Travels Around the World

Footprints in the Sand – by Sharon Archer

We’ve been adventuring again!  And our latest adventure was a challenge – we travelled across the Simpson Desert.  Absolutely fabulous, fascinating, intimidating place.

The scenery was stunning and stark and I came home with a scary number of photographs!  One of the things I found particularly fascinating is the fauna… or perhaps I should say the evidence of the fauna.  Every morning, I’d get up to see countless little tracks crisscrossing the sand.

They were clearest first thing in the morning because the slight damp of the night held the grains of sand in place.

So many little creatures have found a way to survive in the inhospitable environment.  One of their tricks of survival is to hide during the heat of the day and come out in the cooler night to forage.

So here is a selection of the footprints we found…

a-Simpson-Desert-animal track3c a-Simpson-Desert-animal track5a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track8a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track10a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track11a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track12a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track12b a-Simpson-Desert-animal track13a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track14a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track15b a-Simpson-Desert-animal track16a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track17a a-Simpson-Desert-animal track-a

We travelled in a group which was wise in Outback Australia.  Getting into difficulties on your own in the middle of a desert is no laughing matter.  The people we were with were very experienced 4-wheel-drivers and between the eight vehicles there were all the necessary items, like ‘sat’ phones, assorted radios, air-jacks, winches, max-trax, snatch straps, first aid equipment.

It was absolutely fantastic but i would have liked to have taken a bit more time to travel across the desert.  But that’s the thing with travelling in a group – it’s all a compromise.

So how about you, when you take a break, do you like to do it on your own, with someone, in a group, or all of the above?  And if you have any suggestions for the owners of my footprints, I’d love to hear them!

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33 thoughts on “Footprints in the Sand – by Sharon Archer”

  1. Awesome photos, Sharon!! What about a millipede for the feather-like one up the top. Glad you’re home safe and sound. We flew over the Simpson Desert and yeah, nothing out there!!

    1. Thanks, Fiona! Hey, I wondered about a millipede… but then there’s all those gaps between the ‘prints/eyelashes’. If it is a millipede, he must have been doing some fancy footwork! LOL
      You’ve flown over the Simpson – was that on your trip to Alice? I did get to your great post about your trip. Loved your pics too!

  2. Oh wow what an amazing experience! I’m intrigued by all the prints- brilliant to think we’re sharing this world with so many creatures (although not sure I’d want to get overly close to any of them!)

    1. It was amazing, Louisa! LOL on not being sure about getting overly close to some of the creatures we share the planet with! Wait until you see the rather bolshy spider we saw one evening – I’m saving him for my next Simpson blog!

    1. Thanks, Clare! When I started writing this post, I wondered if you all would share my fascination with the little scurryings in the sand! It’s nice to know you do! LOL

    1. Thanks, FF! Ditto what I said to Clare! You know I wish I really understood more about the tracks because I think there’s some interesting stories to be read about the desert’s nightly activities in those footprints.

  3. Sharon, welcome home! We’ve missed you. What fabulous photographs. So evocative. I wonder what those little eyelash tracks are. Let me know if you find out. What a wonderful trip to go on – that’s country so few people have seen!

    1. Thanks, Anna! I certainly will keep you know if I find out what those ‘eyelash tracks’ are… mmm, an excuse to do some more research! Have i said how much I love to Google…

  4. Sharon, what amazing photos! And what an amazing trip. I really envy you the experience and hope you’ll be able to identify all the track marks eventually. Have you thought about emailing your local natural history museum? I bet they’d love to help.
    Thanks for sharing those fascinating pictures.
    Jennifer

    1. Glad you like the pics, Jennifer! You know that is an excellent idea! I’ll stop playing on Google immediately and send an email! Well… I probably won’t stop playing on Google but I will send an email with a query!

      Will report back!

  5. How fascinating, Sharon! Lol to the eyelash tracks. Were they left by Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, perhaps?

    I’ve just come back from a trip spent (mostly) by myself. London and Amsterdam are wonderful cities to get lost in — I had an absolute ball and left many footprints in my six-hour daily walks!

    1. LOLOLOL, Vanessa! Priscilla! Love it!

      I adore the idea of your footprints around London and Amsterdam. We left a few of our own around London many years ago and loved every minute of it. Your six-hour walks put us to shame though! Go you!

  6. Wow, Sharon, these photos are amazing. I can imagine them printed and on the walls of an art gallery. You’ll have to exhibit them!
    Your trip sounds like one those awesome experiences you’ll never forget.

  7. Those are some incredibly cool photos. Also? You must be one hardcore nature chick to head to the -DESERT- on vacation. I get the lure of sandy places, but I like my sandy places to be where big salt-water deposits affected by the moon also reside! (ocean! in case my cryptic crazy talk was too … cryptic and crazy.)

    I think the eyelash tracks were made by a line of very tiny Rockettes, kicking in a back to back line across the sand. Considering that Wikipedia has informed me this Simpson Desert is in Australia, I have amended my theory about the eyelash tracks. The tiny Rockettes are deadly, in some terrifying fashion. Maybe the heels of their high-kicking shoes are poison, or something. (Everything that is the most deadly version of their species is native to Australia. I saw it on National Geographic… I swear. World’s most poisonous spider? From Australia. Most deadly hummingbird? Australian. True story.)

    1. Thanks, Amalie! LOL on the hardcore nature chick! I won’t tell you about the time I spent digging the wheels out of the sand when we got bogged! Hey, you’re a “beach babe”! The beach is a wonderful way to spend holiday time too!

      I’m laughing about the deadly Rockettes making the eyelash tracks! Australia does have more than its share of deadly fauna! Lots of venomous snakes to treat with respect – I think the Taipan has one of the most toxic bites ever. Yep, a very poisonous spider in the funnel web. Not sure about a humming bird… But there’s a blue-ring octopus… and Irukandji jellyfish… as a “beach babe” you’d appreciate how scary it would be to meet an invisible poisonous jellyfish!

      1. I was totally lying about the hummingbird–grasping for an example of something it would be embarrassing to be killed by. Tho, come to think about it, hummingbirds are vicious (always fighting at the feeders), and fast. If they evolve a stinger? We’re doomed, that will be the humanity extinction event.

        I love the idea of visiting Australia in theory. In practice… I’m terrified by the bugs. :/ Spiders…..*shudder*

        1. LOL Amalie! It’s hard to grasp nuances on blog comments so my apologies for not realising you were tugging my chain about the humming bird! Though if they are as stroppy as you say, let’s hope they don’t evolve a stinger. They look so gorgeous with their iridescent plummage that it’s kinda disappointing to hear they have a darkside!

          There are bugs and spiders everywhere so don’t let the thought of them put you off visiting Oz if you get the chance! Just a bit of care and tapping into some local knowledge should be enough to keep safe.

  8. Sharon, what absolutely fabulous photos! I suspect you’re right about the dingo prints.

    One of the most memorable prints I saw was in France were the calcified footprint of an adolescent had been left since the time of Neanderthals. Amazing to see.

    Thanks for sharing with us. This was something very special.

  9. Thanks, Annie! Oh, AWESOME about the footprints of a Neanderthal adolescent. I’d love to see those… there are some amazing cave paintings in France that I’d love to see too.

  10. Sharon,
    What an absolutely amazing trip! I love the pictures and perspective. I like to travel without a group when I can (I hate following a flag) but on a trip like yours I’d have to do it with a group. I would so love to do what you did. Do share more when you can.

  11. Fascinating! Sharon, you continue to be my hero. I thought that one with the silver dollar next to it looked like a sea anenome of some sort. I know, I know, you were in the desert. I’m just saying what it looked like to me.

    My husband and I like to travel with another couple. We used to camp together when we had our kids, and now, as adults, we still like to travel with Lee and John.

  12. Sharon, those were amazing photos. Also amazing is the fact that creatures can actually survive in such a harsh environment. If not for the footprints, you might never know that something had passed that way. And they raise so many questions. Like what do those beetles eat, I wonder?

    Would totally love to do a trip like that. Like others mentioned, I tend to like to explore on my own, but in the desert, it would be comforting to know that others were nearby if you ran into trouble! Thanks for letting us experience this vicariously through your pictures! Loved it!

  13. Susan, Lynne and Tina! I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to answer! I don’t know where the week went!

    Susan, I know you enjoy camping and I think you’d love a trip like this one we’ve just done!

    LOL, Lynne! How lovely to a couple of friends that you’re so in tune with to share your travelling adventures!

    Thanks, Tina! We generally like exploring on our own too so this trip was a first for us in this regard.

  14. Really awesome pictures! I share the thoughts of a lot of the others. What do they eat in all that sand?

    My husband and I love to travel by ourselves and with other members of our families. If we are someplace totally new and don’t have a lot of time we take a group tour or two. That way you get to see a lot of things in a short period of time without having to worry about navigation.

    1. Kaelee, if you’ve got a good tour guide a tour group is a fab way to see things and learn such wonderful snippets of information. And you’re so right about not having to worry about the navigation! LOL

      As to what these creatures eat – well, I guess the insects at the bottom of the food chain end up being dinner for lots of the animals. We saw a really big spider so I’m guessing that the beetle we saw might be a potential snack for him!

  15. Argh! Late to the party, sorry!!
    Sharon this is the coolest post!! If I shut my eyes I can just imagine, thanks to these prints, the hive of activity the desert becomes at night.
    I actually really love travelling with friends but my hubby, who isn’t the mst social guy, finds it challenging 🙂

    1. Glad you like my footprints, Amy! LOL on you and your hubby’s totally different travelling-sociability scale! I think when you’re travelling with other people, it’s still important to be able to find your own space for a spot of time-out. Compromise is the key, isn’t it!

  16. Sorry Sharon – I’m late too! Love those footprints in the sand, although I can’t even hazard a guess as to what might have made them. All the better to tempt the imagination! Setting aside all of the other hazards of the desert, those evidences of night-time activity would have been enough to convince me not to travel alone 🙂

    1. LOL, Annie! Most of these footprints are quite tiny… but then insects can be pretty fierce force to be reckoned with in their own tiny way, can’t they! Thinking about someone we know who is allergic to the bite of a particular ant – 6’6″ man decked by half inch ant! Yep, travelling with a group in the Simpson Desert is a good idea for all sorts of reasons!

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