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:
- David's condition was not improving rapidly and would take too many days to improve to continue a speed attempt
- The next section was more remote desert bushwacking
- David was consuming 2litres of water every 4 miles and not able to carry enough water to compensate
- The temps were forecasted to continue to be over 100 degrees
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!