There were a few very steep climbs and I didn’t think that after being out there for nearly 5 hours already I would make it up one more. M- was patient, reassuring, and never let on that he might want me to MOVE MY ASS faster. He stopped so I could catch my breath, sip some water, tie my shoe, fix my hat, or whatever. He talked to me and had a calming effect the whole time. He never lost his wits, never got frustrated with me or the situation. Confused and perplexed yes, but calm, cool, and forging ahead at all times.
Around the 7 hour mark we saw a few tents in the distance…I think we both cheered a little bit--tents meant there were people--people meant someone could tell us where the HELL we were!
In the end we were able to walk back to the parking lot via the road. At that point I was not entering the trails again. I wanted a sure thing. We had walked about 13 miles; we planned on 5. Fail. We were out for about 8.5 hours; we planned on 4. Fail. We planned on the weather being in the low 80’s; it was over 90 degrees. Fail.
I’m pretty sure I looked like a crazy person walking along the side of the road, drenched in sweat, slight twinge in my ankle made worse by pounding the pavement, legs covered in dirt, and bug bites. M- just plugged along with me, hand in hand down the road toward the car. He encouraged me the whole way. I’m sure now he will tell you I was whining…I don’t remember, but knowing me…I probably was.
...just one more part coming!