We’d been walking for so long, and it felt like we were going in circles. We knew we had broken the golden rule for getting lost in the bush, that being to leave your car and think you could walk to safety.
As the hours went by the folly of what we were doing became apparent.
Above us, flocks of birds led us to believe there was water nearby and so we decided to follow the birds and see where that led us.
It led us over countless sand dunes, up rocky hills and from on top of one hill there appeared another ahead and no prospect of rescue.
Still, the birds flew above us, always giving us hope.
Our own water supply was dwindling, if we didn’t find water soon, we knew we’d be in serious trouble, and we’d heard enough stories over the years of people perishing in the bush, often within metres of rescue or water.
In the heat of the afternoon, we stopped and settled under cover to wait until the day passed before heading off again. We scouted the surrounding terrain, but there was only a lot more of what we’d already walked through.
In the cool of the evening, we headed off in what we thought was a northerly direction. Above us the stars shone brilliantly, the cool of the night sustained us better than the heat of the day but we were all beginning to feel the anxiety of running out of water and energy.
Over a hill, we spotted what we thought was a vehicle. There must have been a road, and we made for it at all haste. The truck was travelling at speed along the highway, and we were fortunate to flag him down.
The driver couldn’t believe we were out there. He said we were lucky to find him, as there wouldn’t be many if any vehicles along that way for a few days.
We explained we’d tried to follow the birds, which he thought a dumb idea, as the birds did know where the water was, but it was often in the remotest of places.
So we gladly climbed aboard his truck and continued with him to Birdsville.