Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

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rodot
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by rodot » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:26 am

Congratulations Mick. Thanks for posting these pics. I am sure you had a fantastic honeymoon. The pictures you have posted bring back wonderful memories. I'm heading off next week on a trip to the UK and Europe for seven or eight weeks, but in my heart I would much rather head out to the back of Queensland and the NT. An area of great beauty and genuine, honest and down to earth friendly people. It beats the usual Bali of Fiji holiday any day.
Okwata LC,
Northwind,
Quetico

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:20 am

G'day Roger and thanks mate.

Evie was born and bred in the outback so she is a country girl by any standard. This trip was very special for us both in many ways, not the least of which was the "little surprised one comes across every here and there.

On with the saga, a bit further on, we came across an ancient native well.

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This was in reality, little more than a shallow vertical shaft in the ground about a metre deep and 400mm in diameter. The nomadic aboriginal tribes travelled across these vast deserts relying on a system of these shallow wells for survival.

I just can't even imagine what life must have been like for them in country like this

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where it continued unchanged for hundreds of kilometres in every direction

We were now crossing the northern edge of Sturts Stony Desert and it is exactly as described in its name, stony. Imagine a gravel pit, thousands of square kilometres big.

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:44 am

As things turned out on this leg of the trip, the flies were so bad on every stop that we continued on to Birdsville, arriving in the late afternoon and set up camp in the local camping ground- hot, thirsty and dusty.

The following day, after having a bit of a look around the place, we unhooked the camper and headed west towards the start of the Simpson Desert. The deserts here go for several hundred kilometres in any direction and then change their name abd become another desert. Sometimes they even have different characteristics :D

While Sturts Stony desert was a giant gravel pit, The Simpson Desert consists of hundreds of giant sand hills, stretching South to North and encompasses three states

Our goal was to climb Big Red, The first big sand hill on the eastern edge of this part of the Simpson :mrgreen:

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Big Red

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Without further adoo, we engaged low range, second gear and climbed the beast :D Oh man, I so want to do that again!

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The track east to Birdsville

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and west through the Simpson (gonna do that trip one day)

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Back to Birdsville to find that the locals have developed their own ways of coping with the bloody flies,

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an absolute necessity out here :mrgreen:

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:04 am

Birdsville! an iconic outback name here but not much really when one actually gets there. It has a big race track where camel and horse races are held once a year, A pub (bar) where one just has to got ones photo taken in front of :D

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and a bakery that doesn't sell bread but does make a very good camel meat pie (so I'm told)

and the fact that it is located between to massive deserts and on the banks of the Diamantina River 8)

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Evie and I went for a sunset paddle here and I just have to share some images of this.

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tx river rat
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by tx river rat » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:31 pm

Mick
Great post keep them coming
Question ,how long does it take to set up your camp?
Ron

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:18 pm

G'day Ron and thanks mate.

Re the camp, main tent only, I can set up on my own in about 10 minutes To attach the side annex, walls and front, perhaps another 10 minutes :D

I am trying to finish off this post this week. Evie and I are heading off again on Monday. I am in pre retirement mode now and hope to retire in about October. 8) 8)

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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Oldsparkey » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:52 pm

Mick....

After you retire you will be asking yourself Why didn't I do this a lot sooner. :D

Chuck.
Remember:
Amateurs built the Ark...... Professionals built the Titanic
Visit some fine paddlers at The Southern Paddler

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:22 am

That's what all my (retired) mates are telling me now Chuck. :D

After a couple more days in Birdsville, taking in the sights ...

Desert recovery vehicle

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Towns artesian drinking water supply. it comes out of the ground at near boiling point

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and fueling up and filling every container we had with water,

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we headed off down the Birdsville track

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to the South Australian border,


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time for a cuppa :D

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:42 am

A few more kilometres down the road and we hit the Walker's Crossing track. A track that runs across the Strzelecki Desert to the Strzelecki Track and then on to Innamincka. About 240 klms on the map (it turned out to be much further then this) and lots of soft sand hills to climb


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In between the sand dunes there was lots of country like this

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and every time we found shade, we made another cuppa

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The crossing took all day (and well into the night) and included about five hours of genuine four wheel driving through very soft sand. My little Nissan was loaded with about a ton of stuff and the trailer weighed about a ton and a half and had about 160 kilograms of down weight on the drawbar. The little 2.5 litre turbo diesel handled it with aplomb and neither the trailer nor the vehicle missed a beat during the hard work they did on this crossing. I am very impressed.

This track comes out near the Moomba gas and oil fields and said track was pretty clear cut on both our paper maps and on our Hema navigator (which was loaded with the latest topographic maps) However, as we neared the south eastern end of the track, a maze of unchartered roads hit us from all directions. :shock: They are apparently sinking oil wells everywhere out here and are building bloody roads to them faster than they can be mapped. Long story - short, 4 hours later we arrived at the main Moomba processing plant and I parked near the security gate and walked in to talk to somebody who might be able to make some sense. The bloke was very helpful, offered us coffee and brought up satellite imagery of exactly where we were and which turns to take to get to Innamincka.

Moomba in the distance as we left. That was the only sign post we saw on the entire crossing

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after yet another cuppa in the desert at about 11pm with dingoes howling all around us and our little poodle puppy freaking out

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We headed off to Innamincka and arrived there about 1am.

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Mick
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Re: Sasquatch in the Outback (Oz) Desert

Post by Mick » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:31 am

The reason we did not set up camp in this desert is this little plant. The greenery in some of the pics is made up of this little brute. The seed pods on it are about the size of a pea and there are hundreds of them on each plant. When touched, they sort of disintegrate and each pod disperses thousands of little needle like seeds that are almost impossible to see, let alone get out. They sting like hell too.

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