The family that adventures together, stays together.
Meet the Jonesys, an Australian family that has embarked on a massive trek across the Outback together. They plan to walk more than 1800 km (1118 miles) off track and completely self-supported from Kaltukatjara (Docker River) in the Northern Territory to the coast at Port Augusta in South Australia. In-between, they’ll cross through some of the most difficult and remote terrain that the continent has to offer.
The expedition team consists of Lauren and Justin Jones, who are accompanied by their one year old daughter Morgan. The team set out on the journey back in July, and hope to wrap things up by October, passing such iconic Australian locations as Uluru, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Mount Connor, Lake Eyre, Lake Torrens, and Dalhousie Springs while en route.
While out on the trail, Lauren and Justin are each pulling specially designed carts that hold all of their gear and supplies for the trek, including the water that they need to survive in the arid Australian center. When completely full, those carts weigh upwards of 240 kg (529 pounds). Morgan usually hitches a ride with one of her parents throughout the day, although she has learned to walk while on the expedition. As she grows more confident in her trekking abilities, she is happy to hike alongside them for brief periods too.
As of now, the Jonsesys are 45 days into the journey and have covered roughly 700 km (434 miles). Their course has taken them through remote sections of the country, but from time to time they are dipping into towns to resupply as they go. That happens about once every two weeks or so, and are welcome respites from the difficult task of pulling the heavy carts day in and day out.
If Justin Jones is a name that sounds familiar, you probably remember him from two major expeditions that I covered on The Adventure Blog in the past. He and his buddy James “Cas” Castrission first came to prominence in the exploration community when they completed a paddling journey from Australia to New Zealand by kayak called Crossing the Ditch. Later, they would also become the first team to ski from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back again in their Crossing the Ice expedition. This has led to both men being named to the list of Australia’s 50 greatest explorers.
Despite having completed these major challenges, Justin had never conducted a major expedition in his home country, and thus the Outback expedition was born. The journey will not only allow him to explore parts of Australia that he hasn’t seen before, it will allow the whole family to connect with the country, and its rich history, in a new way.
But, there is more to the journey than just that. The Jonesys are also hoping to raise funds to provide dialysis for aboriginal Australians, who are 25% more likely to suffer from kidney failure than non-native Australians. To that end, they are raising funds for the Purple House, which helps to provide this important medical attention.
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