The Canning Walker website was built to record my Australian desert adventures. Now it is evolving to include detailed stories of my fellow Canning Stock Route adventurers, who did it THEIR way.
What is the Canning Stock Route? Over 100 years ago it was a ribbon of wells and waters established by a core group of hardy men and camels, for the purpose of moving herds of cattle from the north to the south of Western Australia, through a very big, remote and arid landscape, which took three to four months to negotiate.
Today it is a winding 1850km corrugated dirt track with about 800 sand ridge hurdles. In winter, 600 plus 4x4 vehicles make the crossing, usually in convoys. 4WD's and the occasional 2WD vehicles usually drive it in 3 weeks, motorbikes in 10 days, unsupported bicycles typically 33 days and on foot 1-3 months, depending on support or not. In summer, when the temperatures can soar to 50C, only a few die-hards make the journey. And some died hard. Even today.
In every journey, there is a story. It is these stories that have captured my imagination. What REALLY happened out there? For me, desert stories read like psychological thrillers. Pushed to breaking point to succeed, this is where you find out who you are and what you are capable of.
Perspectives obviously differ. Few 4x4 travellers understand the perspective of the walker or cyclist. And who understands the perspective of the motorcyclist, save the motorcyclist?
Whether travel is by vehicle, bicycle or on foot, the CSR is a journey of self reliance and fortitude, one that requires mental and physical endurance and commitment, to reach the other side. Does the experience change you? I know that I was excited at the prospect of meeting myself when I walked out of the desert months later. How would this desert experience change me?
Together with my own 2013 Diary, I am now uploading researched articles on the relatively few men and women who have travelled the Canning Stock Route differently. Where possible, I dig deep and try to extract the REAL story. The one of true grit, of facing the possibility of failure and what course of action was taken to overcome; of surviving failure, and of course, success.
When it comes to mental strength, endurance and survival, are women inferior?
This is not a question I ask myself, but it is one that I see dwelling in the hearts and minds of average city folk.
In this life, 'average' has a chance to stand up and drop the cloak of conformity. To realise their full potential as human beings. The time has come for women to stand proudly alongside men with overall FIRSTS; not the consolation prize of First Female. My aim with these stories is to inspire you to go out there and achieve a FIRST. But make it honest. False representation will be exposed. Make Us, Yourself - proud.
In time, all the articles, written and rewritten, will become chapters of a book, but for NOW, for there is only NOW, I share them here with you.
2018 is the year I will focus on the delivery of articles already researched.
Make it possible for me to return to Australia in April 2019 to interview those whose stories must still be told.
2013 Solo Canning Walker