The Canning Stock Route: Part III – Far From….Everything
It is now day seven. I’m walking down the track, brushing my teeth. There are no sinks in the wild, so one’s hygiene routine becomes, well, less routine. In any event, I’ve walked away from camp to get a clearer view of the night. I have never seen the Big Dipper so low in the sky, it’s as if it’s spooning up whatever earthly goodness lays at the horizon. Rather than the odd trace of light here and there like the sky I usually see, the heavens look more like a silver-flecked black granite counter-top. There are more shooting stars than things I have to wish for. It looks awesome, and so different from the skies I have previously known.
That’s what these adventures are about, though; gaining new perspective. This could be literal, like seeing Ursa Major in a position I have never seen the familiar constellation in before. It absolutely could be metaphorical, as well. While it would be awesome to make it to Hall’s Creek, just being out here is a magical experience in itself.
The solitude out here is incredible. Gavin and I may be the only two humans in a 75km radius… or we might not be. There’s no way for us to know. What is clear is that we are a long way from anything that even hints at civilization.
The silence is so overwhelming that my body seems to feel the need to compensate. When there is no bomb-like crack of the fire or a roaring “woosh” of bat wings overhead, it is as if it pumps up the audible volume of blood flow through my veins, so much so that my ears are filled with the deafening rhythms of a vascular orchestra. In other words, it’s pretty freakin’ quiet out in the middle of the desert.
There is no ambient glow from a nearby metropolis. There is no distant highway hum or even the sound of an occasional passing vehicle to confirm that the world is still going on as it ever did. There could be a nuclear holocaust and there’s a good chance I wouldn’t know about it for weeks. As a matter of fact (or debate, I should say), the opposite may or may not have happened in the deserts of Western Australia in 1994 (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2285/did-the-aum-shinrikyo-cult-detonate-an-atom-bomb-in-australia).
I’ve been in remote spots before but there was always a sense that I was alone but not necessarily that alone. Here, you can see for miles. You know that it’s just you and the odd moth or cricket or whatever the hell that is rustling in the bushes….