18-Jul-2014 -- I was up with the first glow of light on the eastern horizon and had the fire going for the morning cup of tea. Distant camel roaring drifted across the corridor from a distant dune.
Final preparations on the quads and the assault team were heading off east at 0640 a.m. for the 24 kilometre run to the East. The initial two km was along a samphire pan and then it was off across the scrub. Huge dunes many of which had been burnt over. Some easy going in freshly burnt patches and then some horrendous old growth stuff as well. Several groups of rocky outcrops where the worn sandstone had penetrated the sands of the desert. Plenty of birdlife with bustards, birds of prey, galahs, and finches. I was nearly knocked off the quad by a bunch of green chirping rockets as a flock of budgies travelling at warp five with the terrain following radar activated, went vertical directly in front of me. It was like a screaming green wall and it frightened the bejesus out of both John and I.
The colours of the land were heightened by the early morning sun, the deep reds and greens with the contrasting blue of the sky, everything pristinely sharp and clear.
Radio comms suffered and Larry drifted off to the Northeast a bit. John and I took whatever advantage we could find in burnt or new growth territory, preferring a smoother ride over a straight line course. The final km or so was on the southern side of a dune in thick bushy shrubs. We found our confluence, the Garmins zeroing in faithfully to a point near the top of a small dune. A bit of confluence shuffle and it was there 22S 124E. A drink of water and a muesli bar to celebrate, some photos and we were off on the return journey.
Slightly different route home going for as much burnt area as possible and working our way around the back of the rocky outcrops. Raised camp 7 km out and advised to have kettle on boil. Arrived back flat chat at 09.55 p.m., a good result time wise. When you’re cresting those dunes in the middle of nowhere you realise just how big this country is and how insignificant a dude on a quad is.