Checked on the trail up Ayer's Rock, but it's closed again. Ended up having a huge Brunch at the resort. Also wandered around some of the expensive shops, picked up the photos I'd dropped off last night, and called my mom for her birthday (had to call a few places, but finally tracked her down in a favorite restaurant.
Drove the forty kilometers to the nearby Keta Tjuta rock formations (the Olgas). Stopped for a mini hike to a viewing platform. The Olgas are impressive - about thirty rock mountains, some almost twice as high as Ayer's Rock. Still none match the sheer bulk or raw magic of Uluru. At the Olgas stopped at the main, central trail to look around. It was quite crowded and the short trail didn't interest me so we drove around to the northwest corner to the Valley of the Winds trail.
Even though lacking the monolithic grandure of Uluru Keta Tjuta is beautiful. The rounded mountains look like giant marbles separated by narrow winding canyons hiding surprising green growing places. The first half of the trail is constantly accending. Some of it was alongside a stream, some of it across huge tilted planes of rock, and some of it though the narrow canyons. After a partlcularly steep bit up through an impossiblly narrow and deep canyon we came over a crest and had the most spectacular view. The natural platform was seemingly suspended half way up the narrow canyon. Below the lower half of the canyon was filled with lush vegitation, while straight ahead the canyon walls framed theValley of the Winds and some more of the Olgas beyond. Sat for a bit to admire the view (and catch my breath), then worked down the steep trail and through the greenery into the valley. The hike back was through the valley, and back around one of Olgas that made one of the walls of the hidden garen canyon.
It was a fantastic hike. The only drawbacks were the relative crowds at the beginning and the tireless flies. The flies really were maddening and didn't seem to care that I had practically bathed in insect repellant.
The plan had been to drive back to Ayer's Rock to see if by some slight chance the climb had been opened, but there wasn't enough daylight left regardless. So then we were going to go to the Aboriginal Cultural Center, but by the time we got near it was closed. Out here in the mostly featureless landscape with only the twin giants of the Olgas and Uluru as landmarks - well, it's easy to underestimate distances.
Headed back to camp. Spent the evening cleaning up and just hanging out, then went into the resort village for dinner.