Updated: May 26, 2019
The morning started with a conversation that I didn’t want to have. Loren didn’t sleep very well because she was in lots of pain and working through a lot of negative thoughts from the day before. We got up later than usual because I wanted Loren to get some sleep. Hopefully some extra time to rest would help her body and mind. We were essentially discussing if Loren was happy to do this for the next however long, and if she thought she physically could. It was an emotional discussion to have, but I could tell that Loren was losing her confidence, and not feeling happy about how things were going so far. In the end expeditions are tough and grueling but they still need to be fun, other wise whats the point?!
She said she wasn’t sure if she could do it, and she didn’t want to give up or let anyone down, I could tell she felt a lot of shame in saying she couldn’t do it. But she doesn't realise that makes her braver than most, being able to be honest with how shes feeling. I told her that she should be so proud of what she’s done so far as so many other people wouldn’t say yes to this adventure, and that there’s no failure, only success.
Loren got a blister on her small toe from her shoes rubbing on the first day of our adventure, when it was fresh I cleaned it up and told her to wear clean socks so it wouldn’t get gross. But clean socks are hard to come by out here and it’s now quite infected. Today I cleaned it with saline and put some iodine on it before wrapping it up. I know that with the current amount of physical and mental exertion her body won’t be able to heal all her cuts and bruises and fight an infection. Even my cuts and sores aren't healing like they normally do.
We started our day on the bikes at around 11:30 Loren Is moving slow as she is totally exhausted. I took more of her gear this morning to do my best to make it easier, my load is now pretty heavy! From our beautiful camping spot overlooking the sand dunes we followed the track down to the bottom of a hill the sand was a new level of deep down there. We are currently following the track the Marija and Jason drove us in on when we started, so I knew that the hill ahead of us was definitely going to be a struggle. I dropped my bike bags and trailer and started pushing! It was like the sand hill that never ends, it went up and up and up! It took about 25min for me to get 200m up to the top and then it was back down for my trailer then Loren’s trailer then Loren’s bike and finally the bike bags! I was absolutely shattered my calf’s were burning my arms felt like they might just drop off and I was so hot. I sat down and waited for Loren who was carrying her Bike bags. The view was amazing, overlooking massive sand dunes on one side and down onto even bigger salt mining lakes on the other.
I had set a goal for Loren this morning it was to get 4.3km to the edge of the salt lakes and they were at the bottom of the hill we were on. The down hill wasn’t any easier, the sand so deep even gravity wasn’t helping us. You know it’s shit when your pushing your fully laden, 120kg bike down a hill. When we were halfway to the bottom the ranger I had met two days earlier pulled along side. He said he would leave the gate open for us over the Causeway.
When we made it to the salt evaporator lakes I was so excited I boosted off ahead to get a closer look! I turned around to see Loren on the ground again, she picked herself up and we biked over the Clough causeway at sunset on the nicest and flattest road yet!