Starting from Billiluna in the north near Halls Creek on 31 May 2013, Gaynor Schoeman walked solo for 66 days, carrying a backpack of 30kg, finishing 1657km later in the tiny outback goldfields town of Wiluna on 05 August 2013.
Gaynor was raising money for quadriplegic wheelchair rugby players under the banner Walk 4 Wheels and Walk 4 Wings in memory of hangglider pilot and friend, Bruce McClunan, who broke his neck on 1st April 2011.
Many class this walk as unsupported, done in the same way as the first successful walkers lead by Murray Rankin in 1976. Whilst I did not walk with vehicle support, or with another person, without the help of Andy Sutcliffe in establishing my supply route before the walk, and my food sponsors, this walk would not have been possible. For this reason I class my 2013 desert walk only as SOLO .... by my own standards.
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'Kartiya are like Toyotas. When they break down we get another one.'
– remark by a Western Desert woman about whitefellas
who work in Indigenous communities
UNLIKE THE BROKEN Toyotas, which are abandoned where they fall, cannibalised, overturned, gutted and torched, the broken kartiya go away – albeit often feeling they have been cannibalised, overturned, gutted and torched. They leave behind them dying gardens and unfinished projects, misunderstandings and misplaced good intentions. The best leave foundations on which their replacements can build provisional shelters while they scout the terrain, while the worst leave funds unaccounted for, relationships in ruins and communities in chaos.
There are many reasons why kartiya break down.Read more...
GOAL ZERO Australia has sponsored the use of some very neat equipment. Reviews to follow after this journey.
The desert called ... I answered.
In November and December 2015 I return to the deserts to experience, amongst other things, the heat. I will be living with a small group of Australia's First People.
If anyone is travelling the Canning Stock Route north to south at this extreme time of year, start date between 18 December and 7 January ...... and has space for a CSR savvy hitchhiker ... please Contact Gaynor. It is my wish to experience the CSR in all its seasons. Temperatures we can expect are between 40-47C, but it could go up to 52C on a very bad day. The Canning less travelled .... Sound like fun? :-) Yeah, I know, not for everyone.
This was The Canning Walker's Challenge for 2015 and a summary of how that went, all completed in winter.
A summer crossing will be very different, a minimum four weeks needs to be planned for due to the very real possibility of encountering desert storms, flooding and bogging ... and for my part, I need to be back in Perth by 8 February in order to make my flight back to South Africa. This is not something I can changed due to visa expiry the next day.
A quick cv of my CSR experiences:
2010 hitched from Billiluna to Wiluna in a 2WD Peugeot 505
2011 hitched from Kunawarritji to Halls Creek in multiple vehicles, staying at wells for up to a week between lifts
2013 travelled in a vehicle from Wiluna to Billiluna burying supplies for my solo walk
2013 walked it solo from Billiluna to Wiluna in 66 days, without a support vehicle
2015 drove Wiluna to Halls Creek solo in 2.5 months (bush tucker and water research)
2015 drove it again Halls Creek to Wiluna with a passenger
Yes ... I love the Canning Stock Route.