So today was the day I left civilization and embarked on a 120km trek across the desert to Catavinia. I had a quick video call home and made my final preparations before leaving town. This included ensuring I had sufficient water and food (which includes Oreos – my new addiction!)
As I left town I passed a sign informing me that the next petrol station was in 300+km. While this doesn’t effect me it did drum it home how wild things were going to get.
Logistics wise I managed to cover about 43km and made it to the 101km marker. It was a long day and not particularly quick. This was partly due to the body aching a little from the last push and the hills I had to climb but mostly due to the sheer need to stop and take photos. I knew this was going to be a special part of my expedition but nothing quite prepared me for what was in store. As soon as you climb the first hill you are in complete isolation. The only reminder of civilization is the one road you are running down. For as far as you can see hills roll and slowly build into mountains on the horizons. Then there are the cacti themselves. They are scattered all over the landscape in a whole array of different sizes and shapes. There are the classic one but instead of being a couple a feet tall they stand about 20-30 feet high. Then there are wirey ones, spindly ones, fat ones, contorted ones… Everywhere you look it is beautiful beyond belief. And this is just the start as I have been informed it just gets more impressive.
As the day stretch on my mind turned to a place to sleep. In a land full of very spikey plants and no shelter it is hard to find somewhere to hide a large tent that is accessible on inflated tyres! After pushing on a further couple of km i managed to find a track cutting behind a mound. Another problem about stealth camping is that the spots you think are perfect are also favored by the motorist who needs an emergency rest stop!!! Luckily I found a spot with not traces of that particular problem and set up camp.
While camped here I found out just how spikey cacti are!! While cooking dinner in the dark I managed to get impaled in the arm and then in the morning I managed to get a couple of buds in my knee (see pic!).
Water is something that comes very precious when in the wilderness and it amazes me how much we consume even when we try to conserve. I left the town with 2 gallons and picked up another 2 litres from a friendly driver and I am starting to worry if I have enough. It’s not a problem because there are cars passing all the time but it makes you wonder. As you know WaterAid is on of my charities. Please check out their website to learn how millions of people suffer from a lack of water on a daily basis – http://www.wateraid.org. Maybe together we can make a difference.
Written on my Nokia Lumia 1020