Australia 19 June: Nanutarra Roadhouse, WA - Fortescue River Roadhouse, WA

Across the rich red earth

After a delicious porridge and packing up tents heavy with dew, all the teams got away from Nanutarra Roadhouse ahead of schedule for the run to Fortescue River Roadhouse ...

... another day of pure running. We are all enjoying the freedom, the vastness, the scenery ...

... and surprising greenness of the countryside ...

The massive road-trains are our constant companions and we think they are getting friendlier and more considerate by the day – possibly having seen the team several times on their long journeys back and forth along the Coastal Highway ...

... nevertheless it pays to hold on to your hat when they pass by ...

... or else you will be doubling back to pick it up from the roadside ...

Today we joined this great convoy of road trains from one road house to another. They are headed towards the prolific mines of the north west ...

... the wealth of this region derives from the riches of the red earth ...

... the red colour is from the presence of iron, which in these parts is literally everywhere ...

It was a great day to be out running ...

... a cool wind kept the temperature down on a cloudless day ...

... everyone was keen to get out and enjoy the running in this serene wilderness. Many of us opted to do 10 km stretches ...

... we noticed more mining related traffic on the road in the morning, but towards the middle of the day we experienced long stretches of no vehicles ...

There are odd ridges and hills to liven up the landscape ...

... trees are becoming smaller ...

... with more clumpy grass.

There are lots of ways to amuse ourselves when waiting for the runner out on the road to arrive at the van. Bayarkhuu's favourite pastime is stretching ...

... today Emily teaches Helena a traditional Maori game, Ti Rakau, using sticks (rakau) found alongside the road ...

... tree climbing is another activity which is becoming scarcer now, it is more likely you will find ...

... an anthill to climb!

This is a land of stark contrasts: of poverty and wealth, drought and flood, life and death ...

Water is the life-bringer and life-sustainer; with life comes beauty, joy, aspiration, profusion ...

As we passed the other boys team we saw they were running double, 2 pairs of runners on the road ...

... they must be too fresh from the day off in Coral Bay ...

... and the girls were even running 3 at a time! Either they really don't like being inside their van, they have too much energy to burn, or else Oyungerel was telling a long joke and the others couldn't bear to miss the punch line ...

With no towns or schools to visit, we were finished quite early. On arriving at Fortescue River Roadhouse, we filled up and headed straight to the Fortescue River ...

... where we enjoyed a beautiful refreshing swim ...

... on arriving back at the roadhouse we had another delightful surprise – a camp ground with grass again. I hope this trend continues up here as it is much nicer than the gravel or dirt camp sites we have experienced!

... the early finish give us the opportunity to catch up on some administrative work ...

... for Ion (Moldova) and Kaspars (Latvia), some explorations in spiritual linguistics ...

... writing and uploading the day's reports ...

... and thinking about cleaning the torches ...

... or preparing tomorrow's route ...

... or not ...

(the torches did get nicely cleaned in the end!)

It’s always a fun challenge to cook dinner, especially when there’s no way of getting fresh ingredients for a few days. Take three or four random ingredients (“Okay, we have six onions, heaps of squash, some canned tomatoes and about a million sweet potatoes…”) and turn it into ...

... a delicious pasta sauce ☺

In the late afternoon, some of us headed up the steep hill overlooking the roadhouse and river area ...

... the views were excellent ...

... in one direction the mining community of Fortescue River Village ...

... and in the other direction ...

... the lush Fortescue River valley ...

We are immensely grateful to Natalie, of the Fortescue River Village and Roadhouse, who organised tonight's complimentary accommodation for us ...

... a sublime rest is enjoyed by all ...