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Bush Photo Essay

From a young age, Alienor Le Gouvello developed a passion for travelling and adventure. Her previous expeditions include a horseback trek in Mongolia at age 22 and a sidecar motorbike expedition from Siberia to Paris. Le Gouvello, originally from France, was working with an Indigenous community in Docker River near Uluru in the Australian central desert when she first discovered the existence of wild brumbies. In 2015, she embarked on her longest solo journey: 5,330km along the Bicentennial National trail, Australia’s longest trekking route, beginning in Healesville in Victoria and ending in Cooktown, Queensland, with just three wild horses and her dog for company. Since it opened in 1988, only 35 people have completed the trail. Le Gouvello is the second woman to complete the trip and the only person to have the same horses from beginning to end.

I work in remote Aboriginal communities as a social worker with kids so even my work is a bit of an adventure and means living in isolated places

Le Gouvello’s horses were purchased through the passive trapping program of the Guy Fawkes River Heritage Horse Association. She spent nine months training the three horses she selected – Roxanne, Cooper and River – before the journey began. All the horses arrived in Cooktown healthy and strong and she says they did not sustain any injuries or require rest days.

The first 3,000km my horses were barefoot. Brumbies have amazing feet

The Bicentennial trail follows the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and the eastern escarpment. Other than her horses, Le Gouvello’s only other company was her dog, Fox, who joined her for part of the trip, save for when she was taking the trial through national parks or private property. “I hated the times I didn’t have Fox, because as much as I love my horses they don’t fit in my tent. I have had Fox for 12 years and he is my best mate.” Some days, towards the end of the day, Fox’s arthritis would flair up on the last few kilometres and Le Gouvello would carry him over her shoulders.

The beauty of some views and landscapes is just the encouragement you need some mornings to remind you the hardship of such an expedition is all worth it

At the beginning of the high Victorian country, the track was tough and very steep and the horses were not interested in going up and down such terrain: “Being green [just broken in] horses, they lacked the work ethic and if it wasn’t for my mare, who had the most amazing stamina, setting the pace I don’t know how we would have gotten through.”

Сьюзан, ослепленная темнотой шифровалки, спускалась, не отрывая руки от плеча Стратмора. Даже в полуметре от шефа она не видела очертаний его фигуры. Всякий раз, ступая на очередную ступеньку, она носком туфли первым делом старалась нащупать ее край. К ней снова вернулись страхи, связанные с новой попыткой найти ключ Хейла в Третьем узле.