Lessons to be learned from Outback ordeal

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The amazing tale of the grey nomad who became stranded in remote bush country and then walked nearly 30 kilometres to safety in searing summer temperatures has lessons for us all.

Beth Lawrie, 56, waited out the heat of the day after her campervan broke down in Murray Sunset National Park, 550km from Melbourne near the South Australian border … and then decided to take matters into her own hands.

With daytime temperatures above 40 degrees the resourceful lone traveller decided, that having been unable to fix her van’s mechanical problem, trekking through the night was her only option. According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, Ms Lawrie had a small amount of food, and four litres of water. Despite having two phones, on different networks, she was not able to raise 000.

“I tried everything, but I just couldn’t get the car mobile … so I decided to pack my bag and off I went,” Ms Lawrie told the Herald Sun. “I know I should have stayed with my vehicle, but people didn’t know I was there, so I knew that wasn’t going to work. I knew I was at least 40km from a town.”

The experienced hiker walked about 16km the first night, then rested the next day with only an umbrella for shade, before striking off again at sunset.

Ms Lawrie, who is on a solo trip around Australia after having sold her house in 2010, said there were several times during the trek when she thought she wouldn’t make it.

Her feet were blistered and swollen and she was barely able to walk when she finally got mobile phone coverage and contacted police. She was rescued from the fittingly named Last Hope Track at 1am on Wednesday after her near two-day ordeal. She was admitted to Mildura Hospital and later discharged.

Apparently, the hardy traveller, who is originally from South Australia, is gearing up to hit the road again but she warns like-minded adventurers to be prepared.

“The only way I was able to survive was because I had everything I needed,” she told the Herald Sun. “I could have been in real trouble otherwise.”

Sergeant Tony Keeley from Ouyen police says the woman was sensible, but would have avoided having to leave her car if she had advised someone of her plans.

“No matter how well and organised a person is you stick to that basic thing of filling out a trip intention form and leaving it with the local police, friend or family,” he said. “That would alleviate a lot of problems.”

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