Today marked day 47 of the Sahara Expedition and we are a 1000km and over half way home. We’ve arrived at a small military post and well called Bir Anzarane where there is a mobile phone mast and – best of all – a small shop attached to the petrol station which sells just about everything we need. For a few days now it has been macaroni and rice with or without sardines so I am very excited about the thought of some fresh vegetables and maybe even some meat tonight.
It seems like a good time to reflect on the journey so far. I’ve been podcasting along the way and instagramming when and where I can but writing is always a slightly more ordered way to put down my thoughts about what I am experiencing.
This journey is tough. I don’t know why that surprises me so much – after all I am trying to walk 2000km across the world’s hottest desert – but somehow I didn’t expect it to be. We are walking fast and doing roughly a half marathon a day. The weather has been generally good to us but we did hit a few days of strong headwinds and mini sandstorms which were grim. It is hot in the day but not unbearable and the nights are cold.
The ground underfoot varies from soft sand, which really takes a toll on the legs and body, and hard-packed flat and stones to thorny scrub. It is flat, dead flat and there is very little vegetation.
Sometimes I have felt like screaming as I am walking over this endless, plain of stony ground with only the horizon to look at. There is no way out, we just have to keep going until we can find a place to camp for that night. And I know that the day will begin again.
The monotony of the landscape, the pace, the constant stress of not having enough water and finding somewhere to camp for the night that is good for the camels are all a difficult part of the adventure but set against that are the excitement of exploration and discovery of the environment and the meeting with people who live here.
There is also the camaraderie of the team and that is what really keeps me going.
Today, about four and a half hours in, one of those moments happened. We could see our destination way ahead of us and I was grumbling in my head. Then, out from under the pads of Callum, Addi’s lead camel, sprang a desert fox. A tiny, delicate creature about the size of a large domestic rabbit, with a flowing tail and flying transparent ears. It raced away from us across the plain, beautiful and wild, and I forgot the pain in my legs and the grumpiness in my head and watched it till it was out of sight.
The Sahara Expedition is funded by my fantastic sponsors Craghoppers and NTT DATA UK and organised by Jean-Pierre Datcharry of Desert et Montagne Maroc.
Follow along on my new podcast! Alice in Wanderland available on all major platforms and here.