The Dramatic Conclusion

Trip Start Jul 02, 2007
Trip End Jul 06, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, July 5, 2007

     The trip out of the canyon was entirely different than the trip in. We left at 5 a.m., which, as it turned out, wasn't nearly early enough to beat the sun to the open valley and the switchbacks. I had blisters. We didn't pack enough water. And the weight of the previous days weighed heavily on my bones and muscles. Our bodies were clearly fatigued.
     As we made the trip uphill in the sand, through the village, beside the stream, across the valley, into the canyon, past the flat rock, on the red clay, to the base of the switchbacks which led to the hilltop, I was drained. Drained physically. Drained mentally. Drained emotionally. And beyond that, we were drained with only about three full drinks of water remaining.
     I began to feel my body refusing to continue. I was dizzy, light-headed, unable to move more than 100 yards up the hill without stopping for 15 minutes. At that point, we made a decision. Andrew would go up the hill the rest of the way, get water, and get help. I would wait in shade, moving and resting little by little.
     I waited, feeling like I would throw up, wondering if I would die from heat stroke or dehydration. I waited in one shady spot until the shade was gone, then moved to the next, the last shady spot on the trail. I waited, and finally, the click-click of hooves as Andrew rounded the corner with a horse. He wasn't riding it, it wasn't a white one and his armor was a stained, smelly white t-shirt, but he was there to rescue me.
     As we reached the hilltop, I was deliriously trying to catch my breath and make my way to the car. I sat in the passenger seat and blew the cool air of the air conditioner onto my withering body. I was overwhelmed and began to weep.
     After we left, it took several hours for my body to recover. I felt weak and sick, and at the same time, I felt like an idiot for underestimating this hike, this heat, this desert. I felt lucky to have survived the challenge and to have been with someone who loved me on this amazing journey.
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