Hike 1 – The Bobcat Encounter, July 18, 2009
Every nerve in my body is cursing my name. This is insanity. “This is not the way the hike was supposed to turn out,” I tell myself, trying to gain control of my mind which has been drifting towards the recent story of a hiker’s death from heat exhaustion.
The birds stopped their upbeat jabber a while back. Now only raptors circle overhead looking for kill while I feel hot and vulnerable like a piece of meat on a barbecue grill.
There are at least two more miles to go and I am out of water. I have a headache powerful enough to split an atom and am walking with my eyes closed. Everything burns as if my sunglasses have turned into suns.
The heat is unbearable and I feel feverish. I want to rip my clothes off. They are damp and unnecessarily clingy. Did I mention the back? The back is on strike. It is refusing to carry my backpack and is demanding a deep massage instead. This unprovoked revolt has forced me to carry the backpack in my hand.
“Half a mile,” I lie to myself. “Half a mile and everything will be alright.” Indeed. Meanwhile, the thermometer is approaching it’s stated goal for the day somewhere in the 90’s and the sun has yet to hit high noon.