Saturday, November 7, 2009
We woke up and saw it was foggy outside, so we watched some television, specifically an episode about water usage on the Discovery Channel. Frankly, it is a little concerning how little water there is in so many populated places, and it got us thinking that we might be better served living somewhere like Hilo where we can at least count on getting our own water from the sky. We had breakfast at Lilianfels (only because it was included), and were treated to a bunch of loud kids and mediocre food.
Since we weren't getting any sunshine, we figured we could at least go on a hike down in the valley below, hoping that we could have some sun by the time we climbed back out of the valley. We descended the "giant stairway" - almost 1000 steps, going straight down the edge of the mountain. Fortunately there were rails for most of the walk, since the steps were a little slippery. At the valley floor, we hiked towards Leura (nearby town) on the Dardanelle's Pass route. We saw lots of tree ferns, and the weather was perfect - nice and cool. After awhile we came to a fork, and hiked on Federal Pass towards Leura Cascades. On this route we walked back up to the clifftop - it wasn't quite as steep as the giant stairway, but it was still the same amount of elevation change.
We came back to Echo Point along Prince Henry Cliff Walk. As we hoped, it had started to clear up, so we were able to get a couple of good shots here and there. We had lunch right at Echo Point, with what would have ordinarily would have been a great view, but the fog had started to roll back in. Since the fog had come back, we decided to just pack a bit.
Every now and then we would check out the window, and at one point it looked nicer outside, so we went back to Echo Point, hiked around a bit, and got some ice cream. We came back to the room and got ready for dinner, but when we headed out for dinner, it was relatively clear again, so we went back to Echo Point one last time. We walked into Katoomba, got drinks at a local pub, and got a bottle of wine to go. We took the bottle across the street to A Roon Thai, and the food was much better than the restaurant the night before. At dinner we had a conversation about what place or event, on all of our travels, had been most awe-inspiring. Interestingly, after giving it much thought, we each named the same two places. One was the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The other was the sunrise over the Paine Massif in Torres Del Paine. In both cases, we couldn't take our eyes off of them - they were captivating and you couldn't help but stare, mouth agape. Justin also thought the Remarkable Rocks were a step above everything else. The conversation was pretty interesting, and we thought it would have made for better conversation at our "7 for 7" celebration. We walked back to the hotel, and watched the Last King of Scotland. Even though everything at Lilianfels cost an arm and a leg, apparently they haven't taken in enough money to get a new television in the last 20 years - they are ridiculously small and outdated.