kata tjuta

Kata Tjuta, Australia, 1999

i had always been drawn to australia. as long as i can remember. the thing i looked forward to most was visiting ayer’s rock in the center of the continent. as the small plane landed in the middle of the vast red earth, tears welled up and i started to cry. i had the greatest feeling of joy and relief; as if i was coming home after being gone for 20 years.

ayer’s rock (uluru) was really beautiful. we learned as much as we could about the area while we were there, reading everything at the visitor’s center, getting a guide to show us parts of it and talk about it, and hiking around it. i will never forget the silence and the sound of the wind among the scrub trees. or the long green lizard who slowly crawled across our path with no fear of us watching.

then, there were the olgas. kata tjuta. these rocks were even more sacred to the aborigines, but they would never tell outsiders why. they will tell you about uluru, but not kata tjuta. we hiked into the valley of the winds, a low area surrounded on all sides by these rocks. it was painfully hot. the sun was unrelenting. but again, the silence. and the wind. this is where i was supposed to be. uluru was amazing, but this……was it!