High temperatures send me crazy. In 1972, my family made an attempt to drive around the coast of Australia. After a year, we turned back from the area in the extreme north of Queensland and headed south. Home had never seemed more desirable. The heat drained me and left me with no will to carry on. But I was never in danger, traveling with my former husband, three children and a Basset Hound over smooth roads which passed small towns, albeit vast distances apart.
But step outside the umbrella of civilization, and life is not safe.
BBC news today reports that a husband and wife who were from Qatar were driving from an estate they owned in the desert. They would have been aware that help would be almost nonexistent in the Empty Quarter Desert in the Arabian Peninsula. The area, known as 'Rub' al Khali' is so vast (650,000 square km, 250,000sq mi) that it encompasses 4 countries: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
A relative raised the alert when the Qatari couple didn't appear at their destination. Security forces mounted a major search operation.
They found the woman near their overturned vehicle and a helicopter found her husband 10km (6 miles) away.
It seems the husband made a desperate attempt to find help in the desert's vast, inhospitable expanse.
They died of thirst.
In the largest uninterrupted desert on Earth with little rainfall, the lower third of the Arabian peninsula has tempted many explorers to unveil its mysteries. Sand dunes as tall as high-rise buildings loom under an area which gets little rainfall. Lost oasis cities are believed to lie beneath the sand. And yet the area contains some of the richest oil fields in the world. Roads skirt its outer edges but special permits are needed to explore it more deeply.
How sad that these people died in an area they knew well. Most of us wouldn't chance the trip so far away from other people who could offer help in a time of need. Imagine dying of thirst.
The symptoms of dehydration start with grogginess or sleepiness, severe headaches or nausea, and a tingling in the limbs. Then, muscles may become spastic, vision may dim, and delirium may begin. In the final stage organs fail, starting with the kidneys.
Many challenges remain in our beautiful planet for explorers, or for daredevils who make a tremendous effort for a television program. Not for me.
Have you ever challenged yourself in the wild part of the planet?