Saturday 1 March 2014 94 °F
Hello, today was my family and my full day in the Ayer's Rock area, the majority of which we spent battling intense heat and relentless flies.
When we stepped out of hotel room, the heat of the surrounding desert immediately came upon us, despite it being mid morning still. I saw this cool stick bug on the wall of the hotel (outside, thankfully):
The main excursion of the day was traveling to the Kata Tjuta Rocks before the worst of the heat at noontime. These "rocks," more like sheer mountain cliffs, are equally majestic as Ayers Rock in my opinion. Immediately as we stepped out of the car at a distant roadside lookout, which was the only one in the car-park at that time, a flock of CRESTED PIGEONS immediately came waddling to the car from out of the surrounding desert. We discovered that they relished taking refuge in the shade of the car. Here is a photo of one:
Here is the view of the Kata Tjuta Rocks from the distant lookout:
Our second and last stop for the Kata Tjuta Rocks was at a hike. It was a relatively short walk compared to other hikes I've completed, but it was one of the most strenuous because of the heat 90+ temps at that time, not to mention that the bugs which were constantly swarming us. The only person who thoroughly enjoyed the hike was our "vacation slave-driver" :-) my mom, and to be honest the views at the end of the hike were quite nice:
We had lunch on the drive back to our hotel and the rest of the afternoon was devoted to napping, homeschooling, and swimming in the hotel pool.
After a nice dinner, our family and I drove to the "sunset lookout" for Ayers Rock.
Along the way I spotted a number of BLACK KITES flying alongside the highway, including this one:
Ayers Rock at sunset was truly remarkable, with the colors of the rock ranging from brilliant orange-reds to rich russet browns and deep shades of brown-gray.
Since it was around bedtime for my little sister Pearl, she changed into her PJs in the car at that time. We all stayed in the car for the most part because of the relentless flies, and the sunset was equally remarkable from the car anyway. What I didn't know is that she had mischievously put her underpants in my hat. When I got out of the car to snap photos of the rock with my hat on, I had know idea that my sister's underwear was in my hat. I snapped the photos below and when I was walking back to the car, the underpants fell out! I could see the rest of my family erupt into laughter and I laughed also, but cried on the inside! :-)
Here are the photos of Ayers Rock at sunset. This progression of photos shows how the rock looked when the sun was at different stages off emerging from a passing cloud. This change in colors from the first to the last photos was witnessed in under two minutes.
On the way back to the hotel I snapped this photo of the distant silhouettes of the Kata Tjuta Rocks with a backdrop of the desert sunset:
Today was a third consecutive day of slightly lower morale for my family and I because of the intense heat and irritating flies. Today was our hottest day of the trip so far with temperatures topping out at 94 degrees and clear to partly cloudy skies.
Bird-of-the-day to the only lifer today, a solitary FORK-TAILED SWIFT that flew over while I was swimming in the pool.
Stay tuned for a hopefully better day tomorrow because we fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia.
World Life List: 608 Species (1 new life bird today)