I started the day with a good plan. Hike 7 miles of the National Trail and turn around and come back. But the day was just so nice and I was feeling good when I hit mile 7, I decided the push on and do the whole trail. 14.7 miles. Only an additional 0.7 miles. What could possibly go wrong? Ha!
Thankfully, the hike itself went off without too many falls. I did slide on a rock at near the halfway point and hyper flex my right leg. But didn’t do any real damage. Then around mile 11, I slid on a rock again and landed on my butt. Not too major. The rest of the hike went well even if it did go on forever.
The real trouble came when I reached the end of the trail. There was no parking lot. No bathroom. No signs of life. I got out the GPS to see where I was. I quickly discovered I was just another half mile from a neighborhood. I made my way in that direction planning to Uber it back to the trailhead on the other side of the mountain where I parked my car. But then I discovered I had no cell signal. So I walked on. And on. I stopped and asked a woman where the closest gas station was and was quickly disappointed to learn I was still maybe 5 miles from civilization. I should have just asked if I could come inside to use the phone for a taxi, but no, in a bonehead move, I left my wallet in my car. On the other side of the mountain.
So I walked on. I still had water. The street I walked on had a beautiful tiny canal with fast running water. I wanted to jump in so much! I walked and walked. Then I decided to try to hitch a ride. There weren’t many cars in the neighborhood and I became completely discouraged because nobody slowed down even a little bit. I started crying and crying out to God for help. When I hit 16.5 miles, I decided to wave more frantically. Finally, a beat up white car stopped! I thanked the driver profusely and requested a ride to the nearest gas station. His name was Joe. When he heard how far I had hiked, he offered to drive me all the way to my car! I thanked Joe even more profusely! I was so blessed to get home with just two blood blisters on my heels. Things could have been much worse.
Moral of this story? Always carry your wallet. Always be prepared to walk farther than you think. Try to stick to the original plan. Don’t take your farthest hike ever the day before work!
16.5 miles! 125.5 miles down, 874.5 miles to go!
This year, I’m donating $1 to MercyShips for ever mile I hike. Want to match me dollar for dollar? I have a fundraiser for that. It is 1000 Miles for MercyShips. They do free surgery for folks in the poorest nations in Africa. I also worked for them for about a year. You can help save a life by participating. How cool is that?