We walk around Ayer's Rock, a good 9 km and much longer on foot than
on boke. I'm still at a loss for how to explain the allure of what is
really just a large chunk of rock sticking out of the ground, but I've
spent well over 3 hours staring at it and I'm still picking out
different features: a face, a shark...
I'm frustrated with the raininess causing the climb closing, so I decide on a plan for approaching a ranger. First, I'll ask if it's staying closed all day. Then, I'll ask if I can sign some kind of waiver denying my right to rescue and getting out of the possibi8lity of the $5k AUS fine if caught. If that doesn't work, I'll ask if I can make a "donation" towards the National Park's upkeep. I get as far as asking for a waiver before the ranger replies like "you're not allowed to climb when it's closed. If we do find you up there, it's a fine and we could take it a lot further." The look on her face suggests further questions would be fruitless to say the least. Thinking about it after the fact, I feel like a bit of an asshole: this woman's probably been involved in rescues and maybe even seen people die on Uluru.
Camp will be our tents set up on the side of a dirt road. My overactive imagination manages to scare me and everybody else as we sit in the car, near native lands, alone, killing time until heading to our tents: "how scary would it be if you looked out your window and saw an aborigine guy's face right against it?" I'm so vividly imagining this that I could describe every detail of his face to a police sketch artist, and everybody else is creeped out enough to stay up later. And then I end the night, drifting in and out of sleep with enough moisture accumulated in my tent that I could practically lean over and lap it up if I need a midnight drink.