The 12 camels plodded through Rainbow Valley in the Australian outback. Kelsey, the author's 7-year-old granddaughter, nudged her 1, 000-pound camel in the belly and Charcoal charged off in a cloud of dust, galloping to the head of the line. The author and 3 of his grandchildren, along with 6 other adventurers, a guide and a camel handler took a 7-day camel safari in the middle of the Australian desert. They spent 8 hours a day riding camels in search of caves with Aboriginal paintings, fossils, desert animals and unusual flora and fauna. At night they slept on the ground around a huge fire to ward of the near-freezing temperature. It was winter in the desert. While the daytime temperature was 80F or 90F, it dropped into the 30s at night. The Australian outback is not a Sahara sand-dune type desert. The terrain changed every few miles from thick clumps of small bushy trees to rolling rocky hills, bright red sandstone buttes, open sandy plains, rocky water-holes and grass-covered ranges. While riding they encountered kangaroos, wallabies, wedge-tailed eagles, dingos, emus and a variety of desert birds, lizards, snakes, ants and spiders. One day Neil, the camel handler, dug up some witchety grubs, a three-inch-long, three-quarter-inch round grub worm. Neil and the author were the only ones willing to eat the grubs alive as the Aborigines often do. While camels have a nasty reputation, the author found them to be intelligent, obedient, sensitive, well behaved and downright lovable. The grandkids had no trouble controlling them. The best part of the trip: qRunning the camels across the dry lake-bedq, Kelsey said.Saudi Arabia has no wild camels and actually imports camels from Australia. It is estimated there are about four million camels in the worlda three million one- hump Arabic Dromedary camels and one million two-hump Asian ... The riding camels have longer legs, a walking speed of 5 mph and can cover 30 miles per day.
|Title||:||Australia from the Back of a Camel|
|Author||:||Allen L. Johnson|
|Publisher||:||Creative Enterprises (OH) - 1999-04|