Solo trek on a long and lonely road

Long distance walker Dominique Fischer is ready to set off again

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HIGH ROAD: Dominique Fischer takes a pitstop and a selfie on the long road during his trek.

HIGH ROAD: Dominique Fischer takes a pitstop and a selfie on the long road during his trek.

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Dominique Fischer battled heat, flies during gruelling Gibb River Road trek.

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Retired West Australian economics professor Dominique Fischer is not one to put his feet up.

A keen paraglider grounded due to the pandemic, he recently tackled a different kind of adventure - a 32-day, solo 730km trek of the Gibb River Road from Derby to Wyndham pushing a hand-made bamboo cart.

"I was getting antsy," he said. "I have already walked the Bibbulmun Track, which I will do again when I turn 80, and wanted to do something new."

Dominique, 78, carried his camping gear and supplies on the cart, complete with a solar panel to power a flashing light to alert road trains of his presence.

The cart also displayed the French, Canadian and Australian flags in honour of his origins, and a Victoria Park Men's Shed banner, as his fellow shedders had shared advice and tools.

Dominique soon discovered his trip was being tracked on a Gibb River Facebook page.

MOVING FORWARD: He is already planning his next adventure.

MOVING FORWARD: He is already planning his next adventure.

"I found people had heard about me on Facebook and so they were looking out for me and stopping all the time to offer water and food. Road train drivers shared food with me and radioed my position to each other to avoid squishing me like a mozzie."

He set off at 8am each day and walked a hot four to five hours, with breaks.

"I always had a good breakfast with coffee and cereal and ate nuts and damper. I was under the illusion I would find roadkill to eat along the way but I didn't find any.

"I picked up a baby joey from the pouch of a dead kangaroo and a passing car took it to be rescued, but I couldn't eat the mother after that."

Dominique, who lost around six kilos on the walk, listened to audible books along the way, enjoyed the night skies and slept very well camped by the roadside.

Occasionally he would ask drivers he met to send a text to his wife when they were within range: a simple four letters - SFSG.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: He travelled the roads pushing a hand-made bamboo cart.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: He travelled the roads pushing a hand-made bamboo cart.

"That stands for So Far So Good; that is all she really needed to know."

A good pair of boots and socks carried him the whole way without a single blister.

"I found the going easy except when it was uphill or the road was corrugated.

"There were no flies or mozzies that time of year (July-August).

"The scariest animals I encountered were bulls which roam around. A couple of times my camp was surrounded by them."

Back in his home in East Victoria Park, he is planning his next adventure - kayaking the Murray-Darling River.

"I am ready to do practically anything; I never feel I am too old. My advice is to stop bitching about your age; it's irrelevant. Stop using it as an excuse to get favours or special treatment or as an excuse to stop doing things."

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