The desert caught me by surprise.
Flatness, I expected. An arid landscape, lacking drinking water. Wind, tearing at my face, pushing against my body with every step. The terrain was miles of sameness appearing in every direction, hiding draws and canyons in its rolling.
But I was fast. In spite of the wind, in spite of the lack of water. I moved with a speed that I didn’t even believe when I camped on the first night, more than 25 miles from the border with Nevada. Tomorrow, I told myself, I’ll see whether I really hiked that far. Because if I could reach my husband, waiting with the car at the 50 mile point of my hike, on the second night instead of halfway through the third day as planned, then I would have proven I could hike over 25 miles in a day.
And, to my surprise, I did.
I slept in a tent with my husband the second night, a tent that I did not have to pitch, with plentiful water and food, and a friend to bring me one or the other if I asked very nicely. It would have been so easy to call it then. To declare that 50 miles in 2 days was plenty.
But I didn’t.
I pushed on the next day through another 24 miles. I met up with Ambrose twice more that day, at the Bruneau scenic overlook and again on the road. Then I hiked off for my third night, knowing I would have about 26 miles to go to finish up my planned route. Not knowing whether Ambrose would be able to drive the car to pick me up at the designated spot.
Between that uncertainty and the intense pain that developed on my right foot when my pinky toe decided to try to bore a hole into its neighbor, I ended the hike at Hammett, ID. With the out and back on Sunday, that made for a total of 92 miles in about 3.5 days.
I’ve learned to be more careful in trimming down my toenails before a long fast hike. Next time, they’ll be close trimmed and filed. I’ll do more route scouting beforehand to make sure my car can handle the pickup where I want it to, though for next year, I know it can meet me at either end to link the sections from this year and last year.
I believe that I can do a 100 mile hiking trip. I’ll have to, for some of the sections of the ICT that go through remote areas. I know I can handle the weight and the distance. Next time I will have to pace myself a little better, and it sure would help if those sections weren’t through desert.