The sound of the winds were inescapable except when I was in Katie's care, which was so hot and hadn't the energy to ask Matt (who was cocooned in his tent) for the keys to open the windows. I think I associate these kings of wind with storms so it was interesting not to have clouds most of the day.
When the sounds of air moving at howling rates across the mesa were too enervating to do anything but to lie still, I was able to compare the changes in speed and the resultant sounds to ocean waves. It was fun to do that, for a while, not the entire six hours. Unlike the ocean tides hitting the shore there was no grand great plan or order, it simply was.
Yesterday's hike to the Arch, pushed my limits hard. It is estimated we hiked around 7.5 miles. With stops and figuring out the trail, whether to take the high route or not, it took us just shy of seven hours. Matt and Meredith had gone up ahead of the rest us during the final stretch, and bless Matt's heart - he not only carried my tent (which was actually his since the one I borrowed for the trip was killed by the wind storm) during the hike, and my therma-rest pad for half of it, but he had set up my tent first thing when they hit our camp site before us.
Greg said, while I was climbing up from yet another river crossing, refusing a hand again, that he was surprised by my strength and determination on this trip but he didn't know why given how it's there in other areas of my life. I responded by saying I was just stubborn. He said stubborn isn't always such a bad thing to be.
Once getting to Jacob Hamblin Arch I was please to see very little in the way of cow patties that had marked most of the hike out. While it has been sweet to see cows not penned in, to see them along the road, and especially idyllic to see that fawn colored mama and calf in a shaded glen on the trail yesterday, one has to wonder about the impact on the land and water we have been transversing. Though fun in a twisted way to see shit piles in various phases of petrification, many looking like interesting sculptures, it is a reminder that this is a wilderness study area and not protected. What is the impact for the native wildlife, the soil, water sources? How does one get a dead cow out of some the places we hiked yesterday - what happens if they can't.
At one point during the hike Katie said she felt she had aged 25 years doing this march in. I rolled that phrase around in my brain, on my tongue but it had no resonance for me. If anything despite the exhaustion I felt, and would feel upon arriving at our camp site, it seemed this whole trip made me feel younger somehow, as if doing something far out of my scope, experience, and comfort zone fed my soul, made me realize how much could lie ahead for me if I so choose. It was an enthralling realization and probably helped to get me the next 3 miles despite feeling completely depleted of resources.