Jul 23 2017

Travelling the Simpson Desert. Part 2

Day 2. 155k into the Simpson Desert.

Simpson landscape_03Not being in any hurry, I lay in my swag and watched the sunrise. If only somebody was here to make me coffee! That’s the trouble with travelling on your own, you have to do everything yourself. Eventually I had to get up and make my own coffee, after relighting the fire from the night before.

After taking my time and having a look around I thought I’d better pack up and get on the road. As per usual with my travels, it was 9am before I got away. No sense in hurrying anything!

Again, a cruisy day.

Simpson wildflowerAny dunes that were there were slight, and mainly hard packed or with clay approaches. The toughest thing about them was the ruts at the top where people hadn’t made it up and sat near the top spinning their wheels and digging holes. Or where they had come up from the other side and the car had made it over, but the trailer hadn’t, with the same outcome. Big ruts near the top.

But even that wasn’t too bad. I could slow down enough to get through the ruts without too much bouncing, and still make it over the top. I didn’t even have to put the car into low range.

Getting down the other side was worse than going up. From the east the dunes are much longer and steeper, and they had been chopped up so badly that a couple of times I wasn’t sure if I could make it down. It was like rock climbing, with eroded areas along the sides. Having a small car I couldn’t always straddle the ruts, and sometimes ended up at an alarming angle.

I’m very glad I wasn’t the last person coming through east to west having to drive up them!

I’ve discovered that if you can’t go fast on corrugations the next best option is to go slow. Very slow. So I have, sometimes walking pace. It deals with the corrugations and gives me time to look around at the scenery.

Simpson jumped inthe carAt the junction with the WAA track, which I was going to take, I got out to take some photos when a little black and white bird appeared. It wasn’t the least bit afraid of me, but hopped around watching what I was doing. It even jumped into my car at one stage. I don’t know what sort of bird it was, but I thought of it as a wattle bird. Every time I saw one, and that was quite a bit as they seemed to be the most common birds around, they were flitting through or around the wattle.

I was just thinking to myself that things were a lot easier than I expected, when suddenly they weren’t anymore. And I do mean sudden. Things went from “I’m really enjoying this”, to “get me out of here” with nothing in between.

Just past the Colson Track, on the WAA line, I hit real sand dunes. No more clay, no more hard packed sand.

Simpson in furtherThe first dune was a shock. I crested a clay capped dune, then right there in front of me was sand, no more clay. Just soft, red sand. I dropped the tyre pressure to 14psi, put it into low range, and got more momentum than I had used so far. And then there was another dune immediately following with a turn to the left and then right again.

It was almost time to pull up to make camp, but I thought I’d better get a few more dunes under my belt before I did. 5k of them. That’s enough of an introduction! Now it’s time to pull up to make camp. And try to stop shaking. I’m not sure if it’s excitement, or fear, or possibly a combination of both.

Just as I pulled up three black crows circled my camp, and landed in a semi circle about 15 metres away just looking at me. Then they flew in circles around me and landed again, just looking at me. One of them kept coming back. An attempted murder in my campsite!

I’m hoping it’s a good omen for tomorrow. Or maybe they’re just after food.

Trouble is, it gets harder from here. Only another 300k to go!

 

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