Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Big Red

Graeme, Bren and Matt arrived back in Birdsville last night. They collected the cache of water & food along the way and drove up Big Red once more.  Looking at the cars, I'm thinking that the trip up Big Red was before they were stuck in mud - taking an hour and a half to dig the car out. Woops...... I bet there were some rude words said during all that!

Dinner at the pub, washed the mud off the car (hot water straight from the Great Artesian basin) and crashed into bed.

They left today in all 3 cars and will be home in the next few days.  I've passed on everyone's best wishes and support of which Graeme is appreciate and grateful. Emotions are still running high but he knows this was the right decision - every time he starts to think the knee might've been ok, it catches and reminds him it's not.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Day 6 and this is not the blog post we wanted to write

Unfortunately Graeme has had to stop.  The sore left knee from yesterday felt ok when he woke up but after only 4kms with the cart the pain was too bad to continue. He can walk 'ok' (I don't really know what that means) but to carry/tow any weight/load such as the cart is no longer sustainable. He had hurt one foot about 2-3 weeks before leaving and this has been fine - the knee is a new injury.

On top of that, they had another night of heavy rain and storms so everything is sodden. For Graeme, who is just in sleeping bag under a light weight tarp with (realistic) expectations of cold dry weather this is significant impact. I can't imagine what it's going to feel like getting into that tonight.

Bren and Matt were still close by, so Graeme has spent most of the day with them in the car coming as far east as they can. Tonight they are at Camp 12 but their ETA at Birdsville isn't known. This is mostly due to the extreme weather that is being experienced across Central Australia and I guess an amount of reluctance to leave.

He's absolutely crushed by the turn of events, upset and disappointed as no doubt you might be as well for his sake.  He knows everyone will be thinking of him and wishing him well.

I will blog again when we receive any more news and/or photos but I imagine this might be a few days away still.

 Thank you everyone for the support to date to Graeme and beyondblue

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day 5 - rain, thunder and lightning

Very different day distance wise, only 6-7kms due to a sore left knee, more difficult terrain and general tiredness.

Overnight there was lots of rain, thunder and lightning. So much so, that he ended up sleeping on the ground in his sleeping bag under a tarp about 100m away from cart from 11pm-3am. He said it was so close a few times he thought for sure the cart had gone. Now that's a little scary!! Thankfully he had taken his day bag with him so at least he'd have been able to call to let us know.

No animals today - a little mouse yesterday.

Bren and Matt have caught up with him as well and they are all at Camp 6 with more rainy weather expected. When they drove across what Graeme had walked on Day 1, they had water up to the top of the tyres or at least that's what it sounded like he said on the phone tonight. Hard to imagine.

He also called Lizzy's class, 6B for a chat (and 6K listened too). They asked him lots of questions such as overnight and day time temps (8 and 18 respectively), has he seen Mad Max (I'd argue he's seen Grotty Graeme), have you seen any cactii, how long will it take you, what have you been having for dinner (honey soy chicken) etc.  At the end Lizzy's teacher let her leave the class to talk to him a bit longer - she said that was good but 'so embarrassing as everyone was looking out the window at her'.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Day 4 and a call to 4G

A bit over 19km today and much harder walking. The sand dunes have started and he said they are hard but there's worse to come.  A better night's sleep too and not so many mozzies - or putting the net up earlier worked.....

Graeme rang Nathan's class today and chatted to them all about his trip and I presume what he's been seeing.  Through that we learnt he's had a flat tyre each morning and he asked the kids to vote on whether he should continue to pump it up each morning or replace it. From memory, I think the majority voted to replace it.  Nathan was excited that the call happened but as he's not always a forthcoming child I didn't get a lot of information from him this afternoon. No doubt he'll tell me more tomorrow once he's digested it all himself.  Now Lizzie is on Graeme's case to call her class!

No animals or people or stories to tell (I've started humming the play school theme....). Apparently there might be a little rain tomorrow but he doesn't seem too worried about it. His back is good in the mornings but by the end of the day it's starting to hurt more on one side than the other so he's been adjusting the load balance on the cart and will try shifting some of the harness padding about tomorrow to see if that helps especially as these bigger dunes are coming.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Day 3

I'm going to have to start thinking of more imaginative titles for these posts......

A mixed day for Graeme with some lows and then back to even keel. I guess it's the case of all the planning to achieve a goal and then when you reach it (in this case starting), the enormity of it hits you with a bang. On top of a poor nights sleep due to stacks of pesky mozzies, a bit of a sore back still and a not so nice dehydrated meal (the only one he didn't test try before leaving), it was just a lot. By this evening he was sounding much better and he's got the mozzie net set up before going to bed.

The upsides of the day were:

  • walking a touch over 23km today camping about 3km past Madigan's Camp #5
  • seeing a small snake, 12-15cm long with copper body/black head which was very curious about the tyres on the cart. He thinks for their shade.  (I/Katrina, do not want to know what sort it was!)  
  • saw 2 other people (in a car) 
  • Lizzie's scarf is now up on the flag too as it's too hot for it at the moment and
  • having a laugh at the pink feather boa from his cousins (think Priscilla Queen of the Desert).

From tomorrow he starts to reach the sand dunes so he expects it will get harder so he won't push the kilometre's too much if that's the case.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Day 2 and photos from Day 1

Another good day for Graeme. Walked from about 730-430 and crossed off 27km.  More comfortable today, good sleep, not cold and all going well.  I forgot to ask which camps he's been through/passed but we do know that he saw one animal today and that was a Brolga just sauntering up the track in front of him.  Some water around and as you can see from the photos it's exceptionally green but still, a Brolga in the desert??

Re-assembling the cart

Graeme all rugged up and yet Bren and Matt still shorts and thongs.....funny

Graeme will sleep on the cart like this

Packing to leave

The flag and pole are so he's more visible to anyone else travelling over the dunes. 

Either the eggs cracked or they were having one last fry up 

Showing off his taping skills on his foot - more to prevent blisters than anything else

The stuffed quoll on the flag pole is Nathan's toy and Lizzie knitted the scarf he's wearing. All so he can feel closer to home.

And he's gone...the start of the 20km day 1

Monday, 13 June 2016

Day 1 of X?

Finally after months and months of talking, walking and planning Graeme has started his Walking for Talking 2 walk. 520km.....mind boggling really.

He started walking about 1030 this morning from either Madigan Camp 1 or 1A. They stayed at 1A last night so not sure if he just started there or not. Either way, he accomplished 20km hauling the cart (max weight 140kg but not sure if he knows what the starting weight actually was) and was in a good mood this evening when he called.

No sore feet and a bit of a sore back but he's ok with that given he's not hauled the cart for about 6 weeks and certainly not with that weight on it before.  Tired though so he rang us earlier than expected as he was heading off for an early night. I imagine there might be plenty more of them and much earlier starts,

Bren and Matt have gone through to Alice Springs to restock for their return trip back across (passing Graeme) to Birdsville. Thanks guys for sending him off in style I'm sure.