Years ago, I read about Colonel Charles Sturt’s journey to interior Australia and his team getting stuck in the middle of no where and having to abandon their journey.
Depot Glen, from the journal of Charles Sturt.
I found it extremely difficult to imagine the scenario described by Sturt.
As such I grew up in Kerala, where water was every where..Same in Malaysia..And the picture of Australia in my head could never be what Stuart mentioned..
And I am a well healed traveller..
I stayed with my children in a remote mountain cabin ( 2 hours drive from the nearest main road!!) with no electricity when the temperature outside was -30.

So I wasn’t really worried about dying in Australian outback!

On our way back we decided to go to Bunya mountains, 250 km away from Brisbane.The idea was to eventually reach the Nanango go cart center as my youngest is now 10 years old and is allowed to go on go cart on her own! I could have driven straight to Nanango without going to Bunya..but when  have I ever done anything simple?

We left Bunya mountains around 12 noon..
And then my GPS got flu. There is no other explanation as to why the sat nav that I used all the time suddenly decided to take me off road. Initially I thought the GPS found some short cut. We soon found ourselves driving on dirt track. I wasn’t too worried till I reached a creek crossing. Water level was high and there was no way I could cross the creek.
I turned back.
Put my home as destination in the gps hoping it would find some other way. It always does!

All the dirt tracks look same!! same gum trees..same cactus..But I still wasn’t worried. I could always get my gps to recalculate..soon enough we found ourselves back in the same creek crossing..
and yes, panic was beginning to rise from my belly all the way up to my chest..
I took my phone out to call my friends..
No network.
Normally, I can trace the route I travelled by the dotted lines on my gps map. But by that time we had been going in circles for a while and I couldn’t figure out where I was or how to get back to the main road.

I am not Bear Grylls. But I can survive in the wilderness for few days. We had shelter, enough food and water.
Surviving the few days weren’t the issue.
I had no idea where I was.
I wasn’t willing to go round in circles and finish the fuel in the car.
I had no network connection.
and to make things worst I told my friends I am going to Cairns and if I didn’t get back in time, my friends will search for me in Cairnes, Not in Bunya !

I drove my car to the nearest cross junction, guessing that the chances of finding someone was higher at a cross road than at a creek crossing..which proved to be right.
Soon we saw a farmer riding a small buggy and herding cattle.
He never stopped laughing when I told him how I ended up where I was..and perhaps he didn’t trust me enough to follow his instructions as to how to get to the main road. So he asked me to follow him.
He couldn’t leave the cattle behind.,
So he herded the cattle..in his buggy and I followed him..in my car at 3 km/hour.
And it was the most pleasant drive.. driving with the knowledge that I was still alive and not another casualty in the Australian outback..
When we reached the main road,my son said
“Mom, That was the best ride ever.. following cattle and a farmer in a buggy”
I could only nod my head!

2 thoughts on “update

  1. Mom of A and a: I did panic. But my children depended on me to get us out of there and I couldn't fail them. We analyzed the situation. Decided that if we don't see anyone by 5, we will pitch the tent and set camp. We had enough food and water to survive one week. ( I had read about the couple who got lost in the logging tracks after visiting relatives for thanksgiving in US and remembered the mistakes they made and ensured that I wouldn't make the same mistake.)

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