A opportunity to be part of the first trek of the winter when we assemble the camel team in preparation for the winter trekking season.
As part of the pre-trekking period, we spend a considerable amount of time preparing our camels, vehicles, gear and equipment in readiness for 5 months walking the Simpson Desert. Preparation at Deniliquin NSW (where the camels live) takes about three weeks, then it's a 4 day journey with 6 vehicles to the desert. And then a team of cameleers 'put everything together'.
Cameleers, drivers, volunteers and other crew have a myriad of pre-season tasks with the culmination being this warmup walkabout trek. It is on this trek that we make sure all the camels are ready for the demanding season ahead. Most years we introduce new camels to the team and in 2021 due to the disruptions with Covid-19, we will be introducing 4 new camels to our mob.
The warmup involves packing gear, adjusting and fitting saddles, training the newly purchased camels, oiling the timber on the packsaddles, and all the other myriad of jobs that need to be done in preparation for life in the desert.
We know that many of our regular trekkers are camel-lovers and are interested in how we prepare for the trekking season, so we have decided to open the Western Warmup Walkabout to those people who would like to experience the desert and our camels, but without the structure of a regular trek. However on this WWW, there will be far more close work with the camels than would occur on any of the ADE surveys.
We will be walking on most - but not all - days of the trek, and as with all the ADE surveys we work on, your active participation on this warmup trek is expected. However the pace will be casual and is unlike any of the other treks we do in the season, as the focus will be on the camels and preparation. There will be additional cameleers on duty during this trek, and we have room to take up to 12 trekkers along with us.
The Warmup Walkabout trek differs from the ADE treks, and:
Unlike the ADE surveys, has no ecological or scientific program
Will operate from a base camp
Will not necessarily walk with camels every day
When we do walk, it will be walking in the dune fields of the western Simpson Desert on Andado Station. The landscape consists of towering red-crimson dunes, wide inter-dune corridors, small (usually dry!) creeks and scattered timber of Coolibah, Bloodwood and Mulga. Spinifex is the dominant plant species, however much of this hardy plant was destroyed in the 2011/12 bushfires, and many of the dunes and swales are now spinifex-free, which does make for easier walking.
Walking in this landscape is on firm sand and occasional claypans and gibber flats. The western Simpson has had some rain in late March so there may be a profusion of yellow flowers such as poached-egg daisy & 'Yellowtop' covering the landscape, and supplying our camels with fresh feed.... however it's not until we actually get out there that we will know the extent of any rainfall.
There will be at least 2 'half-days' during the trek where the camel team will pull up at lunchtime, allowing you time to investigate the landscape at your own pace in the afternoon, perhaps to sit on a dune and contemplate life. On some days we may meet up with a vehicle, as some crew will be coming & going from the trek, as they have additional preparation duties in Alice Springs.