Abminga Ruins – Eringa Water Hole – Hamilton Station – Mount Sarah Station
Distance: approximately 140 KM’s
We’ve been out on the trail eight weeks and last week we finally crossed the half way mark on our expedition. Whoo hoo! It’s hard to get my mind around the fact that we have walked nearly 900 kilometers, been out here living in the Outback nearly 50 days but equally hard to get my head around is the fact that we have 900 more kilometers and another month and a half to go!
Believe you can and you are halfway there – Theodore Roosevelt
This week I am really looking forward to hitting our first swimmable water hole, Eringa, and getting an inside look at the life on Australia’s cattle stations as we will be passing through Hamilton Station and Mount Sarah Station this week as well. I talk about these cattle stations more in depth on an earlier blog Groovin’, but for a girl that grew up and has lived in cities her whole life, there is something so intriguing about living in the country, in the middle of nowhere, on a property that in some cases are bigger that European countries (Anna Creek Station is bigger than Belgium for instance).These stations are seriously is totally unique and quite an amazing experience.
For me, segments of this trip are bookended by experiences. I am willing to walk and push really hard for 25 kilometers, even 30 kilometres for days on end if I know I will get to swim in a beautiful waterhole or get to experience a unique place, like an Indigenous community or cattle station. These ‘social’ experiences for me make the trip worthwhile. They are the fun amidst the serious and challenging expedition and they are the little goals that I find my mind needing to work towards.
During the really challenging points of this trip I just kept focusing on making it to the halfway mark, just beyond Finke and making it from the West Australia/Northern Territory boarder down to South Australia because from there, it would all be downhill from there – right?! Well yes and no.
Through this experience, it has become clearer to me more than ever, that how you view the situation in your mind is one of the biggest parts of the journey. For the most part, that’s up to us, everyday.
I have found that expeditioning is all about mindset. For me, it feels like 30% of the time my experience and journey feels amazing. I finally understand when people say they get into their ‘adventure zen’ or find their ‘flow.’ Things are brighter, more vibrant, the kilometers fly by and the highs are higher. 20% of the time it goes the other way. The lows are lower, the downs feel like deep caverns, emotions are more intense and the days feel really long. 50% of the time it feels like I can choose the experience depending on how I view it and set up my mind.
At this midpoint of the trip – we will call it ‘halftime’, and with the above in mind, I find it even more important to remind myself of the reasons we are doing this trip and ground myself in gratefulness for the opportunity vs wishing the trip would hurry up, be over or we would just make it to the end already.
So to help myself do this, below are the important why’s and the things I am most grateful for that I tried to remind myself of everyday to help me ground to the present.
I am thankful for the opportunities to:
- Grow, individually and as a family
- Combine an adventurous life and a family life
- Spend a tonne of totally connected and close time with my family
- See Morgan grow and develop into a more curious, resilient, confident and kind kid
- Opportunities to stretch ourselves beyond our own comfort zones and grow
- Fully connect with nature in a way I have never done before so intimately.
With this daily mindset, I think this part of the trip has been my most favorite so far. Not only have we increased our daily kilometers, I am really loving the physical challenge, the moments where the three of us are just having lunch in a dry creek bed under a beautiful tree and where we get to experience things we never would have if we hadn’t done an expedition through the Australian Outback on foot.
So after days of meandering through gibber plains (beautiful fields of red rocks) which looked like images from Mars and through old sheep and cattle stations abandoned after the Ghan Railway shut down years ago, we reached Eringa Water hole. A swimmable waterway that is over 1 kilometer long and holds cultural significance to Indigenous Aboriginal people. This water hole popped seemingly out of nowhere, surrounded by the harshest and direst desert in the country.
Eringa was teaming with yabbies (small lobster’s of which eluded Justin and my attempts and catching them for dinner), a thousand parrots and what seemed like endless amounts of birdlife in general. We even saw a white pelican coming in for a drink! What a special spot.. We stayed here for two days, swam in the water, star gazed, did a bit of washing (which is a luxury for us) and felt like we found an oasis.
Eringa Water Hole is actually located on the land on a cattle Station called Hamilton of which we then walked through over the next several days (yes they are this big). Hamilton Station is one of the 5 or 6 cattle stations owned by an Williams family, an Australian extended family of the nicest people you will ever meet.
The Williams family cattle stations (of which on our expedition we will be crossing through Hamilton, Mount Sarah, Nilpina and Anna Creek) are special as they raise organic, grass fed and in the truest sense of the word, free range beef. Many of these cattle spend their lives with little to no human interaction.
Before our trip we contacted these stations to let them know what we were endeavoring to do and were originally just hoping for permission to cross their property. Not only were we granted the right to do so, we were showered with family dinners and breakfasts, fresh lemons from their trees, rain water, homemade sausage, organic beef, fruit and snack deliveries, play dates for Morgan, snuggles with potty calves, rides on ponies, chicken catching races, a ton of laughs and a unique experiences and the amazing opportunity to build what feels like some life long friends.
These are the experiences that for me make this expedition worth the sacrifice, the tears and the effort. These are the experiences we would not have if we sat at home, safe and secure in our living room, in our little urban bubble, with our one year old.
For me this expedition has been all about jumping outside of the box and doing something different, at least for awhile. It’s about pushing or own personal boundaries and challenging traditional norms about what ‘settling down’ should look like most importantly for us.
Through this expedition it’s been awesome to be able to strip out the modern conveniences (even technology!) of life for a period of time and use this as an opportunity to focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t.
For me, adventure is a way to grow and to create some space in a hectic world. Our journey is still naturally unfolding and who knows what the next chapter of our life will bring but I am so glad we are taking the time and opportunity to grow, to expand and to find that out.