Big Red and on to Birdsville
Updated: Jul 29, 2019
From Madigan Line Camp 20 on to the QAA Line, and up Big Red to Birdsville
Ok I lied about the flies, there were shit tons this morning, and the crows woke us up pretty early, making a hell of a racket. As always, it was a fairly slow and relaxed breakfast and pack up. Even though the actual packing up only takes about 5 minutes when we need to beat a hasty exit, the process generally takes us 2 hours on the road… but we like it that way, it’s nice to relax and take our time, sip our tea, chat, discuss the days drive, consult the maps, program the GPS. I enjoy the navigation process a lot, I really like pouring over both our desert tracks and hema map books, locating interesting stop offs, seeing how the roads correlate to what’s shown on paper, what’s left of the marked waterways and streams (usually not much) and it gives me a much better overall picture of the landscape. It also doesn’t come as easily to Jade - my visual memory and ability to identify patterns and roads and find our way in general, as well as use the GPS, is a lot better, which is nice, as he is a far more experienced driver and mechanic, so it’s nice to have that area where I can take the lead.
We continued to make good progress, particularly as from Annandale is an actual track, and is much more flat and easy, with brown and white cattle and station yards along our path. In fact it only started to get slightly challenging again when we hit the QAA line and were back along dune country, which eventually got us to big red at around 2pm. The Ox climbed the giant dune with relative ease, meeting another vehicle on the other side- tourists from Birdsville who had rented a car to go up the dune.
They were struggling to walk as their shoes filled with sand and their balance was not the best, they were quite brash and screechy, and thankfully left soon after.
We spent a bit of time just enjoying being there, walked up to the top, marvelling at the sandy expense of the desert all around us, how far our feet would sink into the sand, the brilliant blue colours of the sky contrasting with the bright orange sand, it looked like a classic Arabian desert, it was totally magnificent. When we got to the bottom there was another car, an FJ cruiser with a couple from Melbourne who were planning on taking the exact route we’d come from, up the Madigan and then the Hay River, so we could tell them a bit about the going and places we’d stopped, they seemed really nice.