After a trip into the desert it all seems quite ok now.
I recently read that “opportunity is missed by most people, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”, apparently it was said by our good friend Thomas Edison and since then I have found a new perspective on things. Opportunities come in all shapes and forms from the chance to get up early to see the sunrise, to the chance to make your dreams come true by working towards a goal. How many times do we let opportunities slip us by because we can’t be bothered, or it seems too hard. I am the first to admit that over time I have let many opportunities slip past me as I’ve had other things to do, afterall I doubt I’d finish anything if I said yes to everything.
Yesterday I was offered the chance to head out into the desert with some friends (Don and Lyn Rowlands), one of whom also happens to be the Simpson Desert National Park Ranger. This was simply too good of an opportunity to pass up so I jumped at the chance and headed off early this morning into the desert. No matter how many times I see the colours and features of the desert it still amazes me. With the current weather conditions the desert is alive with vegetation and animals, and at many times you wonder if you are actually in a desert at all. With lakes of water, green trees and lizards walking across the ground, you could be mistaken for thinking you were anywhere but a desert.
Even though I have lived in Birdsville my whole life, I have never taken the opportunity to venture deep into the desert. Today’s journey was more then just a look at what I would be facing, it was a step back in time to gain an understanding of what the desert is about. By deciding to walk across the desert I feel I owe it to myself, and to those who want to teach to learn what I can about the area and its importance to those who survive today. Seeing the boundaries and thinking that one person dragged a chain through the hostile environment to mark the South Australia/Queensland border, or photographing what remains of the Rabbit Proof Fence show what a long history the desert has. In later posts I will write about my personal connection with the desert including the fact that for the first time today I saw the piece of land my granddad first bought, as well as the aboriginal history associated with the area, but for now I would rather describe why it all seems quite ok now.
Seeing the walking surface up close has made the whole walk a little less daunting. A while ago when people were starting to get behind the walk, I had to take a moment to freak and wrote to Michael saying something along the lines of “…that’s a lot of people to disappoint”. Now though it doesn’t seem so bad. Although I once said and I quote, “my body wasn’t made to feel the rhythm”, I hope to get myself into a rhythm of one foot in front of the other, one dune after the next, which will hopefully result in me getting from point A (Dalhousie Springs) to point B (Birdsville) in one piece. As the desert is so wide the geography naturally changes, but the actual act of going up and over each of the thousand sand dunes seems ok. The wide distances between the dunes on the Eastern side of the desert should give me some time to recover from the long climb up the Western face of the dunes, while the fact that the first 40 odd kilometers of the walk will be across relatively flat ground to the start of the dunes gives me hope. In fact the only real thing that makes me a little nervous is the fact that we saw a pack of 4 dingoes on the road today, and as such I will be keeping a very firm hold of my UHF while walking. I have no intention of climbing a tree should they see me as a potential feed so dear support crew…please keep your radio on AT ALL TIMES!
At the moment there are few cars travelling the desert, and combined with a few drops of rain and a bit of wind, the surface is quite compact. This however will change, as with the cooler months comes the convoy of visitors to the area who will undoubtedly soften the sand making it much more exhausting to walk across. I do however still feel that it will be quite ok now…