What’s this all about?
reconnXpedition2012 was a walk in Australia’s Simpson Desert – that’s the big red splotch in the centre of Australia. It’s the world’s largest parallel sand ridge desert and is also the driest area on the Australian mainland.
Lake Eyre – Australia’s largest salt lake and the lowest point on the continent – lies at the southeast corner of the great dune field and is shown at the bottom left of the photo below.
Why did I do this?
Curiosity. And this leads to exploration. This journey was certainly not about setting endurance records or conquering the desert. It’s simply a walk in the landscape to see what lies over the dunes beyond the horizon.
20 pads, 2 feet walking – who’s coming with me?
I walked with 5 of my professional four-legged colleagues, so it certainly was neither a solo trip nor unsupported, as they did most of the hard work.
Meet TC, Istan, Sultan, Char and Morgan.
When did it happen?
The journey began on August 4th on the western side of the desert on Andado Station and finished 35 days and nearly 700kms later outside the Birdsville Hotel in Queensland. Here’s the expedition route.
What’s the connXtion?
This journey was shared, connected via the digital world, from an ancient landscape in the heart of Australia to you, your friends at work or perhaps your school class.
Had I done anything like this before?
Sort of. Walking is what I do and I’ve calculated that during the last 16 years I have spent the equivalent of 3.4 years walking, living and exploring in the Simpson Desert on either scientific or commercial expeditions.
I have walked across the Simpson eleven times since 1995 – always a different route and always cross-country. And always with camels.
My only ‘solo’ trip in the Simpson was following the Tropic of Capricorn which bisects the northern part of the desert. On that trip in 1999 there was little time for exploring as I was on a mission to get across the continent and besides, the Simpson was in the midst of a drought so there was little feed for the camels – not a good place to hang around in.
But I’d never walked & explored the Simpson by myself, so I actually hadn’t done this before.
And now you can see how the whole journey went as I updated this blog regularly throughout the trip.
- If you are at school and would like your class to follow my journey visit Education Through Expeditions where you can access the reconnXpedition2012 profile and learn all about the Simpson Desert.
Go to the Schools page to find out more.
8 of my 11 major walks right across the Simpson have been as a leader of commercial camel expeditions and all of these expeditions are contemporary explorations and all have cut new paths across the desert and no expedition has ever gone the same way twice. Those trips were great journeys – up to 22 packcamels, 4 cameleers and 12 trekkers – but the responsibility of leading such expeditions means that there is hardly any time for me to actually relax and experience the desert one-on-one.
So I guess this trip is about my reconnection to country. Reconnection to the landscape without the demands of being an expedition leader. Some people like to drive across the desert or ride bikes or even run (there is no way I could do that!), but for me, walking across the landscape with camels is pure desert exploration.
So this is my journey – reconnection to my country, Australia.
Thanks for dropping by! Welcome to my blog.
‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’.
‘reconnXpedition’ – (c) by Andrew Harper