Blue Sky's and a Billion Fly's


Blue Sky's and a Billion Fly's


The following story is written word for word from my travelling journal entries logged at any given time of the day capturing the authenticity of my thoughts and emotion throughout the trek solo hiking the central interior of Australia.


The idea had been silently flirted with to randomly solo hike a remote part of Australia and along the way raise a handful of dollars for a worthy cause.

Sitting around a blazing campfire knocking back a couple of tinny's one night with a couple of mates the plan was thrown into the fire like a gallon of petrol and ignited to see the reactions of others.
First response " your bloody mad mate" they replied, then second to that shouted, what harm can it do and we reckon you should give it a fair crack, so from there on in it was a done deal.

The notion of being dropped in at point A and rendezvousing at  various co-ordinates to re-supply, then all going well be extracted at Z is quite challenging hiking with only a Rucksack, carrying critical equipment and supplies needed for survival, using a map and compass for navigation and for most of the trek avoid any previously laid roads and tracks.
Isolating ones self from modern civilization is daunting enough while stirring a primitive sense of adventure and excitement deep within. 

Picking the location turned out to be a little more difficult then you would imagine as the realization of planning became a logistical nightmare selecting a route that can be accessed by vehicle at the start for insertion with accessible intermittent locations for the duration of the trek to allow re-supply of food and water along the chosen course.

Well the long and the short of it the area chosen will be to hike from somewhere out near Finke in the Northern Territory and finish in Oodnadatta South Australia. 

The route intended will kick off along the outer edges of the Simpson Desert, intermittently trek parts of the historic old Ghan Railway, pass through Hamilton Station and cross an outer tear of the Pedirka Desert following the Oodnadatta track into town walking about 270 kilometers

Departure Day

Sitting at Sydney Airport it is now 0915 on the 16th of June 2015 and my imagination is running wild with anticipation of what started out a surreal dream and has now become reality.

In another 24hrs the adventure off a life time will commence.

It seems almost impossible to fathom the encounters that lay ahead but one thing for sure the Outback has a lot of unique experiences too offer.

Around 20 years prior while working as a Stock Carter transporting Sheep and Cattle, better known within the industry as a turd herder in far western NSW mother nature called and it was time to stop and take a leak, the area was north west of White Cliffs, while standing there, I remember having this over whelming feeling to just walk out into what seemed an endless abyss and today that same feeling has settled upon my shoulders once again.

The final call for boarding has just been announced so saddle up we are moving out.

Unfortunately the flight out had been obscured by heavy cloud and it was impossible to take in the view from the window and do any sort of reconnaissance on the terrain intended to be trekked.

The flight landed in Alice Springs at 12 50 and it is absolutely flogging down with rain.

Upon landing I had been greeted by Chris then driven around to the Royal Flying Doctors base at Alice Springs where we were to take  promotional photo's for the Fund Raiser which by the way is for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

The street drains where backed up unable to handle the deluge of rain pelting down from the black sky's above and any water tank insight was streaming water from the over flows, even the RFDS Headquarters had water running across the floor, a little bit ironic taking into account Alice Springs is surrounded by Desert.

Though not to be disappointed once it was time to leave the sky turned blue and you couldn't help but think mother nature was sending a subtle warning that if you fail to treat the Outback with respect she will demand your soul showing no mercy.

Royal Flying Doctors home base in Alice Springs

Heading south out of town the Todd River began to flow down the dry river bed and legend has it that if you are lucky enough to watch the head of the river start to flow you will return to Alice Springs again in your life time.

Now all of the formality's are done and dusted it is time to hit the road with the sky clearing and head down to Kulgera to spend the first night in the mobile Base camp and discuss tactics for the upcoming Trek ahead.

clearing sky at Alice
Hwy south of Alice
heading to Kulgera


Life can be very unpredictable and you will never be certain of the people who may cross your path and play a significant role in the success of your own journey, just like the generous people who have dedicated their time running support and backing up this crazy trek.

On the support crew we have 

  • Brian Mooney who overseers safety and all logged mapping co-ordinates 
  • Val Hall - camp cook and enforcer of manners among the men around the camp fire
  • Chris Hall - public relations officer for the fund raiser and chief ball chucker for the dogs

first morning in NT
Chris & Val
Brian & the slow camel kitchen

After the flooding storms in Alice Springs it turned blue sky and a good run from Alice down to Kulgera, with the realization setting in on how vast and remote the Australian Outback is.

Kulgera itself consists of a Road House, Caravan Park and Police Station, from here we will assemble the support crew and finalize tactics and plans before the trek commences tomorrow.

Val served a meal fit for Kings then after a bit of general chit chat it had come time to roll out the swag and retire with the anxiety and butterflies settling deep in my stomach from the anticipation of  unknown adventure that lay ahead.

Crack of dawn has broken the horizon, it's now time to roll the swag up and throw it back in Brian's troopy better known as the slow camel kitchen and do a final check of the Rucksack as this will be the only means of life support between rendezvous points.

Preparation and forward planning are key to fulfilling a successful expedition so we headed over to the Police Station to gather Intel on road conditions which the support vehicles will travel.
Roads leading to Finke and Hamilton Station are open but the roads south from Hamilton are closed.

The Sargent painted a very grim portrait on my plans advising against proceeding with the intended plan of hiking through some of the harshest inland terrain this continent has to offer and warning of the ever pending threat of meeting head on with rouge bulls who are capable of goring you to death in minutes.

I can't say I blame him as he has no knowledge of my personal background, because standing in front is a middle aged grey haired man who the copper thinks is having a mid life crisis that he will have to lead a search and rescue mission for if it all goes pear shaped.

Insertion point

We have travelled for a couple of hours east of Kulgera towards New Crown when Brian asked where do you want to start from, I replied ' this looks as good as any starting point, saying that Brian pulled the troopy over and we laid the topographic map for that sector across the bonnet and set a course.

turn off to the centre of Australia
slow camel kitchen

Now there is one golden rule, once the route co-ordinates are selected we plan the hike and hike the plan no exceptions, in the case there is an unforeseen event that requires a rescue the relevant search team will have a clear and decisive map plan to follow. 

Route decided is a 2 day hike south to Nine Mile Bore, a fairly easy start testing the accuracy of old school navigation techniques and the estimated ground speed under foot.

One cannot explain the overwhelming feeling when the troopy drove off out of radio range and
here I am standing in the middle of Australia with no road to follow having only a compass and Rucksack for survival, too be deadly honest I am absolutely shitting myself.

What have you gotten yourself into you idiot are the thoughts that rushed my mind, so after a good self talking to I gathered my composure and proceeded with placing one foot in front of the other, as that will be the only thing needed to reach the first rendezvous point.

Once under way the uneasy feelings settled and travelling on foot had been comfortable at this stage, the rain that fell the night before had packed the sand down firm setting a good pace under foot.
Around an hour before sunset it was time to select a camp site and settle in for the night. 

As the night sky settled in the Desert noises changed to an eerie sound of animals being more alert, some looking for attention and others walking in the cool of night to a life depending water hole.

With all the excitement of the day it was hard to settle into a good sleep then around 0200 hrs. I woke to the sound of a bellowing bull close by and like a lightning bolt strike to the head all I could think of is what the Sargent at the cop shop said in relation to the wild cattle, even though I have been around cattle my whole life it put me straight on the defensive.

Funny enough things always seem better in the morning after a rest, a sense of self confidence has emerged again watching the glorious sunrise and packing up camp. 
It is time to head for Nine Mile Bore.

camp at sunrise

rolling sand hills

bare feet not an option
What a picture perfect day hiking over the red rolling sand hills on the outer edge of the Simpson Desert.
Approximately 3.5 K's from Nine Mile Bore radio contact is reached with the support crew and all is AOK.

Navigation seems to running true and accurate at this stage leading into Nine Mile Bore and a 4WD track should be coming up to my right about now.
Big lesson learnt, do not trust a road exists in central Australia just because it is shown on a map.

Rich Hungerford from Bush Lore in Queensland teaches on Navigation that if things are not adding up sit down and re-assess the situation over a cup off tea, it turns out the track had grown over through lack of use and I had walked about 1 km off course due west, with a couple of minor course adjustments the rendezvous point was nailed.

One would think that out here with such a vast landscape visual navigation would be a breeze, that's just not the case with low scrub and rolling hills, you have to trust a compass and count your paces to account distance

It was a relief to see the support crew and I would be kidding myself if I said otherwise. Val feed me to the max with bacon, sausages, tomato and toast followed by a cup of tea, Val is the best.

End to the jitter bugs

Confidence is growing nicely with stage 1 being a success, with accurate navigation and consistent distance travelled under foot on a daily basis being achieved.

The next stage is a 3 day leg heading to the Old Ghan Railway then following it down to Abminga Siding Ruins.

Again the sector maps are laid out and a course plotted. Brian is fastidious with the co-ordinates and estimated arrival times on each leg, 

From the moment radio range is exceeded there will be no contact with the crew until the next scheduled check point, so we need to be on the same page for accuracy.

A quick adjustment of the Rucksack and a top off with water and it's on again heading 199 degrees S,SW to Wall Creek on the Old Ghan Railway to look at a piece of forgotten Australian history.

Gradually the landscape changed from low scrub covered sand hills into hard rock covered endless terrain.
With the realization, an error had been made with wrong boot selection, which I would ultimately pay a painful price.

cruel under foot
clay pan , brief foot relief

Besides deteriorating feet it turned out to be another great day to be had, the day temps are around 21 degrees and night falls to about 2 degrees, very comfortable.

You spend a lot of the time scanning ahead with Binoculars to avoid any possible unwanted confrontations with hostile animals.

The evening started to close in and now the initial anxiety's prior to starting the trek have past.

It is a time you look forward to picking a camp site and settling down reflecting on the experiences you encountered throughout the day and enter them in your journal for an ever lasting memory.

Absorbing yourself into nature far beyond the reaches of civilization is a priceless experience that sits deep within the soul.

birds nest at eye level from the ground

The camp site selected for tonight is along side a wide dry water way leading to Race Course Creek, and it was an absolute relief to rest my feet, by now both heels have splits on the sides and toe nails have began separating, but hey people endure worst things then that and there is still 190 K's to walk so I best harden up.

Boom the next sunrise was jammed packed full of excitement with the sound of 3 young mickey bulls groaning and flicking dirt sky high right out front from my tent, in a state of self preservation I launched from my sleeping bag  and took some form of protection in a small tree.

Next up a solid black bull came charging out of the dry creek bellowing and charged straight for the posse of young bulls.
One took flight straight up and retreated to a save distance while the other two stood their ground, bad mistake the older bull had way to much strength and experience clobbering the challenging pair in a display of brutal force. 

I reckon the young bulls had all the intentions of stealing old Fernando's ladies, not this time boys "

Another harsh lesson learnt, always have a bloody camera on the ready because you will not get a second chance to shoot the so called million dollar shot.

After the dust settled, Fernando as I refer to him looked me up and down as to be accessing my potential threat, soon coming to the conclusion that I pose no danger he retreated back to the creek bed for more piece and quite.

Heart rate and excitement has dropped so pack up the camp and head towards Wall Creek and the Old Ghan Rail way.

dry water course leading to race course creek 
protected camp site

Fernando the bull, just close enough for a picture

Reaching The Old Ghan Railway

Old Ghan Railway at Wall Creek

Breakfast consisted of canned corn beef and a cup of tea, the protein and salt seem to be a welcome treat for a craving body in need of energy.

Wall Creek yards has a prominent water hole marked on the map and should provide a decent place for a quick wash. The water hole is about 1.5 hrs walking distance away and on arrival the hole is bone dry. Three and a half days of hiking have now passed and no permanent water points are found.

The livestock obviously know where to look as they are in top condition, theoretically speaking if you were to only rely on  permanent surface water supply out here for survival I reckon you would be fly blown by now.

Looking further ahead through the binoculars I can make out the old rail line and as the distance closed in you would come across old rail sleepers with steel tracks attached twisted up and laying in the most peculiar places, why are pieces of the track laying so far away from the rail line then the obvious signs appear.

This may be a dry and arid place but when the rains do fall they come with such force running off the slopping terrain it washes out the rail line substrate tearing the track apart and that played a part in the demise of the Old Ghan Railway.

pieces of the old rail line

Reaching the old rail line, the stories left behind  from the workers began to speak out telling tales of what they drank, foods they consumed and the ready supplies of materials used to build the line.

made it to the Old Ghan

beer bottle date
can of juice maybe

preserved can food

Consistent patterns are becoming quite obvious with piles of beer bottles accompanied with preserved food tins at similar intervals left along the track gauging a time estimate on progress.

I may be wrong but the landscape tells a story where a train would steam to the end of the rail line carrying track materials and food supplies, the workers built the advancing track straight from the supply train, when new supplies are needed they unloaded the remaining equipment from the train onto the ground and it returned to a rail depot and restocked.

Material wastage is quite prominent with piles of new rail spikes, nuts, bolts and steel plates used to secure the track to the sleepers being left behind.
When a new supply train came back, I guess it was heavy work to carry forward by hand the materials from behind and a damn site easier to grab it straight from the train.

Reaching Abminga Ruins is the next task to focus on following the old train line straight into the rail siding. 

Having no need to conduct accurate  navigation for a day it is time to focus on the environment at hand.

Walking along a sandy section between the rocks fresh Camel tracks appeared and now an opportunity has been presented to track the Camels. 

On first calculations  it looks like there maybe two adults and a calf, how wrong did I turn out to be.

The tracks faded in and out over the next 4 or so K's then bang up on a rise stood a Camel, with all of the excitement you just had to try and sneak up for a closer look. 

What I failed to realise is there are a few more Camels than originally estimated and a bull camel was keeping a close eye on my position and showing threatening behavior.

wild camels between Abminga and Wall Creek
Finding myself positioned in no mans land unintentionally with no immediate protection from an aggressive Bull Camel , there seemed to be only one thing to do, take pictures.

You better start thinking quick on your feet now Johnny boy and scan the terrain for an escape route. 

The only piece of protection insight is a small scrubby tree about 500 meters to the left and knowing that Camels prefer not walk on rocks I calmly walked towards the tree over the hardest ground available.

Well bugger me they have started to follow my very path, although  very defensive they seemed more curious to what this thing is with a blue bump on its back and why is it wandering the Desert.

Reaching the tree it is now time to decide, move on or stay put. 

Assessing the situation it seems things have settled enough to continue on with the herd following for another few K's through sheer curiosity, when I stopped they stopped, then we would move on again with the Camels never coming any closer than about 60 meters.

Abminga Ruins

With another day behind it is time to focus on reaching Abminga Ruins following a dead straight rail line vanishing into an endless southern horizon.

track to Abminga
Concentrating only now on reaching Abminga and finding enough water to wash in it is one step after another. I'm pretty sure at this stage I stink to high heaven, because the bloody flies are starting to fly backwards.

Catching a first glimpse of Abminga Ruins from a distance in the early evening light it appears a cottage exists down at the old siding, then I had visions that someone would offer me a shower and a cold beer, so the pace increased leading unknowingly into an illusion and absolute disappointment.

location sign
Rail Station Quarters

old station house

Walking into Abminga you are confronted with another abandoned attempt of progress left in a state of rack and ruin over flowing with junk and crap. Why is it that mankind has never cleaned up the mess they leave behind.

Feeling exhausted the tent is pitched inside the old roofless building and a dehydrated Mexican Chicken meal is prepared for dinner with a hot chocolate and a shot of rum added, ok maybe two shots of rum.

Tomorrow the priority's will be find water to wash the body down and meet with Brian and Chris then Head across to Eringa Water Hole for 2 nights rest.

Sunrise came and I strolled around the ruins then headed down to Abminga water hole and just like the others it is bone dry.

At that point your mind starts to play fun and games and you begin to question the plan, can the support crew make it through from either end in the wet conditions and if they can't how long can I hold up for.

Within a split second survival mode kicks in and ration plans are drawn up. The plastic transpiration bags that you are taught to carry can harvest around a 1 litre of water  between 5 bags  in a twenty four hour period by slipping the bags over the leaves on tree branches and sealing them off.

water tower
coal hopper

old truck

On the horizon you could see a rooster tale of dust speeding towards the siding and believing it to be Brian and Chris I tried making radio contact but to no avail.
When the Ute drove in it turned out to be a cocky farmer doing a bore run and he spoke few words with no interest in what I am doing there.

As he started the bore pump up to fill the empty tank that feed the trough I asked if the water is drinkable and he replied ' it sure as bloody hell won't kill ya mate ' then he raced off to the next bore.

Quickly grabbing my water containers it came as a pleasant surprise the bore water that gushed out of the tap connected to a length of poly pipe is around 35 degrees, at that point I immediately striped down to the nuddie and had the first hot shower in a week.

Please take note that you never use soap when washing in a stock trough as it will render the water undrinkable to all livestock and wildlife with catastrophic consequences.

Around 1450 hrs that day the hand held UHF radio crackled copy Johno and with a sigh of relief it was time to head over to Eringa water hole for a hot meal shared with good company and a much needed rest.

Eringa Water Hole a hidden Oasis 

Eringa Water Hole
After six solid days of trekking over Desert sand hills, low bushy scrub and enough coarse rock to stop an armoured personnel carrier and Centurion tank in it's tracks Eringa water hole came at a time for much needed recuperation and what a hidden paradise it turned out to be, a magnificent water hole surrounded with a double row of river gums with a pelican or two thrown in for the tourists.

local resident

Eringa water hole would roughly be around 100 metres wide and 500 metres long with an abundance of bird life living around the oasis. Just off to one side stands the abandoned original homestead which had been left behind to set up a new homestead with a permanent water supply now called Hamilton Station.

Looking out over this pristine water hole it is hard to believe that Eringa can evaporate leaving a dry baron basin, but that is the harsh unforgiving reality of mother nature.

abandoned Eringa Homestead

watching over Eringa
just being a pelican

Being unable to delay any longer it has come time to wash the hiking clothes and the only way to wash out here is the good old fashioned way which means fill a steel drum up with water and letting boil next to the fire then start dunking and stirring the putrid clothes with a stick, just like the old days in a copper if you are old enough to now what I'm referring to.

This would make my Grandmother proud.

outback washing machine

Almost instantaneously as the clothes are dunked into the drum the water turned a reddish brown colour in the boiling water stripping away the sweat and dirt leaving everything crisp, clean and bacteria free.

Now the domestic duties are completed it is time to fossick around looking at the old Homestead and sit back taking in the serenity that surrounds this remarkable location resting my worse for wear feet.

The first rays of sunrise are breaking the horizon and I am quite eager to start under way hiking the next 4 day leg to Hamilton Station.
As I'm preparing to head off after breakfast Brian dropped a bomb shell and revealed a Gentleman by the name of Trevor Lang is driving from Katoomba NSW to conduct an interview and write an article on the trek for Pat Callinan's 4x4 Adventure Magazine.

Unbeknownst to Trevor and by a stroke of sheer luck and good fortune Pat Callinan's film crew who were heading out to the Simpson Desert  arrived at Eringa Water Hole unaware of each others intentions then proceeded to take photos of myself to add with the article if it is to make the cut and be published, and I have to admit it was a little bit embarrassing and overwhelming to receive such attention.
Fingers crossed it makes the cut.

Well the 5 minutes of fame has passed and it has come time to check the pack and set off exploring Lindsay Creek and hike into Hamilton Station.

set to head out again

Cruel Terrain

Eringa Water Hole is nothing short of spectacular and it would have been easy to spend a couple of extra days resting there but the trek must go on so it's time to apply fresh foot dressings then remove the lead from my arse and make it happen.

The entire day presented majestic scenery hiking from one Billabong to the next surrounded in the grandeur of century old river gums hosting again an abundance of bird life, Pelicans, Shags, Finch's and Parrots you name it and they live around the life support of the water holes.

Lindsay Creek
crystal clear

fresh water mussel shell

Peerless Pools is the place chosen to sign of for the day and setting camp has become a highlight watching the sun slowly descend over the rocky horizon enabling the brilliant night sky to blanket it's space with an infinity of dazzling stars.

Natures display of opulence would only be served an injustice if one tried to describe the empowering emotions to be experienced absorbing yourself into an untouched ancient landscape.

Once again the sun has risen casting the rays of light needed to sustain life upon our planet and without hesitation the marching commenced forward towards the days unforeseen journey leaving behind only footprints and taking with me a wealth of memories.

The terrain over the next three days would be the hardest of all walking through endless rock from golf ball to cricket ball size and larger no matter where you stepped and it soon degenerated my soles to double blisters which would bust inside the shoes from the relentless pressure.

endless rock
start of the deep gully's

 its tough hiking hilly rocky terrain

No point complaining this far out because you are far beyond the reaches of support with no possible access by vehicle or air. so just keep walking.
That night I had never been so glad to lay down and relieve the pressure from my hammered feet although at this stage my spirits are still high with enthusiasm and look forward to the days ahead.

Tomorrow midday is the next scheduled rendezvous with the support crew and I am once again growing anxious not knowing whether the old bore track still exists allowing vehicle access, if not the back up plan will be find water and hike out to Hamilton Track.

At 1130Hrs radio contact with the crew is made and the bore track is accessible with the support crew being located shortly there after.
After re-supply it is an estimated 16 km hike to the next camp site called Tent Water Hole leaving roughly 14 k's to reach Hamilton Station.

A good nights rest was had at Tent Water Hole with the wind starting to blow quite strong with an icy sting for the next day hiking into Hamilton Station.

One other thing on the list to see is wild Budgerigars and I had been granted the pleasure at sunrise to a magnificent display of aerial skills maneuvering throughout the scrubby trees like F18 fighter jets.
' the little buggers wouldn't stay still long enough for a good photo though'

taking a rare pause for a photo

Packing up and heading out is now second nature with today's task being follow Hamilton track into Hamilton Station for a much needed rest and a good feed.

Following the track should create some exposure presenting the opportunity to raise a few more dollars for the RFDS from passing travellers.
It didn't take long to come across e few travellers heading towards the Simpson Desert who mostly stopped checking to see your ok, offering a drink then asking a few questions before making a donation and moving on.

A handful of 4x4's drove past without stopping to ask if you are ok but I guess that can be a reflection on society as we live today, but I am pleased to say the majority of people are still kind and would lend a hand if needed.

Another stand out with the vehicles that drove past is that some looked extremely overloaded with every accessory you could possibly buy and others so under prepared carrying no water or extra fuel running on low profile SUV sports rims.

The day ticked on wandering into Hamilton at 1500hrs with Tim offering a hot shower at the guest quarters. ' bloody ripper clean skin what a feeling'

life support
curious faces

Tent Water Hole

Being two days ahead of schedule an executive decision has been made to rest up for 48hrs and let the feet recover as much as possible before the final stage's into Oodnadatta

Hamilton Station and the final stage

Ironically while resting at the camp grounds which are provided by Hamilton Station a group of adventure bike riders came in and camped telling a story of their mates misfortune of having a bike accident leading to his air evacuation by the RFDS for treatment at hospital, the Gentleman later donated $3000 to our fund raiser.
It goes to show that you never know when it is your turn for needing assistance and that we should not take these services for granted, it can be life depending.

The hospitality of Tim and staff  had undoubtedly been first class, feeding the crew with prime steaks grown on the Station, allowing the use of the guest facility's and giving access to the Homestead phone.

On the day before commencing the final stages of the trek I made contact with my wife Maree by phone, it is always a good feeling to talk to love ones when you are away for extended periods of time.
Maree spent three weeks in Italy on a well deserved break just before the departure date of the Desert trek.

My body and feet welcomed the two days of rest recharging the batteries but I soon become restless after the second nights rest wanting to head off into the final 110 k's of the trek to Oodnadatta.

Leaving the camp ground on the third morning fitness levels are good feeling like jumping out of my skin with the aim of making it to the out skirts of the Pedirka Desert by night fall

leaving Hamilton Station
old sulky parts remnants of history

The day had been mostly a flood of memories reflecting on the past events from the lead up and start of the trek continuing down to the present stage with the realisation the whole adventure is soon coming to an end.

From the beginning I had no expectations of the experiences that lay ahead, would the trek be a success or just another news story of a nut job being rescued following a dream he had hiking the Outback gone wrong, honestly I had no idea just an unexplainable drive to fulfil my personal desire.
Saying that, behind the scenes almost two years of preparation had been spent preparing for the trek ahead.

Pedirka the beginning of the End

greeted by the dogs at Pedirka outskirts 

Hopefully the hard rocky terrain is behind and the next two days of trekking will be over the rolling red sand hills of the Pedirka Desert.

Another day has come around and it is time to head into the Pedirka Desert and experience the ever changing scenery. 

softer going
Pedirka Desert

the photo doesn't capture the rolling sand hills

Navigation has become a bit more of a challenge as walking up and down the undulating terrain is quite fatiguing so the best approach is, hike along the top of the sand hills in a zig zag pattern limiting the amount of energy spent walking up and down the sand hills utilising the long ridges running roughly towards the intended direction needed. 

surprising find in a harsh landscape

As much as a relief it is hiking on soft sand instead of hard rock a second run of blisters had formed under the initial ones and they are filling with blood and quite frankly my feet are up to shit so it has come time to get some gravel in ya gut's and spit in your eye and get the job done.

At this stage I still retained the drive to make Oodnadatta but after the next run of blisters busted and my socks had become blood soaked the race had been run and a sense of self preservation set in with the only aim now is to make base camp and call it a day.

The day wore on and for all the pain, it is still an exhilarating experience you cannot explain and nothing could make you swap this present time for all the tea in China to not be trekking through the Outback.

Navigating towards the next camp site a 4x4 came along and stopped, with total amazement on his face asked if I am ok and needed help then wanted to know what in the hell I am doing out here on foot.

Well looking worse for ware I jokingly replied ' my wife has reached menopause and this is a damn sight easier to deal with ' with that his wife slapped him across the chest as he burst out laughing wishing me all the best and drove off.

After accessing the map and estimating my position the conclusion had been made that the location of base camp is about 5 k's away from here on in.

Undoubtedly that was the hardest day to endure physically, purely for the condition that my feet had degenerated to and mentally knowing there is approximately 60k's left to reach Oodnadatta that medically my feet cannot endure.

About 3k's out from camp radio contact had been reached with Brian and I am done. Brian drove out and picked me up and talked of a pleasant surprise that lay ahead at the final camp site for the trek.
It turned out to be a chock a block full crystal clear dam where you could swim, relax and recover on our final night before making the long trip home.

a true oasis and freezing cold

final trek camp site

a couple of inquisitive creatures

Thoughts and Memories

Is it disappointing not being able to trek the last 50 odd k's No, life is a journey not a destination so treat it that way and stand outside of your comfort zone occasionally. 

The trek has been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences including pain, laughter, tears, creating etched  forever memories of brilliant night sky's, seas of changing colours from reflecting light upon the Desert landscape at any given time and the unpredictable wild life encounters.

The further you are from civilization the more realization you have that the petty things in life that  bother you really are pointless so let them go and stand strong

At least once in your own life you should detach yourself from modern society and stand within the greatness of mother nature the way she intended it to be.

Your wildest dreams can become a reality if you drive towards them positively, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

One life one shot make it count, at the end all you will have are memories so etch in the exciting ones at least.

The End

My utmost appreciation goes out to all the supporters and sponsors who had a little faith in the trek which in turn made it possible to become a reality and to my wife Maree for tolerating my crazy sense of adventure and as you all know there will be more to come so stay tuned.

William j Wells


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