For the next week I'll be in Banff, Jasper, Glacier, & (hopefully) Yellowstone National Parks..just play time. Hope to send in some pictures during the trip. Cheers! I'm flying out of Toronto in just a few hours...better go!
And now for the rest of the story...
I knew David was in rough shape when he called last night, I just didn't know how bad.
Yesterday, when David lost the trail in the last few miles, he was in really bad shape. So bad that he was on the verge of passing out. David was completely out of water, severely dehydrated with cramping and swollen hands. He found a windpump (hikers use these and are scattered throughout the area) and, before he laid down, hung up his shoes and hat so he could be found in case he passed out. David laid there for 50 minutes drinking the water and eating what little food he had left. He told me that at that point all he thought about was survival and not wanting to die.
Shortly after he finished the 45 miles yesterday he tried to eat some dinner. He was so dehydrated and now, nauseous, he started to throw-up whatever he ate. David decided he might as well go to bed but cramping in his stomach and extremities, especially his hands, kept him awake all night.
The topic of not going on first came up last night but all thought it would be better to wait until morning. Initially thinking a 'zero day' might be enough, David, JB, & Neal drove back into Deming, NM. They spent the day at the Motel looking over maps and discussing the situation as well as waiting to see David's condition improve. In addition, the only clinic in the area where David could get an IV was closed on weekends.
The decision to not continue was finally made and was based primarily on:
Talking to JB, who has seen David in rough times, described David's condition as one of the worst he has seen. David feels as though he is letting down the many people who are involved with this adventure and all those who are following along.
From my own perspective, I have seen David push through hard times; times when I would not have continued and have no doubt that his condition is worse than he has experienced before. Furthermore, the decision to not continue was incredibly difficult for David. This is not a result of not being in shape or being psychologically unprepared. A successful CDT speed attempt was not a foregone conclusion and I would be kidding myself if I said David would easily finish. However, it's easy to think how tough the mountains will be but how about traversing 45 miles of desert in 108 degrees with no shade, being cut by sage and briars for 16 hours and staggered your last 7 miles after narrowly avoiding a black-out, alone and in the dark, just for starters?
It's hard to know what else to say; here it is (in 2 parts) in David's own words:
Please leave a comment and a word of encouragement to pass along to David!
Today's Mileage: 45
It was a long and hard day in the desert for David. Earlier today, David decided to cover the originally planned 45 miles for the day, instead of the 56 he had considered. Hence, his end point for today is N.M. Hwy. 9.
For the first 29 miles of the CDT there is no 'real' trail, meaning there's no cleared treadway of any kind. For several hours David was bushwacking through Sagebrush and Briars and commented on how 'cut-up' he is now. The temperature soared to a high of 108 degrees and David struggled with some cramping and swollen hands for part of the day, although his knee appears to be fine. Having no respite from the sun in that heat is a major challenge!
David was slightly 'turned-around' (since he says he's never lost!) in the last 7 miles and I had several phones calls from JB regarding his possible whereabouts. All turned out okay and they're ready for some food & rest!
The following GPS coordinates will locate where JB, Neal, & David are sleeping tonight at the CDT southern terminus on the U.S./Mexican border (copy & paste in Google maps, etc):
+31° 29' 42.62", -108° 12' 31.09"
To get to the terminus, they had to drive 28 miles of very rough desert road that, in David's words, "seemed to go on & on". When they arrived around 6:00 PM, the temperature was 103 degrees. David mentioned as they were setting up camp, several Mexican border patrols rode by in camouflaged Jeeps, with plenty of weaponry.
Click on the player to listen to David as he prepares to head south to the Mexican border.
David is planning on covering an extra 10 miles tomorrow, which will change his first day total to 56 miles. He is making this adjustment mostly for logistical reasons as plans for the next few days. Approximately the first 100 miles are through the Chihuahuan Desert.
Only one more day 'til the CDT adventure [officially] begins...for David, yes, but also for each of us who are hoping and praying for him and joining him in his journey through this blog and on the trail.
Today David called and reported that his Knee is feeling better - thanks for the effective prayers - keep sending them up!
Tonight David & JB are staying in Deming, NM and tomorrow will be traveling to the U.S./Mexican border. Neal (Rosie) Bryant will be joining them as well for the first few days for support and laughs (keeping David in his place, so to speak).
Here we go...
The mountains are calling and I must go.
- John Muir
Since they left Los Alamos, Horton & JB have been scouting out the New Mexican CDT route.
Initially, they drove north to Cumbres Pass, CO, where David plans to arrive on June 22, and saw plenty of snow - no surprise. Heading south towards the Mexican border they are finding out that locating the actual trail (the official CDT route) is a formidable challenge.
Here's their first little adventure:
Driving down a rough dirt road, they suddenly hit a large rock and heard a loud pop. They thought they blew out a tire and, after looking, realized that the tire was fine but the rim was bent (David shared this story as he was standing in the garage waiting for the repairs). After changing the tire (and accompanying rim), they continued down the road and soon came across a guy with a blown tire on his truck! They stopped to help which was both a charitable and hospitable act given the physical condition of the driver. David was concerned this guy might pass out on them because of the 16 empty beer cans in the back of his truck - apparently he wasn't too excited with his flat tire.
Tonight they are probably staying in Pie Town, NM and will continue southward tomorrow.
Please pray for David - he is experiencing some problems with a knee.
On Friday they loaded up the truck and Saturday morning, David & JB hit the road for New Mexico. JB spent a couple days prior making a few modifications to the truck. He added extra lights (front & back), installed the camper and cargo shells, as well as his own ingenious tarp system that extends immediately off the rear of the truck for protection from sun and inclement weather.
On their trip to the southern CDT terminus, the guys are staying with David's parents in Arkansas and then with Blake Wood. Over the next week they will be scouting parts of the trail in NM.