The Initial Gruelling Climb To Get Up To The Rim of Kings Canyon
Those were the thoughts that ran through my mind when I was climbing up the “Heart Break Hill” or also known as the “Heart Attack Hill” – a steep climb at the beginning of the rim walk at Kings Canyon, Red Centre, Australia. The name perfectly describes the gruelling nature of the climb.
The 15-30 minutes challenging path uphill is so steep and narrow that it requires an enormous amount of effort, concentration and balance, not to mention countless of breaths and breathlessness to scale it. I was huffing and puffing my way throughout the climb despite having a relatively fit physique with good stamina.
It was literally a breathtaking and heart-pounding climb, no kidding! Thankfully, once we reached the top of the rim, Rhea told us that the remaining part of the path is relatively easy. Ahh…those words are music to my ears, so I thought.
Types of Walks & Warnings At Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon is an ancient sandstone canyon that soars above dense palm forests in Australia’s Red Centre. It lies within Watarrka National Park, sitting at the western end of the George Gill Range, in between Alice Springs and Uluru. The site is an important conservation area and refuge for more than 600 species of native plants and animals, many unique to the area.
For your info, there are 4 types of walks to choose from at Kings Canyon and they are:
- Kings Creek Walk (Grade 3 – Moderate) 2.6 km return
- Kings Canyon Rim Walk (Grade 4 – Difficult) 6 km loop
- Kathleen Springs Walk (Grade 3 – Moderate) 2.6 km return
- Giles Track (Grade 4 – Difficult) 22 km
Heat exhaustion, fatigue and dehydration risks are common even in mild weather. Therefore, it is wise to drink plenty of water, stay cool and walk safely at all times. Do take note that a part of the area is a sacred Aboriginal site therefore visitors are discouraged from walking off the designated tracks.
A Meeting Place Of Deserts & Ranges With Abundant Flora
Once we were up at the rim, the walk became much easier. From steep steps, we were now walking over uneven, weathered and flaky sandstone terrain. Certain parts of the walk required us to walk precariously close to the edge of the canyon where we had to mind our steps and exercise precaution at all times to minimise the risk of falling off the cliff.
From above, we had a good look into the canyon, the opposite wall of the canyon and the surrounding areas. We came to know that the place we stood (George Gill Range) lies at the intersection of three major landforms; northeast are the MacDonnell Ranges, to the south and west are the sandplains of the Lake Amadeus region and the western deserts, whereas to the southeast are low hills and mesas of the Simpson Desert.
An interesting fact is the plants typical of the MacDonnell Ranges, the western deserts and the Simpson Desert such as the MacDonnell Ranges Cycad, Desert Grass Tree and Sandhill Canegrass are all found in Watarrka.