Chapter Eleven - King's Canyon
I was in Kings Canyon for the second night straight. It's not unusual to stay an extra day and host another tour. But, this tour was different. The people were different. Special.
I met Joey, one of my favourite tour guides at the petrol station after a day spent by the pool.
As I walked towards the bus, two men in their late twenties, ran towards me. I said 'Are you looking for Leah?' and they exclaimed 'Yes!'
Matty and Cyril were guys from my next group. They ran into the pub to buy beers, while I jumped up the front of the bus with Joey.
As Joey drove towards our Kings Canyon camp site, we chatted about his recent Sydney trip and what I'd been up to in Alice Springs.
When we arrived at camp, I met the passengers. The group was small, mainly young and international. The younger ones consisted of Kiwis, Brits and girls from Denmark and Switzerland. The older two couples were from Australia and France.
They were a rowdy bunch. After they settled into their tents, I invited them into the kitchen for tea, coffee and biscuits. They were very inquisitive about me, which is not unusual. I told them my 'Office to the Outback' story, everyone seems to like that.
After their tea, I sent them out for a walk while I cooked dinner. I was making a Moroccan chicken curry with rice and vegetables.
While I was preparing the meal, two of the men appeared in the kitchen, shirtless and lathered in oily sunscreen, asking me where the best place to run would be. I was so impressed, in the last three months, no one has exercised before dinner.
After dinner, we played a game of 'spoons'. It's Joey's trademark game. Everyone plays and it gets extremely competitive. Each country is against each other. I was on my way to winning when Denmark piped me at the post.
After dinner we sat by the fire, when Matty broke out into dance. The music was blaring, everyone was jumping around and had a ball, including the Australian couple in their 70's.
We danced the night away until 2:15am. It was the best night I'd had in Kings Canyon.
While we are dancing and having fun, Matty asked me if I could join them on a walk the next day. I explained I needed to work and wouldn't be able to join, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.
Joey agreed that I could do the walk, if Matty helped me make beds and Joey cooked lunch. This was a first. No passenger has ever helped me make beds in order for me to be a part of their activities. I was truly flattered.
As the party came to an end, we set our alarms to be up at 4:15am.
We slept in swags under shooting stars.
At around 3am I felt something sniffing my head, it was a bloody dingo! I was so startled, I woke the person in the swag next to me. My R.M's had been uncovered during the night and I know dingos like shoes.
I was more worried about my boots than anything else. You can take a girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.
I put them back under my swag, shooed the dingo away and went back to sleep for an hour.
The Kings Canyon walk was epic. It's not the easiest 6km walk, but it was beautiful and I'm so grateful to my group, who pitched in to help and made it possible for me to be there.
A rare opportunity with some very special and kind hearted people.
(IMAGE CREDIT: Silvana Schnuriger)