all the branches. It was wonderful.
This was one of the best meals we had. Everyone was tired after the Kata Tjuta hike, and in a good mood. We ate the kangaroo steak, and it was so delicious that we quickly forgot our moral dilemma (they are cute). We also learned how to make the famous Australian Damper bread - except we used beer. Then we buried the bread under the warm coal, and it was so wonderful. Afterwards we used sharp branches to toast marshmallows. Everyone helped out with food preparation and cleaning up. That not only made it possible for our guide to organize everything, but it also gave us something to do, as we had no internet connection (the horror!!)
That night we slept in actual tents (still in the same swags). Whether because we finally slept in tents and were not worried about the snakes, nor were we as cold as before, but that night we all slept like babies.