|Welcome to New Mexico. There, I said it.|
|Teeeheeheeheehee. (we didn't make it, just found it on the trail)|
After about 9kms, I was in a fair amount of pain, but I doggedly continued on. We hardly rested, as I didn't want to fall too far behind the others. As you may have noticed, most of our landscape photos feature my back; this is because D had the camera (bigger pants pockets) and he had to walk behind me otherwise he'd accidentally leave me in the dust. At about the 10km mark, we get a call on the walky-talky from GrownUpFriend and Englishman. They were at the next campsite, Hugh Gorge, and they were eager to once again move on, after they ate lunch.
It's at this point that I kind of lost it. It's already past 1pm, I'm in increasing pain, the others are more than an hour ahead of us, and I've lost my optimism. I figure the only thing I can do is keep walking, as fast as possible, without stopping. This is not particularly ideal, as my ankles and then feet just keep on aching more and more, and we hadn't eaten lunch yet, so I was running out of calories too. The last 3km to reach Hugh Gorge I spent muttering angrily to myself and/or crying at how much everything hurt, and D miserably trailed behind, unable to convince me to stop and rest.
Hiking Lesson: Remember to medicate yourself with food and pain killers.
When we finally made it to GrownUpFriend and Englishman, I was too exhausted to even talk; I just had to sit and focus on putting things into my mouth (tortillas, then ibuprofen, then water, then more food, then more water). GrownUpFriend and Englishman wanted to walk another 4kms, up the frigging mounting to the next campsite, because it was supposed to be pretty or some shit like that. Meanwhile, D was silently worrying that I was so injured I'd need to quit the track. I, however, was in too stubborn a mood to consider that an option yet, but it's clear I'm in pain and grumpy. So D goes and studies the map on the trail sign:
|The next section of the trail. See that topography? See "Razorback Ridge"? Ffffffffffffffffffffffuck that.|
It's perfect: the van has exactly two spots left; the 4WD trail goes right past Birthday Waterhole, so it won't even be out of the way for the van; GrownUpFriend and Englishman can walk the next section and meet us at Birthday Waterhole; and best of all, I don't really have to walk anymore. Hallelujah, it was a miracle.
Next thing I know, we're in the van, bouncing down the track, and listening to the happy chatter of the group of international students (and giggling at the American guy who sounded very, very American, in a nice way).
|I am OVER THE MOON that I'm not walking.|
|Birthday Waterhole: an early half-birthday present to me!|
|The wind kept blowing from all directions, so we tried to hide our tent behind a rock to shelter a bit.|
So thanks, random internationals from a uni in Melbourne, for organizing a pick up at that exact time and place so we could meet you and bum a ride. You guys are awesome.
More to come...