SNOWBOARDER JEREMY JONES PAYS TRIBUTE TO JOHN MUIR
deep into Muir’s wilderness with two-time Olympian Elena Hight
Searing heat, miles of unrelenting desolation ahead, and only your deepest, darkest thoughts for counsel – extended time in the desert is enough to break even the hardiest characters. Famed for their surly temperaments and a bad spitting habit, for some, being lumped with a camel is the substance of nightmare, for others in this perpetual state of exhaustion, they’ll savour the companionship.
A formidable constituent of the Sahara desert, the Bayuda desert is characterised partly by its people’s modern-day reliance on their camels. At the start of the year, a team of nine joined Secret Compass to traverse the seemingly eternal sand. Upon their return, we caught up with competitive rower Lukasz Sawicki from Poland to hear how it went.
Change is always a good thing. It was refreshing to get out of Warsaw but it was also really nice to get back to civilisation and all the comforts of normal life with good coffee!
I’ve always liked deserts. They’re clean, remote, they offer unobstructed view over the horizon and you always feel like you’re the first person ever to cross it. The harshness of the climate also adds flavour to the whole experience. I crossed the Lut desert in Iran with SC so Sudan seemed like a good follow-up.
I’m a competitive rower so I just kept to my normal, daily routine. I didn’t have to train additionally for the trip, it wasn’t very physically challenging. I think any person with good fitness could do it without any major problems.
I tamed my camel quite well I think. I called him Szymon. Finally there was somebody I could speak Polish to. I miss the beast.
It was one of the highlight moments of the trip. The sky in the desert is beyond description and since the evenings were quite warm, we could sleep without a tent. Falling asleep looking at billions of stars – it’s something I really miss.
Every trip has been so different, it’s so hard to compare. I enjoy trips with SC both for the atmosphere in the team and for the remote, unconventional places that we visit.
I enjoy the hot climate, I much prefer +45ºC than -10ºC. The heat wasn’t such a big issue for me – I think I was actually the only one to sunbathe in the middle of the desert. The cold would have been much more painful for me. Maybe that’s because I’m a skinny guy. It’s a matter of personal adjustment to the conditions out there.
I had the same boots that took me through the Lut desert in Iran. No blisters whatsoever.
I haven’t decided yet. I want to do one more expedition with SC this year. I find these trips very refreshing mentally. Maybe Bhutan?