For some reason, my tent is a water magnet. I awake multiple times
freezing and look around to find literal puddles of water on my floor.
Eventually, I wake somebody up and grab the car keys. Heat on full,
it's wasteful but stops my shivering.
There's not a cloud in the sky, so I'm hopeful that we'll actually get to climb Uluru today. First move is calling the park office; the climb's open, but they can give us no guarantee that it'll remain allowed for the rest of the day. We're 2+ hours' drive away, so we decide to hike nearby King's Canyon before trying for Uluru.
The canyon's breathtaking, with a massive sheer cliff and huge round sandstone outcroppings. We hike up a steep trail to the mesa above the canyon; an outcropping I stand upon above several hundred feet of open space reminds me that I'm not entirely at ease with heights. It's only 9 km, but we spend the better part of 3 hours up and down hills on the hike. Big surprise: I'm asleep straight throughout the drive to Uluru.
Finally, on day 3 of our 3-day national park passes, we climb Uluru. I'm glad I didn't risk a climb the rainy day before: I just may have blown/slipped/otherwise fallen off the massive rock. I'm nervous the entire way up, legs burning as I stay within a split second of grabbing the guide chain. Nervous spikes halfway up with the end of the railing, but I'm almost relaxed by the time we're on our way down. It looks even more like Mars than usual while on this monstrosity.
Sunset further confirms that this is one interesting rock: it's all kinda colors as it sets.
I put a lot of thorught into it, and I can honestly say that I hope we hit a kangaroo. More specifically, I hope one of them hops right into my side of our Nissan X-Trail as we're driving to Mt. Ebenezer. Factoid: Let's Go says they grow up to 10 feet head to tail and can jump 30! My car-damaging desires go unfulfilled, but just barely: we see groups of them twice, and one of these is a near-miss. These animals definitely look more like cartoons than something that should exist in real life, and I can't even begin to comprehend how they make any sense evolutionarily. What kind of creation hops to get around?
Night's end is hanging out with cool Australians at a free roadside campground. One older guy's a plumbing contractor, probably not a rich man but living life richly enough that he's been traveling with wife and kids in his camper around the land down under. I'd say this is more than a little rare in the United Empire of America; in fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single dimension on which Australia isn't better than back home.