We check in with the Jonseys to see how their outback expedition is progressing. Paddy Pallin is proud to be supporting the Jonseys on their epic human-powered journey from the red centre of Australia to Port Augusta.

If you’re not already following along, check out THIS article to get up to speed on their adventure.

The Jonesy’s, so that’s Justin and Lauren along with their daughter Morgan, have been underway now for over 50 days. As I was writing this they clocked past the 800km milestone. So by the time you read this they’ll probably be well over halfway, so that’s a whooping 900km under entirely human power. Traveling through some of the most remote and rugged terrain this vast nation has to offer. Of course in this age of modern technology it’s still possible to ‘phone home’ and keep the world updated through social media. On Friday September 8th I managed to have a chat to to Jonesy via satellite phone. The enthusiastic upbeat voice on the other end of the line belied the fact that whilst talking to me, he was also pulling a 200+ KG cart though what he described as a “mars like landscape”. It sounded Pretty rugged. I actually drove through the same area earlier this year and was definitely happy to be in the comfort of a vehicle.

When we spoke they were somewhere south of the remote Indigenous community Aputula (formerly Finke) in the Northern Territory, heading southwards towards Oodnadatta in South Australia. The destination for that day was Eringa Waterhole, where the hope was to supplement their diet with some fishing. To give the isolation a bit of perspective Jonsey explained that they hadn’t seen a car in the last three days. Sure they’re following a ‘road’ of sorts, but certainly not one that gets much traffic!

Embarking on a 1800M outback walk towing a cart is pretty out there already. Throw in a two year-old daughter and the expedition moves even further into unconventional territory. Morgan, or Captain Morgan as I learned she’s become affectionately known, is really getting an early education quite unlike other kids her age. Jonesy proudly told me of how much they’ve already seen her grow and learn on the trip so far. From taking her first steps just before the trip begun, to now only mere weeks (and many hundreds of wilderness kilometers) later she’s already grown so much. For example quickly adding words like tent, stars, moon, dog, fire to her small but rapidly growing vocabulary. I asked if Jonesy if he thought she’d remember the adventure. His feeling was that whilst she’s likely too young to remember much beyond flashes down the track, it’s as he so potently put it “the sounds, the smells, the wind in her hair, it’s going to become part of her.”

When I asked Jonesy what the biggest unexpected challenge they’ve faced so far had been, there was only one contender. Unbeknownst at the time, whilst transporting the carts to the starting point along extremely rough congregated outback roads, hidden damage was occurring. The result was that within mere days of setting out, the main cart suffered major failure. To experience such a significant setback so early was certainly a massive blow to everyone’s morale. But this trip was never going to be easy. The Jonesy family is made from tough stuff and this disaster was overcome. A swift plan of action was put in place, and replacements in the form of much stronger machined high-tensile steel axles were hand delivered by a good mate. Repairs were undertaken and the wheels began turning once more.

 I also asked Jonesy what the no.1 stand-out piece of gear (aside from all the sweet kit from Paddy’s of course…) had been so far. His answer came without any hesitation: Morgan’s difficult to find and specially ordered tiny camp-chair (seen below). The fact that at meal times it had become part of much valued the ritual was simply invaluable. This seemingly stock standard piece of kit had more than proven it’s worth by describing what he described as “twenty minuets of blessed quiet” at meal times. Several times a day Morgan’s attention became centered upon the tasty camp-meal placed on the chairs handy fold-out table. It’s often the little things.

What was clearly evident from our conversation is just how much the family had bonded. Sure they were close before, but spending 24hrs a day together in such harsh and testing environments has really cemented the relationships. Sure it’s not quite the usual family holiday, but the Jonseys aren’t the usual family.

I’m looking forward to following along and tracking how the rest of the adventure unfolds. If you’d like to keep up with the Jonseys check out their Instagram, Facebook and Blog.


About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. He loves spending time in the outdoors whenever possible - be it hiking, mountaineering, climbing, or just being on the road - He'll take any excuse to get into the mountains! He also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude valley, Brisbane. Drop in and say hi!

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