Ayres Rock, or Uluru, in the Northern Territory of Australia

Written By: Gary Wonning

Uluru (Ayres Rock) is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands 1,142 feet high,2,831 ft above sea level, with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures almost 6 miles in circumference. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) have great cultural significance for the Traditional landowners, who lead walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the dream time stories of the area.

As the bus rumbled to a stop at the base of the giant monolith, my intuition was telling me to leave my camera gear in the bus. I had come all this way, I wasn’t going up that rock without my camera, I wanted some photos. My guides did everything possible to keep me from taking my gear, but I took it anyway.

Although the local Aborigines discourage climbing “The Rock”, many still do. For those that do, the view at the top is well worth the long climb. For those that climb, the only assistance available is a waist high chain to grab on to as one makes his way up the sometimes almost vertical path.

It was an extremely difficult climb, my right shoulder wasn’t entirely healed from the motorcycle accident, I had little strength in my right arm, as a result I needed to stop and rest every few feet.

Climbing to the top, the view is spectacular. Making one’s way across the rim, the view is breathtaking, not only in the distance but also on the rock itself.

At the top of this giant monolith, can be seen several pits and circles that were carved from the rock itself that must have been used for some ancient ceremony.

I found the pit, Hilda, my psychic had told me about the previous autumn. I lay down in it and tried to meditate, but there was too much activity surrounding me to continue. However, knowing how the universe works, I probably accomplished what I needed to. Sometimes we just need to touch base with the past.

I did take several photos while there, however, when I returned home and developed the slides, every one of them was completely black. Should have listened to my gut.

One of Uluru’s most unique features is that it appears to change color as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year, sunset is a particularly remarkable sight when it briefly glows red. Although rainfall is uncommon in this semi-arid area, during wet periods the rock acquires a silvery-gray color, with streaks of black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels for water flow.

Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of Uluru at dawn and dusk.

As we watched the glow of Ayres Rock fade into the sunset, it was time to find our campground only a short distance away. It was well after dark when we arrived and set up camp for the evening, soon steaks were grilling on the campfire.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

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