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Prickly bush-Camp — 2000-08-22

We manage to get up on time today, but a cold wind blows through us during loading. The camels are as nervous as they’ve been the last few days and we finally get going at 10:00 a.m. Tanja has climbed up onto the rock in order to film the caravan from there and I walk back and forth a dozen times in the hope of getting one good scene on film. We yell commandos to one another, ‘Stop!!’ Tanja calls. ‘Again! No, the other way! Don’t walk such a big curve! More to the left! Yes, that’s good! Stop! Slower!’ she yells with all her might from above and before we know it an hour and a half have past. While I’m walking here and there, I discover a fantastic camping spot with plenty of great food for the camels, and am angry that we hid ourselves from people that weren’t even there. Since arriving at Walga Rock, we’ve not laid eyes on a single human being. Tanja climbs back down to me at 11:30 a.m. and we pack the camera into one of the saddle bags before taking a walk around the entire monolith.

As we find ourselves on the track to Cue once more, at least 15 to 20 cars pass us by, all tourists on the way to Walga Rock. Not one of the cars drives past us without pausing briefly to ask us a few questions and take a few photos. Even during our midday rest on the side of the road, some friendly tourists stop to speak with us as we devour our obligatory instant soup. One interested lady asks, ‘Do you speak to your camels in Arabic?’ ‘They can speak fluent German by now’ Tanja jokes. ‘Did you bring them with you from Germany?’ the lady aks. ‘No, they are from Australia,’ Tanja returns, and begins to explain that approximately 100.000 to 200.000 wild camels live in this country. How much water does a camel drink? How much can they carry? How many kilometres do you walk per day? What do you eat? Where do you sleep? Why are you doing this? Are you raising funds for something? Is it correct, that these animals bite, spit and kick? And many more questions are thrown at us. After studying the map for a while, I realise that we must have missed a turn somewhere. About 5 kilometres after Walga Rock there is a narrow track which leads north, directly to the Big Bell Mine. From there we can reach the Coodardy Station, our goal of the week. Unfortunately this road we are on leads west and I ask some of the tourists if they have noticed a road branching off this one. ‘Yes, back there,’ one man says and points back along the road. ‘How far is it to the turnoff?’ I ask. ‘Ohh, I’m not sure. About ten kilometres,’ he answers, scratching his head. We decide to follow the track back and hope that the turnoff is a good distance this side of Austin Down Station. My GPS shows 15,5 km to Coodardy in the afternoon and an hour later it shows 16,5 km. ‘I think we’re going the long way around. Let’s walk a little bit further and if we don’t find the turnoff then we’ll set up camp,’ I say to a very tired looking Tanja. At 4:30 p.m. we set up camp just two hundred metres from the track, in a lovely spot with plenty of yummy prickly bushes for the camels to eat.

Day: 103






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