Where to begin. The rain. The wind. The combination. It was a brutal start to the second day of the 3 day journey and didn't let up much as the hours went by. But let me just say that I don't think anyone has suffered as much from this unpleasant display from Mother Nature as those who are camping. By tonight, that number has likely dwindled. To walk in the cold, rain and wind is one thing... but to do it after emerging from a cold, damp tent - knowing that same cold, damp tent is waiting for you when you return - is entirely another thing. I dedicate this blog to those of you who camp during the three day. Your journey is more challenging each year anyway - but this year it's completely on another level.
Just a few miles into today's walk and I was completely soaked - thanks to the strong winds which managed to blow the rain into any opening of what might otherwise have been some kind of waterproof gear. As for the shoes - forget it. Plastic bags over the footwear, or just covering your socks - whatever the approach - we all ended up with wet feet. After several miles and during an attempted sock change (which really makes no difference or sense whatsoever when your shoes are wet) I learned that walking in wet shoes is a great way to exfoliate your feet. Any tough skin I had worked hard at building up over the past few months (great way to prevent blisters) peeled right off. In chatting with other walkers back at camp this evening - I discovered it was a shared experience. So it will be interesting to see what this presents as far as tomorrow's final leg goes.
I was saddened tonight to see empty tents or empty spaces where tents had been. You know it's got to be pretty bad before any of these brave souls pack it in. But for many, there was just no other choice. On the positive side, and I've really had to think about finding something positive in this miserable forecast, I think the crossing that finish line will be that much more of a victory tomorrow afternoon - and the closing ceremony will be as much of a statement as a celebration.
I'm lucky tonight. I am at home, warm and dry and looking forward to a good night's sleep. For those who are still in the tent city, and even those who have taken refuge in other lodging, I am thinking of you tonight and hope tomorrow's experience rewards your hard word, dedication and unwillingness to let some crappy weather make you back down from the ultimate effort in saying "*&#()$ you!!" to breast cancer. Walk on pink warriors!