29-Sep-2002 -- I set off across the dunes as the sun rose behind streaked clouds. I wound through the sparse vegetation, carefully avoiding the sharp spinifex clumps. At the dune top, I obtained GPS direction, picked a landmark, and looked for a sparse way through the interdunal flats. Camel tracks ran along the dune ridge and I could see ancient red brown hills scattered around the horizon. As the sun rose higher, small lizards slowly crawled out to sun bathe and then darted away as I approached. A great morning for a confluence!
From Georgia Bore, where we camped for the night, the confluence was 6.8 kilometers almost due north. Given the distance and the early start, I was alone on this one. There were half a dozen small dunes to cross, with large interdunal flats almost a kilometer wide. I was hoping for a good red sand confluence, but it turned out to be on side of a broad rocky hill. The rocks, probably many hundreds of millions of years old given the region, were dark red sandstone embedded with large regions of yellowish red quartzite(?). From the confluence, there were good views of the more dunes to the north and some hills to the west.
On the way back, the wind picked up and kept trying to steal my hat. A raptor, startled by my popping over a dune, flew off with a snake in tow. Tracks everywhere: dingo, lizard, wiggly snake, big camel, baby camel, something cloven... a donkey?, a large bird... small emu or bustard?, every inch covered by small nocturnal scampering tracks. Over the last dune, a wild camel was browsing near our campsite and he eyed me suspiciously even as I gave him a wide berth. He moved towards me quickly and, not wanting to tangle with a large wild bull camel, I bounded over the spinifex, getting stabbed with every leap. Safely back in camp, I pumped water for a shower, showered naked under a gum tree, and then we set off again down the Canning Stock Route.
The Canning Stock Route is a 1,700 kilometer 4 wheel drive track that winds through four different deserts – the Tanami, Great Sandy, Gibson, and Little Sandy Deserts Deserts – on its way from Hall’s Creek to Wiluna. Created in 1906 as a way for Kimberley cattle to be brought to the Perth market, it is now a fantastic way to see a beautiful part of Western Australia. (For more Canning photos, including some dune pictures, see 21°S 126°E).