How was to be sleeping under the stars?” Matt started to unpack the food, a lot of food…., and everybody, men and women started to prepare dinner. After everybody got stuffed we were given the spiel about what is a “swag”. On their site it was stated that we will sleep in “swags”. In American English “swag” means something else so I kind of thought that it should be some kind of tarpaulin under which we sleep. But the “swags” proved to be some thin mattresses covered in a waterproof material that you put directly on the ground and …sleep under the stars inside your sleeping bag.
The Milky Way was right on top of us and if I were not jet lagged probably I could have stay all night to watch a sky completely littered with stars like you have no chance to see in our towns because of the light pollution. When I woke up around 3 AM the moon have risen and all was covered in spectacular silvery light that is hard to forget. In the night you could hear the dingos howling not too far away and the wild camels snorting somewhere nearby. We woke up for the sunrise but the only thing I wished was to sleep the next night again under the stars. I’d try this in Long Island but I bet that I would get a racoon jumping on me in the morning.
The hike of the day was in a national park, Kata Tjuta, around some rocks named after a Russian Queen. They used to be known as “The Olgas” and they could be seen from the sunrise place from where we watched Uluru. Eventually, to mark its aboriginal roots, the rocks were renamed around 1900 Kata Tjuta, that means “many heads”.
A lot of legends are associated with the rocks but as we understood they are kept secret and are not shared at all with outsiders. The only thing we could find out is that it is a place exclusively for men’s initiation and as a result the women are not allowed to come.
For us it was extremely beautiful hike on a circuit that goes around and inside the perimeter of the rocks that took about 3 hours for a little more than 6km. After the hike we returned to the campsite for a quick camel burger lunch and took our backpacks and moved to a different location. On the way we collected a large amount of wood and made a big fire and ate the kangaroo steaks around it. Everybody gathered around the fire and ended up placing the swags close by it and went to a deep sleep under the same sky covered in billions of stars.