The moon is super bright and we wake several times during the night wondering if it is time to get up. I finally turn my phone on and it is 3:30am, to early to get up. We go back to sleep and the next time we wake it is 5:30 and our early start is already slipping away.
Our plan for today is to walk to an electric pump with water and then depending on the time, wait there for the heat to pass or move on and hold up further along the trail.
The walk this morning climbs some hills and then moves on to flat country. Uyetsga is suffering from mind chatter this morning and requests some music to distract her thoughts while we cover the miles. I put on America, Horse With No Name as it seemed appropriate for our desert walk.
We arrive at the Billabong just as Bumerang (Samo) is leaving and we see him heading off across the plane. The Billabong is actually an electric well with an earthen tank as the water report calls it. All morning I wanted to think of it as an Australian Billabong as they are cool refreshing places.
Unfortunately the earthen tank was not in anyway like an Australian Billabong. It was an electric pump with a pipe dumping water into a mud filled hole in the ground with two small trees next to it. I would have loved to climb into the water but I knew as soon as I touched the bottom I would be up to my knees in black thick mud. The dust out here is so fine that as soon as it touches water it becomes a thick sludge.
The day was very hot, Uyetsga and I sat under our umbrellas, the wind blowing fine sand and grit into every crevice. As I typed I needed to keep wiping a layer of dust from the screen. The socks and clothes we rinsed out became dirtier than before we washed them. All part of the adventure, right?
We spent several hours sheltering from the heat but around 4 decided to move on. We soon decided we should have stayed longer as the sun had us looking for shelter after the first couple of miles. We are figuring out that there is a very good wisdom in following the wisdom of siestas in the afternoon. The hours between 1 and 5 in the desert are brutal.
Each and every day I have been with Uyetsga I experience several of what I call “wife moments”. She describes me as a child caught in a mans body. At times my excitement for life bubbles to the surface like a small child. Most of my life I have tried to surpress showing these feeling as I was told it was childish. But I can’t hid it from Uyetsga. She can see my every emotion and feeling. She laughs at me, laughs with me, encouraging me to be myself and revels in my child like feelings.
This bubbling excitement I feel often comes from Uyetsga and that is why I call them “Wife Moments”. One of today’s was when we were laying in our hot cow poo covered dust bowl with a mud hole of water. We were laying on our mats, facing each other. We had our umbrellas up sitting on the ground behind us and coming over the top to touch between us above our heads. It felt like we had created our own little piece of sanctuary in this hostile environment. Uyetsga smiled at me and reached over and took my hand. We lay there looking at each other and no matter what was going on outside we were happy. I am a very lucky man to have found this wonderful woman.
Deb and Halfmile came in mid afternoon and staked out a spot under the other tree.
Late afternoon we headed off in the way too hot sun for a few more miles before bed. We aimed to camp near the next water cache box and the road.
When we got to the end of the day the wind was blowing hard and we struggled to find a small amount of shelter to set the tent up in. The tent is a great shelter from the wind but as you walk around setting it up you disturb the fine dust and it blows through the tent. By the time we got in everything is covered in the fine red powder that is the desert. Our sleeping mats have small indentations in them and by morning the indents usually contain enough dust that you can pick it up with your fingers.