Distance Today 65km at 13km/hr ave
Total distance 2322km. Deserts 3/10 Donations $3150/$10,000. Days remaining 108.
Note to new readers: I am travelling with my bike who’s name is Banjo. I often refer to ‘we’ meaning Banjo and I. ‘We’ have an amazing support team of family, friends, sponsors and folk we meet each day. But it’s still up to ‘us’ to face the challenge and tackle each day one peddle at a time.
It’s 838pm on Tuesday the 1 June 2021.
Today begin with a catch up at camp with Julie and Arthur again and the conversation continued easily from last night. They’re such a fun couple and we hope to see each other again down the track. I have their euro as a keepsake meanwhile, and they’re keen to follow the challenge online.
I waved goodbye to Julie and Arthur and got underway at about 10am. About 12km into the day, I caught the first glimpse of Lake Eyre South.
I hadn’t checked the map for landmarks and this was a stunning surprise. A further 7km along was a lookout and information centre, the perfect place for our first break. What a fabulous view. The lookout was quiet and I got to take in all in without the crowds. The information was super interesting.
Apparently the Lake Eyre basin sits at the southern rim of the Great Artesian Basin. It’s the worlds largest and deepest underground reservoir of water that formed about 120 million years ago when Australia broke away from Antartica. The sea flooded underground and erosion caused the water to pool in the sinking central areas up to 3000m.
The artesian basin is fed by rainfall on the western side of the great dividing range in Queensland. This rain emerges as artesian springs in South Australia some 2 million years later. The ancient water is tapped by drilling a hole to the water level where pressures force the water to flow out at up to 100 degrees. We have seen signs of these bore water ‘taps’ since Birdsville.
At the heart of the lake eyre basin is Lake Eyre where rivers like the Cooper flow towards. Every 2-3 years the wet season channels enough water to make Lake Eyre a waterway and epicentre for wildlife. The relationship between the Great Artesian Basin water and the Lake Eyre surface water is still largely unknown. I like that such a geological phenomenon till remains a natural wonder.
Back on the road, I spotted dingo tracks by the road so I’m not sure how effective the ‘dog fence’ is that runs through this area 🤣
This pat of the track is a national park that attracts a large volume of travellers. It’s apparent by the track conditions that are very corrugated. I spent the next hours unsuccessfully trying to pick the least bumpy path. From what I’ve been told there’s another 10 or so kms of these conditions but tomorrow’s another day.
I welcomed being stoped by Shirley and her husband travelling from Sydney. Shirley was keen to know more about our challenge and donated $50 to help our cause. 🙏
After 65km I was more than ready to call it a day and arrived at Coward Springs where there’s a bush style campgrounds. They let me pitch my tent for the night for free and top up on water. Apparently they sell coffee and date slice from 8-11am so I may need to indulge before heading off tomorrow.
I’ve been able to savour some of the campground treats starting with a soak in the natural spa. Oh how delish and the perfect remedy for the shoulders and back after a bumpy ride in the saddle.
They also have a museum in one of the original buildings still standing and a wetlands walk. I checked these later in the afternoon and over sunset o’clock.
In 1887 a bore was dug at Cowards Springs as an important stop along the old Ghan. The bore has a controlled flow that has formed a localised wetlands and permanent water source for wildlife particularly during periods of drought.
The aboriginal nations of lake eyre have accessed the natural springs for over 20,000 years. This knowledge was shared with early pioneers to establish pastoral and railway industries and local communities that grew like Marree and Marla at each end of this track. There was a beautiful quote in the museum from a local elder,
“Respect the water, respect the stories, respect the land. It’s our mother and father too. It provides for us and important to protect and pass onto our children. It’s our shared responsibility.”
It’s bug o’clock big time so I might end it there and have some dinner before bed. Night and talk soon xx