For the second time in a week, we experienced rain in the ‘dry’ season. Last time we had rain, the day following was beautiful and clear. I was hoping there was a trend.
Nup. I woke around 6:30 and could see a faint glow in the sky where the sun was trying to break through the clouds. I decided to get up and give a sunrise photo a chance. Not much was happening, so I gave up and started to practise time lapse for sunrise/sunset (tricky to get the exposure right for the changing light – sadly, I failed once again). There was a little colour in the clouds, then the light started to light up the face of the rocks and I got a little bit excited. But, as soon as it started, it went back under clouds and it was over… I could imagine what it would have been like on a clear morning, and will have to settle for that.
The rough road from the drive in yesterday was still fresh in my mind, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. 25,000m of corrugations. It’s so abrasive, loud, harsh and physically tiring. I feel like I’m abusing Deli-chan. By the end of it, my hands were tingling from the vibrations.
Made it to the highway, headed south for 10km and paid $5 for a shower at a fuel station. Worth it. Even though the cool temperatures have been helping to keep us fresh, still feels great to have a shower and a shave.
A little further south was a ‘short cut’ across to Chamber’s Pillar. We’ve had bad luck in the past with the short cuts, proving to only be shorter in distance, not time. But, for once, this 70km of unsealed road was in decent condition, far better than the trail to Rainbow Valley. In places the view was spectacular. I wanted to get out of the car and sing Nants Ingonyama (the song at the start of Lion King). Since we have to drive back this way tomorrow, I didn’t photograph any of it (hoping for better weather on the return leg).
Where our short cut joined the main road south from Alice, the corrugations and rocky sections got worse until we got to the community of Maryvale. …then they got even worse when we took the turn off to Chambers Pillar. This 43km stretch of road has the prestigious title of ‘worst road yet’. It was 90 minutes of panel/bone shaking frustration. Sure, at some points the area we were driving through was spectacular, but it didn’t make up for it. I was ready to turn the car around and head back for bitumen like a defeated man. It was a 150km detour over rough roads to get here, so there was high pressure for it to be worth it.
With about 10km to go, we crossed a small range. From the top of the range we got our first glimpse of the pillar, and all the other mesas in the area. Beautiful!
Is that it? I knew it wasn’t very large (about 50m vertical), but I wasn’t quite prepared for how small it was going to look. I think it was a combination of fatigue and average weather, but I felt a little cheated. A friend was insistent that we visited, big claims like ‘it was better than Uluru’ helped me push through the driving. With the roads as they are, I’d have a hard time recommending someone making the drive out here. To be honest, the main attraction isn’t the most amazing sight. I think the park as a whole, with the desert and the other mesas make this whole area worth visiting.
Pioneer graffiti. There is a staircase to get up close to the pillar, and point of interest is the names that have been carved in to it by some of the early pioneers of the area (some 140 years ago). There was also plenty of other less notable visitors (mostly from the 50s-70s) who left their mark.
The campground is basic, but in an amazing location. From our rear window we can see the pillar (hoping for sunrise) and from the front we can see some of the other mesas. And we have it all to ourselves!
４３日目 ６月２５日（火） Chamber’s Pillar(チェンバーズ ピラー)
今日は、またあのガタガタ道を戻り、少しの間舗装された道路を走り、また未舗装の道路を走る。 目指すは、友達の友達がエアーズロックよりも感動したので絶対行かなきゃダメだとごり押しされた、Chamber’s Pillar へ。
到着したころには、２人ともかなり道路にやられ不機嫌。こんなに来るのが大変なのだから、かなりすごいものじゃないとねと期待していたけど、、、昨日のRainbow Valleyを見てなかったり、他のものをみてなかったら感動するだろう中々すばらしいものだけど、かなり期待していた反面思ったより、かなり小さくちょっとがっかり。 運転の大変さを考えると他の人にはお勧めはできません。
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