First Solo Walk of Australia's Canning Stock Route

End of the CSR for Gaynor Schoeman Canning WalkerThe Canning Walker's Challenge for 2013

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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What's new? Western 4WDriver pubished a 6 page article entitled 'A Walker on the Canning'.

Fuel Sponsor

Les The Perentie and I are looking for fuel sponsors
If you are in a position to assist, please Contact Gaynor

Gaynor and her Ex-Australian Army Land Rover, nicknamed Les after the Bush Tucker Man Les Hiddens, will be exploring the Canning Stock Route over a period of 3-4 months, learning about bush tucker and desert survival. A crowd fundraising page for fuel and gearbox repairs has been set up to Get Les on the Canning.

Gaynor Schoeman greasing the nuts on her Land Rover, nicknamed Les after Les Hiddens

The Canning Walkers Challenge for 2015

Gaynor camping on the Tanami in 2009Following my passion ...

In 2015 I return to Country, but this time by more traditional means. I will be driving a 4x4. Three to four months steeped in desert adventure ... learning more about the land ... and myself ... for the sheer joy of that experience.

With nothing to prove ... no stressing of body ... no urgent need to keep on moving to achieve a goal ... no destination ... just time to Be ... And let the desert in.

I have always wanted to do this ...

My journey is a continuation of a 5 year love affair with an area known as the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia. 1657km of arid land, red sand dunes, gorgeous sunsets, sunkissed spinifex, treacherous salt pans, curious dingoes, frisky camels, twittering birds and a string of ageing drovers wells in various stages of disrepair. I love this land!

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Equipment 2015

I am looking forward to this coming season...

Buying a 4x4 I could afford, prepping it and putting together enough equipment and food for 3-4 months of 4x4 and desert walking adventure has been a learning curve of note. I came in wet behind the ears and by necessity I am learning to dry them fast with challenging new experiences every day, not least of all sifting through the Tsunami of advice that seldom is agreed upon by more than two people. Trying to work out what is best for me means that I have to ask questions and become educated. I have made a lot of mistakes.

Most of my hiking equipment is self funded, but a few people who believe in what I am doing and who I am, have fully sponsored a bountiful array of 4x4 products for my use. My thanks to you for your faith in me ... and your product. This is no small feat. I am known for my blunt honesty. I tell it like I see it. If the product does what it is said to do, I am an enthusiastic ambassador. If it does not, I do comment on what I see as the pros and cons. Desert Survival demands honesty and I will not compromise in this.

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Nutrition 2015

In 2015 I will be testing out a couple of nutritional options over 3-4 months out in the desert.

  • Bush Tucker. I am going to starve, I get that. Having started the learning process in walking with the Nyae-Nyae Bushmen and women of Namibia, I have read a number of books on the subject of Australian Bush Tucker specific to this desert region and hope to learn in practice this year from those who will teach me. To ensure my body stays healthy during this learning process, I will be taking some western food with me in order to give my body and skills time to adapt.
  • I like the idea of eating more source foods than processed, but my body needs nurturing in that transition in order not to shock it. I am investigating a balance of western style meal replacements and high density nutrient rich source foods with enough calories and electrolytes to keep me alive and healthy during this learning period, but I  can't make it too easy on myself. I need to stay hungry in order to stay motivated to find the necessary bush food for my survival. A dietitian is assisting, putting together a custom formula which I will be eating for most of my time on the Canning. No fancy pot roasts for this girl, but a coal roasted goanna would be welcome. The base for the formula we are testing is FutureLife High Protein and Abbotts Ensure Powder, adding a combination of 'Super Foods' like cacao, maca, chaga and almond powder, chia and hemp seeds, Goji and Golden/Cape Goose Berries, Maqui Berry and similar anti-oxident powders like Maximum Vibrance (spirulina) and a number of rehydration solutions including coco-lyte, to see what works. Can I survive on these products together with what ever meager bush food I find? This is what I will be testing in 2015. Weight loss and energy levels will be recorded, especially before, during and after my short two week training hikes.
  • Happy Camper Gourmet meals and other 4x4 camping food for the month of June, so there will be a welcome change in my new 'survival food' diet.

In the middle of my Les Hiddens style of adventure, I will be supporting a Canning Stock Route cyclist, 75 year old Erik Nordenson from the USA, eating the same nutrition he has chosen for his journey - Happy Camper Gourmet meals. Our set up is basic, we have very few luxuries, our preferred nutrition needing to survive the desert temperatures, the corrugations and have a long shelf life. 

This is what is confirmed so far:

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