Back in June we threw up some coordinates. ‘Beau Miles lost this GPS tracker – wanna go find it?’ was the general gist. Well someone did.
As far as we were concerned, it was gone for good. Beau let me know that a trail runner had been out to the McMillans track and seen nada, so we updated the article with a somewhat sad note of defeat, and forgot about the whole thing.
Then, on the 14th of September I received an email from Amy Gross:
Subject: Out on McMillans currently
Looking for Beau Miles’ Spot PLB.
So far, nothing.
But it’s been a hell of an adventure!
Sent from my iPhone
‘Shit, did I update that article?’ was my first thought. Then, 24 minutes later, another one:
Subject: Found it!
Is this what you’re looking for?
Sent from my iPhone
I was floored. Turns out Amy had seen my note while at the trailhead, but decided to push on.
‘I saw your update on the article the morning of, and I was like, oh, we’re already here. I think we were at the trailhead. And I was just looking up a couple of extra details of [Beau’s] description. I was like, fuck it, we’re doing this anyway.’
To be fair, Amy didn’t really expect to find the tracker.
‘You know that whole thing where you’re like, oh no, I’m totally prepared to not find it. But really you’re really gutted if you don’t find it?’
‘I was trying to trick myself into being like “it’s all about the adventure”, but really I was like “No I’m going to find this thing.’
The Middle of Nowhere
-37.09152 147.23254 is a pretty remote location. After fording a thigh-high river 15km in, Amy’s husband decided to chill at the river while she headed up the hill to begin her search. She had an hour.
When she got to the spot, Amy quickly began to realise this might be pretty difficult. Fresh grass was shooting up everywhere and leaves and sticks had washed down the sides of the trails from heavy rains. That’s how she got her first theory, that it had washed off the trail, but she was looking for something pretty obvious…
‘You can get SPOTs with a huge screen the size of your hand. I’m thinking that’s what it is, so I’m looking for something about the size of your hand, orange and black with a huge screen.’
She was starting to get pretty desperate when her husband called on a thread of phone reception. Roped in, he suggested that perhaps an animal had picked it up, and that was why the coordinates were showing a little bit off the trail.
It was now 3pm and pressure was building to wrap up the search.
Last Ditch Effort
‘We had some stuff to rough camp if we had to. But we were planning on coming back to the car that day. So I was like ok let’s wrap it up, all about the adventure y’know. But he said c’mon, let’s have a look, so we went off the trail.’
And there it was, about 10m off the trail, covered in bite marks, they’d found it. A small black square the size of a matchbox, bigger than a needle, but in a much bigger haystack.
A few weeks later, my inbox pinged again. A smiling photo of Amy with Beau at his home in Jindivick, GPS returned and reward (a bottle of red by the looks of things) received.
But as we all know, it’s about the adventure. And perhaps more importantly, about not giving up. Congrats on the find Amy!