2010 & 2011 Gaynor Schoeman - CSR Hitchhiker

The Canning Stock Route Hitchhiker

Gaynor Schoeman - The Canning Hitchhiker

Hitching The Tanami from Halls Creek to Alice Springs in September 2009, one of my lifts was with Canning Stock Route travellers, Dan Riggall and friends. For the next five nights they enthralled with campfire stories of their adventures on the Canning. The seed was planted. The Canning Stock Route was my next adventure!

The following year I asked for and received permission to  live in Billiluna Aboriginal Community as a volunteer whilst researching what I needed to know about hitchhiking the Canning Stock Route. It was during this time, May through to June, that I read about Murray Rankin, the most famous of all modern day Canning traveller's in the book, The Canning Stock Route - A Traveller's Guide by Eric and Ronele Garde. I was astonished. Someone had walked it! And with that, I was already planning my next trip.

Most Canning traveller's I spoke with during those six weeks in Billiluna thought I was absolutely barmy or at best, a dangerously naive and ignorant tourist. Everyone, bar two Canning motor cyclists that is, the only people to give me positive information on well water quality, dingoes and my ability to survive hitching from one working well to the next.

The Canning Hitchhiker

The 4x4 travellers were kindly, but ... 'Hitchhike the Canning? It can't be done. It is an absolutely crazy idea. The well water is contaminated. There is no space in any of the vehicles. No one will be able to give you a lift, even if they wanted to. Look for yourself!' And they would point to their 4x4's packed to the ceiling with everything including the freezer, toilet seat and DVD player. Some had enough spares and tools to rebuild much of their overladen vehicles. There certainly was no space for a person with a backpack.

And there I was, reading about a man who had walked across these deserts with two friends, 34 years ago. Hitchhiking the Canning seemed like the easy option to me! As ridiculous as the idea seemed to others, I never doubted my ability to succeed.

2010 - The first known hitchhiker Gaynor Schoeman, thumbed a lift from Billiluna Community to Wiluna with Andy Sutcliffe in a 1981 Peugeot 505 two wheel drive vehicle. She lived 6 weeks in the Aboriginal Community of Billiluna before getting that lift. Andy Sutcliffe tells the story of the Peugeot 505 on the Canning

2011 - Gaynor hitched the Canning a second time, this time from Kunawarritji Community to Billiluna in around 23 days, learning more about living in the wilds alone.

2013 - Gaynor Schoeman graduated from hitchhiking to ultra long distance walking, completing the first solo walk of the Canning Stock Route in 66 days. Walking alone, carrying a backpack of 30kg, utilising prepositioned supply drops,  Gaynor started her walk from Billiluna on 31 May and finished in Wiluna 05 August 2013.

BOOK - Gaynor Shoeman hitchhikes the CSR twice 2010–11 by Phil Bianchi in Work Completed, Canning




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