First solo walk of Australia's Canning Stock Route

Canning Walk CompletedThe 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 quadrepligics 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.

Click on the logos for media reports.

                                                     Kalgoorlie Miner news article JPG

Many class this walk as unsupported, done in the same way as the first succussful unsupported walkers lead by Murray Rankin in 1976. I, however, do not. Whilst I did not travel with vehicle support or walk 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.

Desert Diary to Book, Every Step of the Way

Thank you for reading the first pages of my Desert Diary. Prompted by readers interest, I am in the process of writing a book about what it takes for a woman to walk across a desert alone, the realities and the 'why' of it, something so many people ask me.

Solo desert walking is not for the faint hearted. The walk forever changed me, the raw feeling of isolation and loneliness shattering my 'I am an island' world, prompting me to seek connection in a way I have not done before. It has not been an easy, but if I was looking for easy I would sit down in front of a television and surrender my mind.

This will be my first attempt at publishing a book. There is only one way I can write and that is from the heart. It is not in my nature to provide a glossed over recreation of how I would like things to have been.  There is no learning, no discovery in that. My life is about discovery and about transformation.

Walkers - 1972 to Today

2009 Gaynor Hitchhiking the Tanami


My passion for Canning Stock Route history, particularly foot powered traverses started in 2009 whilst hitchhiking the Tanami Track from Hall Creek to Alice Springs. I spent just one night in Billiluna and that is all it took. I was hooked. Since then I have hitchhiked the CSR twice, once with multiple lifts and once in a sedan (non 4x4 vehicle), driven it in a 4WD as a passenger and I have walked it solo with the aid of supply drops, without a support vehicle.

My continued interest is in one day achieving an unsupported traverse between Billiluna to Wiluna, living off the land. All facts suggest that this is impossible at the moment, but one day I believe it will be possible. And so I keep looking....researching and sharing my information with you, so that even if I cannot do it, maybe you can.




Cycling the Canning Stock Route

2013 CSR Cyclist Scott Felters Porcelainrocket set-upINFORMATION UPDATED 2014-07-27

According to historians Ronel and Eric Gard, the first cyclists to traverse the Great and Little Sandy Deserts were gold prospectors back in 1913 who pushed their bicycles across the desert on their way to the Tanami goldfields. In 1913 the CSR had only been open for three years. The wells were in good order, providing water roughly every 25km to the intrepid gold seekers. They would still have had to carry all their own camping equipment, food, and daily water and there was no obvious track to follow.

Today, other than 4WD enthusiasts, it is only the cyclist who has managed to conquer the Canning Stock Route completely unsupported. The reason for the difficulty is that of the 51 Wells, only 10 have survived the ravages of time, leaving gaps of up to 200+ kilometres along the 1650-1850km traverse without fresh water. The track is a mixutre of churned up sand, rock and bone shaking corrugations, the vegetation such that even the Aborigine nolonger survive off the land, the last of the nomads coming out of the desert in the mid 1970's. And so it is that without vehicle safety back up or the luxury of supply drops, a peculiar breed of cyclist took up the challenge. These Canning Stock Route completely unsupported cyclists are rare, but there is more than one and it has been done on more than one occasion.

Summary of CSR cycle events from 1996 to Today


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