It was the last day of my outback trip. I couldn’t wait for the day to be over as I dreadfully started a hike at Kings Canyon at 5-ish am with my tour group.
I didn’t want to hike, especially since I dehydrated while hiking Kata Tjuta, lost my pictures on my iPod while charging it on the Uluru campground and slept on the ground with deadly snakes during the trip. Sure, it was out my comfort zone but I hated it. I wanted to shower without bugs getting in my way. I wanted to stay inside of an air-conditioned room. I wanted to not eat whatever the tour guide had for us for lunch (wraps for a vegetarian again you say with the left over veggies from last night or the night before? Delicious!). I wanted to properly sleep and get the hell away from the people I’ve been traveling with for 6 days. I wanted WiFi. For the love of God, I wanted WiFi.
Kings Canyon wasn’t an easy hike, not for me anyway. I’m out of shape. I eat a lot of cheese. I was not prepared for this. A couple of days prior, I hiked Kata Tjuta and I found that to be hard. The extreme dangerous heat didn’t help.
But Kings Canyon was harder. Well, the beginning of the hike was hard as it involved a steep climb.
I decided to carry my backpack with two water bottles this time since I didn’t want a repeat of dehydration. Only climbing those steep steps was hard and climbing them with my backpack (which still weighs a ton even if there’s nothing in it) was harder. I was quickly out of breath, huffing and puffing while everyone passed me.
“Are you ok?” A 19-year-old German kid on my tour asked me. Normally I would play it off cool and try to be tough and say that I was OK. But I was not OK. I was far from OK. I didn’t want to do this damn hike. I didn’t want all of these mosquito bites. I wanted to turn back and head to the tour bus and just sit there like an old lady while everyone else did the hike.
“It’s too heavy,” I said to the German kid between breaths. “My backpack is too heavy.”
I think everyone on the tour was a bit concerned about me – whether they asked me if I was OK or just gave me looks. This was probably because I just sat inside of the hot tour bus on the Uluru campground three days prior in tears after I’d gotten sick that day. And our tour guide wasn’t the best guide.
The sweet German kid volunteered to carry my backpack up the steps but I still struggled on my way to the top.
After the hard part, we continued our walk, we saw a kangaroo on the way hopping about, and our tour guide warned us not to go near the edge of the cliffs as they weren’t steady.
Though the scenery was beautiful, I didn’t seem to care. Perhaps I was just in a bad mood or I was possibly on one the worst trips I’ve gone on, or suffered from travel burnout or really just wanted to get out of the heat. In that moment, I didn’t care. I was thankful this time our tour guide was leading us, and I managed to take a few pictures and just followed my group.
I was just going through the motions, not really enjoying what I was seeing – but just seeing it. I realized this when a girl in our group asked if I was enjoying it.
“Meh, it’s OK.” I said.
“Just OK?” She said. “It’s the most beautiful walk I’ve ever done.”
Perhaps I was doing something wrong or something was wrong with me, but I didn’t feel like it was the most beautiful walk.
There you have it, my brief encounter with Kings Canyon. Have you ever been? What was your impression?