Monday, October 15, 2007

Death March Weekend(s)

I walked the walk and talked the talk again this weekend. Last weekend I had a near death experience with my practice run at a death march. What is a death march you ask? Well, it is simply hiking your butt off with a few rules. Our local Geocaching community (http://theGBA.net) promotes visiting our local parks and open space preserves. We coordinate cleanups, promote a better understanding of the value of GeoCaching in our local parks and educate the public on good practices enjoying our public parks. A few years ago, some local members planned a long, arduous hike through some of our toughest terrain. After a day long hike, the exhausted trekkers, close to death labeled it a Death March. This stuck as a badge of honor of sorts. A little more formalized now, a Death March must meet some guidelines in minimum number of members participating, distance and terrain elevation change.

The Saturday before last, I called my buddy George and planned to summit El Sombroso. We started at the Woods road entrance to Sierra Azul. We start out at ~1400', dip to ~1250' and then a steady climb to ~3000' and the summit of El Sombroso. I have never attempted such a feat and was not sure of the challenge ahead of me. We started at ~10:00 am. I had a cliff bar and 32oz of water in my new Camelback back pack. Fast forward... about 4 miles in, my back was really hurting. By 9 miles, my back was in extreme pain. By the end, 12 or so miles, I was near death. Mostly from the excruciating pain in my back. I did not expect this and did nothing in anticipation of this. At one point, I was writhing in pain in the middle of the path. This is not the memories I would want my fellow Geocachers to go home away with on a Death March! I swore I would never do a Death March and certainl;y would never step foot on this trail again! My back pain was still present a week later. My hips, thighs, ankles, calves, shins, thumbs and palms were sore. Some of this lasted about 4 days. The one good note is that I found one Geocache at the summit of El Somborso. The experience was not wasted completely.

So, come Saturday evening, I decided to do it again. This time, I invited my friends (I'll use their Geocaching names and then abbreviate them) Sumemrandnana, Changes in Latitude and George. I figured that I could get the three of them to fashion a stretcher out of hiking poles and sweatshirts and drag me back if necessary. Unfortunately, SaN could not make it so it was just CiL, George and I. This time I had some breakfast, 64oz water and some snack like things. We started out about 9 and got back at 4. We stopped and found all the GeoCaches along the route. That plus some breathers took about an hour. So, out traveling time was about 5 hours. I managed the pain with Advil (vitamin A CiL called it) and had plenty of water and snacks. I Lived! Pain 1/2 what it was last week! Sure, it hurts like heck, but I can tolerate that pain.

So, I survived two Death Marches in two weekends. I did not qualify for the premium opportunity to by my very own Death March Geocoin though. We did this one with just three members. Now I am looking to do a third next weekend. My wife has been pretty accommodating so far. I hope she bears with me a couple more times :)

George will never read this, but special thanks for being such a great friend and companion on these adventures!

This is what the hike profile looks like.

1 comment:

alienbody said...

Wow, you have one awesome wife! Oh...the hike looks pretty darn awesome, too! :-)