So, for the last few days the lecture had gone out… I don’t need any surprises in the last few days.
Today was SUPPOSED to be a 56km day. Some fun up on Big Red, a swim in the water off the Eastern side of the dune and a peaceful night’s sleep before my run into Birdsville…..
I had a headwind all day that was like dragging a tyre. We had dunes. I was running well considering the wind, probably because the temp was a mere 37C and the coolest day we’d had.
I was doing really well until I had a meeting with Garry 10 kms from the end of the day… he had been looking at the maps and realised that they were measuring short compared to his GPS longitude and latitude… so what did that mean?? Just do another 18kms instead of 10kms and you’ll hit Big Red.
Shit. OK, I can handle that… 56kms is too easy. 64kms pffttt. Getting perspective was easy… my health, my family, my happiness, my crew that were all there to the bitter end… life is good. Off I went……….. first obstacle was Mr oxyuranusInland Taipan…. pretty much the most dangerous snake in the world….. Thanks to Garry for seeing it first and keeping me safe. xox
So my plan of a swim went out the window and I told Peter and Ellis to join Garry, Janet and Suse for 4WD fun on Big Red while I did the extra kms. Seeing Big Red up ahead was pretty obvious because of the activity with people and cars up on top. Looked like a sand ski slope. (Yes, that’s cars and people on the top… not trees.)
We had to camp on the western side of Big Red as there is no camping on the Birdsville side (Private property) I ran up the bugger anyway. I couldn’t stand the thought of getting back to Sydney and having anyone ask.
The next few hours were the most confusing and yes… there were a few surprises I would rather have not had………….
So, up the top of Big Red I met Jimmy, an Aboriginal elder. He said he had never seen water on the eastern side of Big Red like that. We were less than 40kms from Birdsville as the crow flies. The track was under water. Could I swim?
Ideas were thrown around… go to Little Red, wade through water … how deep? How cold will the water be at the start of my last day? Just because it was over 30C at 9am didn’t mean it was warm at 6.30am… do I risk it? Does it cut many Kms off the detour ? Do I run an extra 20kms on my last day.. how far was the detour? It was all a bit wishy washy. No surprises??? Really?
Let’s get to camp and work out what the most reliable route is to get me to Birdsville without taking too many chances.
So the cars drive off Big Red and I run down following them to where we are going to camp. Garry is setting up and I see Peter’s car drive off (hopefully to work out the best track out of there in the morning)
THE RED BAG! My red bag had everything important in it. My garmin/ipod recharger, fleecy to wear at night, toothbrush/toothpaste/ baby wipes (I mean my shower!), head torch/batteries, blister repair kit, you name it, if it was important, it was in my red bag. Well……. it took off with Peter’s car. No worries, he’ll be back soon…. NOT.
For some reason he wasn’t contactable on the VKS radio. Camp was set up and we were throwing ideas around on the plan for the last day. I thought the safest option was to run the extra kms and stay dry.
It turned cold, Garry had given me his jumper. I sat around wondering why Peter had driven into Birdsville. The talk of getting petrol for Garry’s car didn’t ring true. These guys were conservative and there is no way they didn’t have enough petrol for the last 60 kms or so. What’s going on??
The 4 of us had dinner, listened to Janet’s Camp Kitchen Cooking show and watched a slideshow of some of Garry’s photos.
I really needed that bag. I had 608kms on my garmin and I was sure as hell I wasn’t going to lose my total distance on the last day because I was unable to recharge. I needed to get clean, dry, fix my feet, clean my teeth and get my head torch. I was pretty frustrated. You know how great a friend is when she offers to let me use her toothbrush….. (I declined for her sake)
It must have been close to 10 pm when I decided I needed to get some sleep. We had tried numerous times to get Peter on the radio and he finally answered. He and Ellis were on the other side of Big Red and didn’t want to risk getting lost in the dark. They were staying there the night! Dammit!!! Their suggestion for the morning was for me to run over Little Red to the water and wade across. Just after we’d decided to run the added kms…
So, scramble to find dirty clothes, old shoes, space blanket, jacket… anything else I’d need to get through water and then get WARM. I needed a water tight zip lock bag with dry gear and shoes to wear for the rest of the day…. Garry, Suse and Janet would have to drive the added 20 km(?)detour to where Peter and Ellis were, so I needed to carry everything I needed across the water… what do I do if I have to swim? The NO SURPRISES was not working. I should have been in a happy serene state knowing that I was going to get to Birdsville tomorrow, but this confusion was doing my head in.
I lay down and listened to Garry and Janet start packing stuff up in preparation for the hasty exit tomorrow morning. With only one support car and no idea what route to take, Garry was only going to be happy if he and Janet were right with me as I left camp and got to the water. The plan was for Ellis to check depth and meet me my side of the water at Little Red (sand dune)…..
Too many surprises for one day…. no sleep tonight…. That’s a lot of water.