"I leafed to a passage that had to do with reaching one's destination...  'This is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering.  The thing which had been living in your imagination suddenly becomes part of the tangible world.  It matters not how many ranges, rivers or parching dusty ways may lie between you; it is yours now for ever.' "
-- Alice Steinbech, Without Reservations

It was a cold evening/morning -- much colder than I expected.  I had a flashback to a middle-school-aged-me watching a science video about the extreme temperatures in deserts.  Now, I didn't regret smashing my poofy sleeping bag into a small suitcase & hauling it across the continent.  I awoke to my first dull day in the red center with foggy windows and the morning sun low in the sky.  Though the sun was blinding it did little to warm the air, and the shade was downright frigid.

My insides felt like they were crawling with ants.  I was practically having muscle spasms I was so excited to get on the 20 km. road that lead solely to Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park.  As soon as I hit the Lasseter Highway I saw it!  It had been there all evening.  It had been there all morning, I just hadn't spotted it on the horizon.

Inside the only hire car on the road, I started to tear up.  In a way, I gave up everything for this inanimate rock.... my home,  summer, a boyfriend & puppy, a warm house, health benefits I so desparately need....  and it was magnificent.  The moment was mine now; forever.
Although I had traveled -- literally -- halfway around the world for this ancient rock, I opted not to climb it.  Uluru was and is the singular most sacred religious site to the Anangu tribe.  I had the chance to repeat Americans' disrespectful history (think native americans vs. the colonials) or rise above the injustice and lead by example.  Furthermore, as humans we destroy everything natural that was once pristine -- the Dodo bird, the Maldives, the Yangtze River Dolphin, the Arctic ice floe -- and I was not about to add insult to injury.  In my mind, it was like touching the Mona Lisa.

Instead, I hiked the 10 kilometer perimeter (however, it took me awhile to actually find the entrance to the trail).  Since my Mom was not around to keep me entertained, I listened to my music -- something I hadn't really done in the last three months.  I crossed one family during my entire circumnavigation of Uluru.  I was beginning to adjust to the solitude of the desert. 

As mentioned in all Aussie literature, Uluru had many "faces".  At first sight it looked streamlined with smooth, subtle mounds.  Another side of the monolith exhibited pockets of erosion.  Though they looked tiny from the trail, I tried to picture a single member from the Anangu tribe within the crevace.  How small would he (the women have their own, separate religous sites) look?  How would he ascend to that pocket?
Midway along the track, I transitioned to the shadowed side of Uluru.  I stopped listening to my music.  The shade, the silence, and the cloud coverage gave the "dark side" of the rock a mystical feel.  There were more trees and divets in the monolith on this side. I constantly wondered what was hiding in those high caverns?
Further along were mini-trails, whose names alluded to The Dreatime a.k.a. the aborigines' concept of Earth's beginning.  The two kilometer Liru a.k.a. Snake trail ended at a tranquil watering hole -- one of the few permanent sources of water in the middle of the Tanami desert.  Another tangent lead to a cave littered with rock art.  Yet, the markings were different than those I'd seen at Blackdown Tablelands & Carnarvon National Park.  The only symbol that looked familiar was fire (the concentric circles).  Stepping back into the intense sunshine, I could finally view Uluru's focal scar. 

Sunburnt & tired from my expedition I decided to call it a day.  I had fully inspected Uluru and its many angles.  Plus, I wanted to get a prime spot for Uluru's famed sunset, in which the rock transitions to a fiery red.  So I headed to the viewing area 90 minutes before sunset, rested my tootsies, and lounged in the front seat with the Dalai Lama.