Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Friday, May 12, 2006

The next morning we woke up bright and early (about 5am), well before sunrise. We then stumbled into the table with swag and sleeping bags in hand. We then had our required cup of coffee to get started, and were soon in the van to Uluru. Diesel was telling us that on our tour we were supposed to choose as a group to do either sunrise + base walk, or no sunrise + full base walk. Diesel thought that was crap, so he let us do all of the above, it just meant we were up earlier, and had to walk faster. It was surely worth it!

When we first arrived at sunrise, the first thing we saw... TOURISTS! They were all over the place, swarming a 0.5k plot of road. Diesel kept driving past the crowd, and dropped us off for THE best spot. It was the very spot used on one of my travel guides (as the cover) because it was right next to a kangaroo crossing sign. It was amazing to see the gigantic rock change colors in front of us. Just looking back at pictures 5 minutes prior were completely different!

We then went back to the van, and did a full loop around Uluru, having Diesel point out the highlights. Then he dropped us off and said, "Start walking"! The first thing I noticed about Uluru up close, is how much wear it has taken from the elements. Almost every natural erosion pattern was visible on one side.

As I continued along, I found a smaller rock to the left. (Uluru on my right) At the top, I saw an aboriginal sitting at a campfire, observing Uluru at sunrise. I almost gave him a wave, but thought it might be a bit 'touristy' in such a sacred place. All over this area, there are signs asking that photos not be taken of certain sights. It was very tempting, since they were some of the most amazing places, but I give heaps of respect to these people. The short explanation of why aboriginals allow photos to be taken, and people to climb Uluru is simple. When white man came along, they immediately kicked the aboriginals off their land, not allowing them back until the 70's!!! Until then, Australian government definition put aboriginals in the Flora and Fauna act. Basically classifying them as animals. When they did get their land back, they didn't want to make the same mistake we did, and forbid others from the rock. I find it amazing that after having white man be so horrible to them, they still respected them enough to allow them these privileges. The aboriginals even constructed the chain that runs from the base to the peak for people's safety when hiking up the rock. They could remove that chain and close the rock to climbers tomorrow. But they don't because they want people to understand and respect their culture by not taking photos of certain areas, or climbing the rock.

As I was passing the rock on the left w/ the aboriginal at the top, the sun hit the rock at another angle. It turns out that the man and the campfire were 'only' outlines of rocks. This helped me to understand why that area was so sacred.

Since the rest of what I'll say will not do this place justice, I'll let you look through the pictures. Also, a tid bit of information about Uluru; it's the biggest single rock on the planet. It is one solid piece, and though it has some cracks, it remains unbroken and solid. 9km circumference, 350m tall.
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