Friday, September 11, 2009
Nyngan to Newcastle
I didn't keep a bird list for the last stage of the trip, but there were plenty along the road. We were back on the Golden Highway, one of my favourite local drives and the dams were full, the crops glowing gold, and the sky filled with fluffy clouds. A great day for counting blessings.
I'm grateful to the Watagan Wanderers for letting me come along on their Simpson Crossing. Very warm thanks go to Alwyn, as trip leader, for his effective trip organisation that kept us occupied, entertained and safe. Gratitude to Mike, for joining me to present a combined defence in the face of Alwyn's sense of humour. Appreciation to Mick, Joan, Doug and Penny for treating me as a friend. And thanks to the many great people we met along the way; the cheerful helpfulness of the people at roadhouses, cafeterias, hotels and camping grounds, and the camaraderie of the fellow travellers we encountered, ensured the trip will live on in my memory as one of the highlights.
When people ask me about Australia I tell them about its wide open spaces, the beauty of its extremes of climate, of the vibrant colours of blue sky and red dust, of the transformation of the desert by a rainstorm. I used to know all this from reading books and watching television. Now I know it because I have experienced it.
I have stood and looked in every direction without seeing a single tree, building, hill or any other feature - just plains as far as the eye can see. I have climbed 30 metre sand dunes to see another 1000 dunes stretched out in parallel rows. I have heard the humming of insects and the singing of birds in a garden of eden that was arid claypan just months ago. I have smelled gidgee in flower. I have watched tiny lizards and brilliantly coloured birds find all of the resources they require in an environment which seems to offer nothing. I have heard dingoes howl in the crisp air of a desert morning.
Hey! I crossed the Simpson Desert!!