Simpson Desert. Site one 2010
Site two 2010
Site two 2011
The Dessert Horses are still there, deserted in the desert. (funny thing, language)
In August I returned to the first two sites on the Old Andado Track, NT. fifteen months after I placed them there. Surprised to find they are still there, but I would have been just as surprised if they had not been.
At site one an animal, probably bovine, had rummaged about fairly recently by the tracks, scattering the horses and cones around. Two cones were a bit broken..... just pieces chipped out. I must admit I was a tad offended by this interference, so I rearranged them before I left. Of course I was sorry afterwards, but it is done. There was a lot more plant growth at the site and there was a seasonal difference in plant development and the state of the clay pan down on the flat.
The camp site was pretty much as it was last year, just dryer. It always surprises me to find that no one, not a soul, has been there since I left last year. Well, I reckon that is a safe assumption to make, given that there is no sign of anything except my old camp. There is the tree that the bearded dragon climbed after he walked stiffly away from my swag in the early morning dew. There is the tree that is the night time roost for a dove, who is again disconcerted by human presence and can't decide where to sleep. There is the remnants of my campfire, barely discernible after the last rains have washed clay and silt over it.
On to site two, where the place is barely recognisable after such a spurt of plant growth. Why did I choose this as a campsite? There are only one or two small trees, that offer practically no shade and very little fire wood. It is hot in the afternoon sun and there is no shelter for the car with my supplies. The tiny patch is just enough for me and I must move to stay with it. There are flies. Many flies, all keen to make the most of my sweat. The dune where the horses are is protected by thorns, spikes, burrs and prickles. Most inhospitable for camping, but if I want photos I must make the best of it.
Up on the dune I find the horses have slipped down the hill, and some are almost covered by red sand. The site now has shrubbery five feet high. I know nothing of these plants. There are brilliant green pea flowers on a bush with smoky blue-green furry leaves. There are low flowering plants that would grace any herbaceous border with there soft white flowers, bright against the red sands. Last year this was a bare dune, marked only with wind ripples and desert mouse tracks.
At this site I make no changes. I am pleased to find the horses and cones are burying in the sand. This has something of the feel of an archeological site. I wonder if they will all become covered, so there is no visible sign of my intervention in this ancient landscape.
I hope so.