Date- August 22
Location- Bull Springs
Elevation- 6,785 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 6.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,219.7 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, overcast high 90s
Injuries- Very sore feet
Pain level- severe
Spirits/Morale- utterly exhausted
Wildlife encounters- horny toads
Days without shower- 3
Days without laundry- 3
When I awoke, the sun was all the way up. I could feel myself cooking in my clothing underneath the sleeping bag… drenched in sweat. I put away the bag and took off my extra layers. Every movement triggered a muscle spasm or cramp – in my feet, calves, hamstrings, between my shoulders, even my biceps. I drank what I could, opened my umbrella, positioned it accordingly and laid back down.
I laid on my pack against the fence post until almost 10:30 am. Then, I decided I needed to move to water, about 6.5 miles away. I got up and began to hobble…
All told, the only thing that really hurt was my feet. I felt as though I were walking on broken glass. Every step was misery! If I tried to go faster, the pain only increased. Each step became deliberate.
The heat was unreal. It was easily in the upper 90s with barely any breeze. This situation could have easily degenerated into helplessness. All the ingredients were there: extreme pain, extreme heat, extreme lack of water, extreme exhaustion, extreme desire not to move, extreme lack of motivation to do anything.
At almost exactly 3 miles from where I completed the challenge (a little after noon) I sat down, opened up my umbrella, and laid on my pack. The next water was in 3.5 miles, but word was sent that it was fouled by cows. This didn’t make it undrinkable, but it does make it unpleasant to drink after filtering.
I laid across the trail beneath my umbrella for almost 3 hours. I didn’t sleep, but just sat there against my pack with my shoes off – snacking, sipping the water I had left, and generally trying to find anything to do but hike.
Jetpack showed up a little after 3 pm and sat down too. She’d been having a really rough time through the Basin, especially today. She said she hadn’t been able to go more than a couple miles at a time without stopping. Soda arrived about 20 minutes later. He’d been having a stop and go day as well. Everybody was having a hard time, in one way or another. We all sat there for another 15 to 20 minutes before peeling ourselves up and continuing to the fouled water source.
It was between 4 and 5 pm when we got there, and Jetpack wanted to call it a day. This was over 25 miles for her and only 6.5 miles for me, sort of. Regardless, I was hurting so bad I had no qualms about stopping. So we did.
Oh no, Cows
There was a herd of cows at the fouled spring who weren’t terrified of humans. They hung around us for several hours into the evening. The water itself wasn’t too bad, so long as it was still cold when you drank it. The warmer it got, the more you could taste “the cows.”
I’ve only had a couple hours sleep in the past 40 hours and am feeling that deprivation. I feel stiff, but it’s mostly just my feet causing me the greatest pain. They feel raw and bruised. Each of my toes feel bruised as well. I did around 55 of those miles without wearing socks. No blisters or hot spots – just incredible soreness from the repeated impact of jogging / rucking. I don’t think it’s the mileage that got them this sore. The heavier impact of jogging at the end of such a long stretch; that’s what put me over the edge. I also believe I could have got more miles if it wasn’t for the shenanigans and breaks with Soda. Nothing against him at all, because I really like the guy. However, he ended up being a slight mental obstacle through no fault of his own (that I didn’t anticipate).
I’m dreading tomorrow; I hope my feet are in a better way…
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