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Hoover Dam

NEVADA - PART II

sunny 70 °F

With our time in Sin City over, Megan and I headed along the highway out of Las Vegas towards Arizona. The flat Las Vegas landscape gave way to sharp, brown hills surrounding the city. The was little vegetation, the ground mostly made up of exposed, sandy dirt. The dry landscape was a stark contrast to the largest man made lake in the United States lurking on the horizon, Lake Mead.

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The road took us along the western edge of the Mojave Desert. You are blinded to the fact that Vegas is located in the middle of a desert when you are on the strip, but leaving the bright lights of the city, the desert stretches as far as the eye can see.

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The desert was not our reason for leaving Vegas. 45 minutes down the road, we pulled up to our first stop, the Hoover Dam!

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The dam is humongous, but most of its size is hidden from you. The dam is almost as thick as it is tall, over 2 football fields thick at its base. The dam doesn't go straight across the canyon, but instead curves into the lake to help support against the weight of the held water.

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The water stored in Lake Mead is used by Nevada, Arizona, and California. The dam provides electricity to even more states. You can walk across the damn and peer down both sides of it. In fact, the highway used to run across the dam until just a few years ago! As impressive as the dam was from the outside, I had to get my engineer on and see the dam from the inside.

Megan and I purchased our dam tickets to go on a dam tour, and the park ranger promised we'd have a dam good time. We got in the elevator at the visitor center and went straight down to the bottom of the dam. Our first stop was to see the massive 50ft tunnels cut into the walls of the canyon that feed water through the generators.

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It is a little hard to see, but there is a massive pipe in the background. This pipe went directly underneath our feet. The force of so much water running through the pipe caused the entire room to vibrate, and the air was filled with a humming sound. Our guide talked about how the dam functioned, 4 intake tubes take the water from the lake, split it between the turbines, and then releases the water out the bottom of the dam. We went back to the elevator, went up 1 stop, and then proceeded to the generator room.

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You can see the Nevada side of the Hoover dam (the damn is located half in Nevada, and half in Arizona). The windows on the left allow daylight to come in at the bottom of dam, while the wall to the right is made up of hundreds of feet of concrete. The dam looked pretty fancy on the inside, several artistic designs and granite chips making up the floors. We were ushered back through the rock walkway, and back into the elevator to go back up to the top of the dam.

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A lot of engineering had to be put into the construction of the dam. For instance, they couldn't just pour the entire slab of concrete at once. It would take over 125 years for the heat to dissipate from the curing concrete, and the resulting stresses would leave the dam cracked and unusable. Instead, they poured the walls a few inches at a time and cooled each block of concrete with refrigerated water. The pipes used by the dam were too big to transport, so they had to build the steel factory on site to make the pipes. The water had to be diverted around the construction site, so tunnels had to be created through the walls of the canyon. It was pretty impressive.

We went up to the observation deck and got some of the best views of the canyon. Megan was a little nervous leaning over the railing (look how tightly she is holding onto the railing). I was able to get her close enough to the side of the wall to get one picture. You can see the Hoover Dam bypass where the cars now travel. Looking below you can also see the state line painted on the dam marking the division between Nevada and Arizona.

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We walked to the back of the dam to see Lake Mead up close. The water level was not close to the top (the lake can be 660 feet deep), but the water does rise close to the top of the dam during the spring melt (the water can only get to 4 feet from top before water is diverted around the dam). You can see the intake towers in the background.

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After walking across the dam, we turned around went back to the car. Our destination for the night was Flagstaff, Arizona.

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It was all uphill to Flagstaff, which sits at an elevation close to 7,000 feet above sea level (5,000 ft higher than Las Vegas). Snow was scattered across the ground, and there was a distinct chill in the air. The area wasn't really mountainous, but the highest peaks in Arizona are located in Flagstaff. We arrived in early evening, and since we had run out of daylight, we decided to go to a place best visited at night time—Lowell Observatory.

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The observatory is located on top of a hill overlooking Flagstaff and presented a nice view.

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Lowell Observatory is part museum, part research facility, and part hands on. They have some gigantic telescopes scattered across their campus, and they let you go into the different observatories to see them.

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The Lowell Observatory is best known for first discovering Pluto, so it was a hit to their ego when Pluto was demoted to non-planet status. Percival Lowell also spent a large portion of his career studying Mars. He theorized that Mars had series of canals which could be used to prove that live once existed on Mars.

The observatory had setup the telescopes so we could see star clusters, nebulae, and other astral bodies. The didn't just show them to you, but the astronomers talked about what exactly you were looking at and why it was unique. They were very eager to answer questions, and you tell the were enthusiastic about looking into the sky. After walking between the various telescopes we made our way back to the car and back into the city for dinner. We needed to get some rest, tomorrow we hike into the Grand Canyon!

Posted by Mike.Flynn 14:28 Archived in USA Tagged desert museum tour Comments (0)

Vegas Baby, Vegas!

STATE 11 - NEVADA

sunny 70 °F

I'm gonna be rich! I'm gonna be famous! I'm gonna have the time of my life, I'm going to Vegas!

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Frank Sinatra once said "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." What does that have to do with my trip to Vegas? Nothing directly, I guess. But I feel the only way to start to start talking about Vegas is to quote Frank Sinatra. Megan convinced me to start a western road trip in Sin City, so I got out my finest suit, polished my fanciest shoes, and prepared to accept a bunch of free drinks while throwing money away.

Our flight landed just as night began to fall over Las Vegas, so Megan and I quickly dropped off our bags and headed to the strip. I have never been to Las Vegas, but I thought I was prepared for all the lights, crowds, and gambling. I had seen the movies. My friends can get pretty crazy. But the extravagance and overindulgence was beyond my expectations. Arriving on the strip, you can't help but look at the enormous hotels and casinos piled on top of each other. Each is fighting for your attention by trying to be the biggest, brightest, or most richly decorated. 19 of the 25 largest hotels in the world are located here. Looking one direction, the spotlight of the Luxor loomed overhead. In the other direction, neon lights, thousands of people walking up and down the street, and the potential for an amazing night laid ahead.

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I didn't take a picture of every casino, I'm sure you can find professional photos of every casino in Las Vegas online. I will highlight some of my favorites though. We started to walk from the southern end of the strip northward. We walked past the Luxor (a pyramid with a light emitting from the top) and the New York New York (looks like a city skyline), two of the cooler looking casinos.

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As we crossed the street, I had my first experience with another famed Las Vegas tradition—prostitution. Now, there are no girls walking the streets, but some of the greasiest, grungiest guys you have ever seen are there in their place.

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So instead of actually seeing the product before you buy, rough looking guys stand on every street corner and try to hand you cards with a girl's picture on it. The approach doesn't quite seem logical to me. A middle-aged man, wearing a neon colored t-shirt, who doesn't even look like he speaks English, is supposed to attract me to call his service? These guys have a strategy though. They constantly slap the stack of cards they hand out on their wrists, I guess so you say to yourself, "What is that sound? It sounds enticing, perhaps I should take this dirty little card that is being shoved in my face and seriously consider buying sex from this man". The only people grabbing these cards were a couple of thirteen year old boys ogling the almost nude pictures of girls, while everyone else seemingly turned their noses up in disgust. However, I did start to notice people subtly grab the cards as they walked by, kind of like how the drug swap happens on TV crime dramas. I guess the strategy works for the intended market.

I was going to make a joke about how I even saw Megan subtly take a couple of the cards, but then thought better of it. I can feel her glaring at me before she even reads this. So let me say this plainly, Megan never took ANY of the cards.

...that I saw.

So anyways, as we walked down the strip, each hotel and casino seemed to be just as extravagant as the last. We passed the MGM Grande and the Cosmopolitan and arrived at one of the most famous spots in Las Vegas, the fountain in front of the Bellagio.

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Every 15 minutes geysers, fountains, and lights shoot up from the lake synchronized to music. It was mesmerizing. The water doesn't just shoot straight up, but in every direction. The show we watched started by creating a fog over the whole lake and then did a real dramatic, rapid firing sequence. Here is a video of another show (filmed by someone else).

We continued moving up the strip, but there is no direct path. For one, as I already mentioned, you have to sidestep dirty old men handing out prostitution advertisements. You also have to crisscross over the road every other block. I assume the crosswalks were built to keep people out of the intersections, but the casinos use this to force you inside the extravagant shopping complexes they have built around the casinos. In one such case, Megan and I decided to take a detour through the hotel and casino. Unsurprisingly, we got lost.

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Luckily we got lost in Caesar's Palace, which was fabulously designed on the inside (the whole place seemed covered in marble). Megan posed in front of one of the fountains for a picture, we meandered through zigzagging corridor of shops, but never really being sure how far we had walked or what time it actually was. Even though it was night time outside, the inside of the mall was painted to look like twilight. Fake clouds were painted on the round ceiling, all the shops decorated to make it look like we were outside, and each section of hallway was only about 50 yards long before it angled away out of sight. Eventually I broke down and consulted a map, and we were able to find our way outside. On our way out, we looked around a collectibles store filled with celebrity owned guitars and clothing, but the coolest object was sitting right out in front.

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Caesar's palace was even more impressive from the outside.

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We passed about some other incredible hotels. The Paris hotel has a replica of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe out in front, and is one of the brightest spots on the strip at night. The Venetian is also one of the most extravagantly decorated hotels as well. It has canals circling the hotel replicating the canals of Venice. Both were spectacular.

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It was nearing one in the morning, which was really 4am Raleigh time. We had walked a large portion of the strip, and it was time to head back to our hotel and get some sleep. We were staying in an area called the South Strip, but honestly, our hotel looked like the only one in the area. We were staying at the Southpoint Hotel, which was humongous as well, but didn't have any grandiose outside theme.

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The hotel did have a very comfortable bed, which was more important to me than decorations at the time.

The next morning we took the shuttle back to the strip. We purchased discount tickets to V: The Variety Show. The discounted tickets had to be redeemed in person, so we had to walk all the way back down the strip to the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino. We took our time and went into some of the casinos that we didn't go into the night before. Around lunch time, we took a detour and headed off the strip to eat lunch at the largest buffet in the world—the Carnival World Buffet. I convinced Megan to walk there so that we could get some exercise before we gorged ourselves. Approaching Rio (the casino where the buffet was located), I saw a giant ad for Chippendales, and became suddenly skeptical of Megan's interest in this particular buffet. Upon arriving at the casino (and much to my relief), a scantily clad female walked past delivering drinks, and not a single bare-chested man was in sight.

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The buffet was enormous, it reminded me of the new Golden Corral back home in Raleigh. Mexican, sushi, Italian, Chinese, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, it was all there and more (for $30 a plate, they better have just about everything). The food was very nice, and I tried to only get a tiny bit of everything to save room for repeat trips.

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Here is where the "overindulgence" part of Vegas is personified. Megan and I made several trips, but I think we did a good job restraining ourselves from eating too much. That wasn't the case for most of the other people in the restaurant. People had plates and plates of food, stuffing as much as they could into their mouths. We took our time eating, so we were there for a decent amount of time. The people sitting on either side of us had looked like they had been there a while when we arrived, and they were still going strong when we left. Only in Vegas can you convince yourself that it is OK to overindulge continuously on your whole trip.

Feeling quite full, our walk back to the strip took a little longer after lunch. Thankfully Planet Hollywood and the Miracle Mile shops were just a couple blocks away. Just like the other hotels, Planet Hollywood is gigantic. It is so large that the ring of shops circling underneath the hotel forms a loop 1.5 miles long, hence the name Miracle Mile. Of course the Theater we were heading to was in the very back, which required walking past the shops that circled the casino in the center. Just like Caesar's Palace, clouds are painted on the ceiling to make it feel like you are outside, and the row of shops curves away so you never see more than 10 or 15 shops at a time. After going to 3 different theaters, we finally found the V Theater.

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After picking up our show tickets for that evening, we made our way back outside. Having already walked the length of the strip twice in 24 hours, and having walked off the strip for lunch, we decided to take a break. I noticed Megan had been eyeballing the "yard of margarita" glasses that people had been carrying around the mall, so we stopped at a bar that specialized in the tall drinks. In true Megan fashion, she had the bartender mix mango and strawberry flavored daiquiri in alternating layers. The afternoon beer special was $2 anything, so I was happy to stay there as long as it took her to finish her drink. We found a nice spot in the shade overlooking the strip to people watch. In fact, we got so comfortable, we stayed there all afternoon, almost right up until the time for the show. We rushed back to the theater, were some of the last people in, but still got the best seats in the house (not sure how that worked out).

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V: The Variety Show is just as is it sounds, a variety of acts including juggling, contortion, acrobatics, and multiple comedy acts. Each act was about 10 minutes long, and they were all excellent. Half way through the show, I was already glad we didn't shell out $100 a piece to see Ray Romano and had picked this show instead. The host of the show is Fast Wally Eastwood, the self proclaimed fastest juggler in the world. Juggling doesn't sound too exciting, but he was able to jazz it up with a lot of humor and was actually very entertaining. His final act, playing the piano with juggling balls, was the perfect finale to the show. Here is a clip of Fast Wally doing his juggling routines.

We left the show, and still feeling a little full from lunch, we decided to walk around a few more of the casinos. Off in the distance, the Stratosphere towered the horizon in the distance. I was intrigued to go up to the top, and potentially convince Megan to do one of the rides. Taxis can only stop in front of hotels on the strip, and the taxi line was at least 200 people deep. The tower only looked a few blocks away, so we decided to walk.

Here is where I made my mistake. In Raleigh, if you can see a building, it is usually safe to assume you can walk there. The trees and hills block line of sight to any structure not in the immediate vicinity. However, as I was to learn on this trip out west, that rule does not apply in the open west. While the Stratosphere did only look a couple blocks away, it is the 5th tallest building in the US, and is visible from most of Las Vegas and always looks like it is right around the corner. I realized this mistake halfway there as the Stratosphere never seemed to get any closer. And of course, we were in no man's land as far as cabs were concerned, so we had no choice but to keep walking. At this halfway point, here is a picture looking back at the end of the strip, and how far we still have to go to get to the Stratosphere (see how close it looks, this was only half way!).

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After finally reaching the Stratosphere, we had walked over 3 miles. However, it did make us appreciate the view from the top all that much more.

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When we got to the top, there were 5 guys waiting to jump off. The Stratosphere allows you to pay $100, strap yourself to a steel cable, and then launch yourself from the top of the building. I love adrenaline rushes, but even this was too much for me. Like I said, the Stratosphere is really tall, the 5th tallest building in the US. Megan wouldn't even look over the edge without holding onto one of the support columns.

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We watched the guys jump off the platform, grabbed a couple bottles of water, and sat on one of the couches in the viewing deck. We still hadn't eaten dinner or even gambled yet, but we were both exhausted. We didn't even think about walking back to the strip, we waited in the taxi line and went straight back to our hotel. We got a couple pizzas, tried to stay up through a late night movie, but eventually both passed out.

The next morning, before checking out of the hotel, Megan had one last craving to indulge—the ability to use the bathroom and talk on the phone at the same time.

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For some reason, there was a phone directly next to the crapper. I guess it's there in case you really don't want to wait to order room service. Only in Vegas. A little disappointed we didn't waste any money gambling, Megan took a single dollar, inserted it into the slots, and played until there was no more left. Our time in Vegas was over, but our western road trip was just beginning.

Posted by Mike.Flynn 15:00 Archived in USA Tagged desert leisure Comments (0)

Welcome to The Rock

sunny 110 °F

We arrived in Alice Springs, stepped off the plane, and immediately were hit by the hot, dry air of the desert. It was broiling outside. I picked up the rental car (making sure it had air conditioning) and we hit the road. We'd be coming back to Alice Springs in a couple days, but we wanted to make Uluru (Ayers Rock) before sunset.

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After a quick stop to load up on groceries, we headed down the only highway leaving Alice Springs (the Stuart Highway I mentioned in the previous blog). It is a very straight road as there are really no obstructions to divert its course. The landscape was much different than the other areas of Australia we had visited. Instead of large eucalyptus trees, small bushes and sparse grass covered the horizon. Off in the distance you could see the remains of an old mountain range. The horizon would change very little in the next 5 hours as we continued driving.

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As we drove, short ranges of mountains could be seen on either side. These mountains used to be as majestic as the Andes, but after millions of years these mountains have been worn away to just their inner cores. Uluru was formed from the same process, as was also Kata Tjuta. Since there has been no volcanic activity, no new mountain formation, nothing really to replenish the nutrients in the soil, the land is more barren than soil back home. There is very little rainfall in this part of the country, so the plants and animals have adapted to finding water and escaping the sun. Although we hoped to see kangaroos on our drive, the wildlife was nowhere to be seen in the middle of the day (other than the dead kangaroos on the side of the road).

About two hours into the trip, we made the only turn of the journey onto the highway leading to Uluru. Shortly after turning, we saw Uluru in the distance! We were still 120 km away, but it was already visible. We pulled off at a lookout and started taking some pictures.

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It wasn't quite as I expected, but that was probably because we were so far away. The first thing we noticed after leaving the car were all the flies. Once again, Australian flies are not scared of being swatted and fearlessly crawl into your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears (while seemingly leaving the rest of your body alone). Parched by the dry air, they seek any form of moisture. Jason had bought a hat with a fly screen, and although at the time we all made fun of him for buying it, we were all jealous that he could view the scenery without worrying about the flies. The excitement of seeing Uluru was overpowered by the urge to escape the flies, so we jumped back in the car and headed on our way.

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The road started to curve away from Uluru, seemingly taking us in the opposite direction. After 20 minutes of driving (and protests from the backseat drivers that I had missed a turn on a stretch of road with zero intersections), I pulled off at a gas station to refuel and check the map. We escaped the heat and the flies and went into the outback bar for a cold beer. 3 of the 5 seats were taken, so the 5 of us stood up and looked at the pictures on the walls. Dawn pointed out the picture of Uluru that I had seen plenty of times while researching the trip, and then pointed to a postcard showing the mountain we saw earlier that day. It was labeled Mount Connor. The mountain we had thought was Uluru was actually just a similar rock formation (I'd like to think we weren't the first people to make that mistake). After buying fly screens for our hats, we got back into the car and tore down the road to make the real Uluru by sunset.

After another couple hours on the road we finally reached Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The sun had already started to set and we still had to drive another 20 km to the sunset lookout point (they position the park entrance far enough away so that you can't see The Rock without paying the entrance fee). Shortly after passing through the park gates we caught our first glimpse of Uluru.

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We had made it just in time for sunset. We snapped some pictures and took in the awesome view. Apparently sunset and sunrise are the best times to see The Rock because it changes colors as the sun moves. There are a couple moments when the rock glows red just before the sun goes down (the rest of the colors just seemed to be Uluru getting darker as the light decreased with the setting sun). In the pictures where we don't have our hats on, try to imagine the agony of holding still while flies crawl into your nose and ears.

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We headed back to our lodge, drank a couple of the local beers, and hit the sack so that we could see Uluru at sunrise in the morning.

The next morning we once again tore down the highway to get into the park before the sun was up. We just barely made it.

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The Rock went through the same color transformation before settling into its maroon daytime color. The red color of Uluru actually comes from the iron that composes part of its structure. The iron rusts, causing The Rock to appear red. At Uluru, everything seemed to be red. The red sandy dirt, the rocks, the dust covering the car all had the same reddish tint. As Uluru and the surrouding mountains were worn away by the rain and wind, the red shavings were scattered across the landscape. Other than the cool color, Uluru is also special because it is one solid rock (there are no cracks or seams). Uluru dominants the horizon as it is the only object that doesn't hide from the sun. The Aboriginals used The Rock for many religious ceremonies as well as a gathering place. Portions of Uluru are still closed to tourists (and even members of the opposite sex) because they are sacred. In several areas pictures are not allowed because an Aboriginal may accidentally encounter one of the site intended for the opposite sex.

Once the sun was up, we decided to walk a few of the trails. There is a climb up the mountain, but the local owners do not want tourists climbing on their sacred site (it is also a very challenging climb and over 30 people have died in the ascent). We had discussed whether we would respect the wishes of the locals or go ahead and do the climb anyways. It ended up not mattering because the climb was closed due to strong winds at the summit and a forecasted temperature above 36 degrees celsius. Instead we took advantage of the several trails that surround the base. We read about the Aboriginal stories explaining the various features of the rock, walked to several water holes (since there are no seams in the rock, all the water runs off its side into pools when it rains), and viewed the Aboriginal cave art.

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Once the sun rose high enough that it chased away the shade of Uluru, we hopped back in the car to check out the visitor center and then drive an hour further west to see Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).

Kata Tjuta means "many heads", which is an accurate description of the range. It is also the remains of a larger mountain range. The good thing about driving through the desert, you get plenty of time to take in the view before you even get close to what you are viewing.

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After arriving at a place to park the car, we made our way into Olga Gorge. The face of the mountain was much different than Uluru. While Uluru was generally composed of smooth walls forming ridges, the Olga Gorge looked like it was made by putting boulders in concrete to form a giant wall. The walls of the gorge went straight up, once again giving us a break from the brutal sun. The floor of the gorge was hard to walk on because the rounded rocks slightly smaller than our feet were cemented in place, never providing a flat surface to walk.

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It was about a 90 minute hike to the closed end of the gorge. After a quick break to rest our feet, we turned around and hiked back to the car. We made a quick stop at the Olgas Lookout to take a few more pictures before leaving the park.

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After leaving the park, we stopped to refuel at Yulara, the closest town. You had two options when refueling, opal fuel and diesel fuel. Our map made a point to say that opal fuel was a replacement for unleaded gasoline. Worrying that I was about to damage the engine of the rental car, I paused before refueling. After a moment's hesitation, I realized that we were at the only gas station for a hundred square miles, it was opal fuel or nothing. Later I found out that opal fuel was actually developed to combat petrol sniffing. Apparently out in the middle of the desert where there is nothing to do, people actually sniff the vapors of gasoline (which obviously is not very healthy). Opal fuel does not emit the same vapors as gasoline, which prevents sniffers from getting their high. I could not really get much more information about opal fuel, such as whether it performs as well as unleaded or it is was actually made from opals.

With a full tank of opal fuel, we headed back to Alice Springs. Although we were leaving behind one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world, we were also leaving behind one of natures most annoying creations‒the flies.

Posted by Mike.Flynn 19:56 Archived in Australia Tagged desert hiking world_heritage_site Comments (0)

Pinnacles Desert

sunny 100 °F

Our second trip in Western Australia would take us north along the coast to the Nambung National Park. We had over 400 miles of road to cover before making our flight in the early afternoon, so once again we got an early start. We left Perth Beach (A) and headed to the Pinnacles Desert (B).

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After fighting rush hour traffic (something I hadn't had to do since leaving Raleigh), we made our way up the coast. The road to the Nambung National Park was even more deserted than the road we had traveled to the south coast. Keeping an eye on the fuel gauge and on the clock, we streaked along the highway. A little before 11am, we reached the entrance to the Pinnacles Desert.

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The pinnacles are limestone mounds formed hundreds of thousands years ago. Seashells were broken down into lime and seeped through cracks in the ground (there are differing theories, one is that they seeped along the root systems of trees and another is that the buildup occurred around the trunks of the trees). The lime was then covered by calcrete, and the pinnacles themselves were covered by the shifting sand dunes.

Eventually the dunes shifted to expose the pinnacles. Sand, rain, and wind continue to shape these eerie looking formations. They look like rocks purposely positioned vertically in the sand. After a trip through the informational center, we once again took the Yaris offroad through the desert to get a closer look.

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It seemed a little odd driving 3 hours to view rocks in the sand, but the sights were amazing. Fields of rock formations stretched out. Some of the pinnacles reached 10 feet in the air. The blue skies made the yellow sand and rock stand out even more. Some of the pinnacles had shades of pink and dark gray layered in with the yellow. No two shapes were the same. Clusters of pinnacles formed artful collages with the desert serving as a backdrop.

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It's hard to describe how visually appealing the fields of pinnacles were. I couldn't help but keep driving deeper into the desert to see more of the formations. It seemed that the each of the designs were unique, and your eyes couldn't help but wanting to admire each one individually.

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We left the car often to get closer to the formations. Just when you thought you had enough, you'd turn the corner to another field and take in the sights as if you had never seen anything like it before. Once again we stayed much longer than we had anticipated and were now in danger of missing our flight (and we had to find a gas station before running out of gas). Snapping a few final pictures, we got back in the car and started the drive out of the desert.

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One good thing about driving through endless miles of nothing is that you encounter the wildlife more frequently. On our way into the park, 4 emus ran across the road and sprinted into the desert. Several kangaroos bounced along the road before skirting into the brush. It was an uniquely Australian experience.

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After filling up with gas and grabbing a couple sandwiches, we headed back towards Perth. The Yaris was now covered in a layer of red dust and filled with sand. Dawn humored me by reading facts from the Australian guide book we had brought along to pass time on the long drive back to the city (my dad had told me that my brother, who is arriving later this week, had been studying up on Australian trivia to stump me and I had to be prepared). Our trip through Western Australia was coming to a close, but it had been a very good trip.

Posted by Mike.Flynn 07:11 Archived in Australia Tagged desert hiking national_park Comments (1)

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