September 5th, 2008 – by: skippyed
Today we would be heading back up to the French Line then across to Poeppel Corner where three states; South Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory meet. We continued up the Knolls Track until eventually we hit the French Line and were back into the dune hopping. The dunes became more frequent, as you went over one, another appeared soon after, it was like a roller coaster ride and trying to keep the video camera still was a challenge! One dune was quite wide so Vaughan and Glen went over it together but in opposite directions and then turned around and had another go! Some dunes had two tracks going up them, so it soon became a competition between the boys to see who tackle the hardest track. The desert was very sparsely vegetated and started to look more like the Sahara.
Back on the French Line
The salt lakes became more frequent and closer together. As you crossed a lake you could see a mirage in the distance and understood why people would get tricked into thinking they saw water. We reached Poeppel Corner around lunchtime, the Corner was pinpointed by a concrete pillar with a plate on top which marked each state. It was funny that one second you would be in Queensland then take a step to the side and you would be in the Northern Territory. We weren't alone at the corner, an older couple in their early 80's turned up and we stood chatting with them for a while. They were funny couple, both looked identically dressed in what looked like safari gear! They had done the Simpson Desert 7 times and were having another go at it. The old man said he was suffering from Alzheimer's and was getting too old to fix cars! They were on their own which was even more of a worry, vast expanses of wilderness and Alzheimer's are quite a dangerous mix.
Looking like the Sahara!
I only hope he had a good GPS and his wife has a good memory!
We had lunch at the corner and more people turned up, one bloke had a beer in every state! After lunch we continued on turning north up the K1 Line and into the Northern Territory then east along the QAA line. Glen was ahead of us but somehow we reached the Queensland border before he did! We called him on the radio to find out where he got to and he had gone the wrong way and was still heading up the K1 line! so we teased him about that. Because we crossed the border we had to change our clocks and move them forward half an hour. The landscape began to change as we moved further east, wildflowers began to appear, trees and even grassy plains it was quite a contrast to what we driven through only hours before.
Up over the dune
We encountered a lizard on the track which we stop to film and photograph, he wasn't in a hurry to move either. We started to look for a campsite, there was plenty of nice looking spots to choose from but unfortunately they were inhabited by burrs, which are spiky grass seeds which stick to everything and uncomfortably prickly on the skin. We did find one spot that was relatively free of them and set up camp. Getting the firewood wasn't pleasant as the flies know exactly when your hands are full and not free to swat them. Tonight was our last night in the desert, tomorrow we would be in Birdsville
and back amongst the hoards so we were going to savor the blissful silence of the desert and its vast expanse. I stayed up long after the others had gone to bed and just enjoyed the silence, not a cricket, not a bird, just the crackle of the fire and the odd ruffling noise from the tents. The silence was rare and it was heaven.