Smile: it makes people wonder what you’re up to.

The past week has been a busy one with a training walk in the desert, following up on some sponsorship letters (my theory is that if I keep nagging they’ll eventually actually have to say no rather then just ignore me), and then meeting a lady who has just run from the geographical centre of Australia, across the Simpson Desert and into Birdsville.

Mum and Dad ready for action!

Last week I was left a little stunned but very proud when Dad suggested they join me for a walk into the desert, so bright and early Easter Sunday I picked them up and headed off into the dunes. After a bumpy drive around the water and a comment of “you better give it some, cause if you start sliding you’ll never get out” while we drove along the slope of the dune, we made it to the foot of the sandhill to start. There was a little 4 legged mate (dingo) waiting for us and proceeded to follow us half way up the first sandhill before realising we weren’t food and thus turned off into the spinifex. Over the past few months I have read a few pieces that tend to suggest dingoes enjoy following people on foot, so as long as only 1 or 2 decide to follow me I’ll be content, anymore then that and Walter may have to become a multi purpose tool (walking stick and bite stick in one).

Off for our walk into the desert.

We were quick to notice how distances can deceive you in the desert as upon cresting one dune we assumed the big one further on was just over the next one. It quickly dawned on us that there were about 4 or 5 small ones between them and as such made getting to that one “just over there” take a little longer. I was particularly amused when conversation turned to the dune in question and I said it wouldn’t take us 20 minutes to get there. Dad, who is as sharp as a kinfe, quickly suggested we slow down then. Being their first time walking over the desert, I was extremely proud of how well they both handled the dunes, with mum even tearing away in front of Dad and I. In the end we strolled up Big Red to take a look at the lake which has remained on the eastern side for over 2 years now, and then it was back to consuming copious amounts of chocolate for easter and study for the rest of the day.

Friendly flies!

Later in the week I heard of a lady who had just run over the desert in an attempt to become the first female to do so. I have received a few comments about Jane stealing my thunder/stepping on toes etc, but considering I do not run anywhere I was never going to be the first female to do that. So no, there was definately no thunder stealing going on. I will admit that for a moment I did wonder how I could justify asking people to donate when a lady who is twice my age just did something much harder, but a few choice words from Michael set me straight again and I quickly remembered it’s all for a good cause and walking 435km across 1100 sandhills still isn’t necessarily easy.

Jane (Trumper) was a great source of information about what to expect when I cross, and was so convincing I am even putting in an order for another pair of shoes just like hers (mainly as her feet were still in pristine condition with only 1 blister). Being an ultrarunner Jane regularly runs 100km+ events, and I was left a little bewildered when she said she is aiming to run her 100th marathon this year, but the 650km she just ran didn’t count towards it. To make up for it though she is running a marathon tomorrow. Being a professional when it comes to endurance events her tips and tricks were invaluable and I will definately be putting some of them in place come June 25th. Thanks to Jane for taking the time to chat with me and congratulations on a massive feat succesfully undertaken. You can read more about Jane’s run by clicking here and donate to Bear Cottage – an initiative of the Children’s Hospital Westmead.

In other news, the Birdsville Hotel is continuing their support of The Long Walk Home with their Friday night chook raffles, while the Birdsville Roadhouse will soon be on board as well but you’ll hear more about that in due course. Over the coming months I will be holding a couple of raffles with major prizes, as well as auctioning some great items including a 4 day trip to Lake Eyre (ex. Adelaide) thanks to Lake Eyre Tours. If anybody is interested in donating items for the raffles or if you have a unique item for auction please contact me at thelongwalkhome2012@gmail.com.

If you have read this far and are still wondering what the title of this post is all about it’s simple: Smile.

Jenna 🙂

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