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Zombie State

Valley above El Chalten, Argentina

Laura writes about our first few, hard days’ walking along the Carretera Austral:

The last two days were tough. While they were happening, we were in a zone, a single-minded, zombie state focused only on walking nearly 100km in two days to make our ferry.

Now finished, the lowest points stand out in stark relief. Throbbing, burning feet, sweltering heat, aching shoulders and utter exhaustion – combined with horseflies doing constant laps of my head – conspired to break my spirit. Every step I took, feet scrunched up to avoid putting pressure on blister, sent waves of nausea through me and I finally broke down in tears.

I started playing the blame game as I questioned the point and purpose of this expedition – of any expedition – and took it out on Tim. Situations like this have no resolution, you have to just keep plodding on, but recognising exhaustion as the problem is key to sanity for both you and your expedition (or life) partner.

Recovery is slow – three days later I’m still hobbling and inhaling calories – but Tim luckily holds no grudge and took the tent from me to lighten the load on my feet. I think of myself as a moderately hard girl – I’ve run marathons (including on two consecutive days), completed a 45-mile Tube run and crossed a desert on foot – but the last two days have been the hardest, both physically and emotionally, I’ve yet had to suffer.

About the Author

Laura Moss left the UK in August 2013 on her bike, aiming for Australia. In a previous life she was a lawyer. She curates the Long Distance Cycling Journeys database and organises the Festival of Cycle Touring. Her husband, Tim, runs this website. Read more...

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