Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Journey's End ... for now

Knowing when to stop often takes more courage than toughing it out and continuing when all signs are telling you to stop.

Bill is courageous.

Together, he and his crew decided to stop after a brief trek out of Stovepipe Wells. Bill was having serious stomach issues, and without being able to eat solid food, his continuing was not only an unwise, but also an unsafe decision. One of the toughest parts of being a crew member is having to make difficult decisions. But runner safety is always top priority, and his crew served him well to advise him to stop.

We cannot presume to know or understand how Bill is feeling, but If you have ever come up short on reaching a goal, then you know a little of what Bill is experiencing. It's not the event, but your reaction to the event, that determines the quality of your life. There are no words to console…time is the only consolation.

Death Valley isn't going anywhere…if Bill decides that he is ready to go back…sometime in the future, we will all be there with him again. It's what we do. The human spirit is strong and courageous. I have a feeling that we all will be back.

Stovepipe to Towne Passe

Bill made it to Stovepipe Wells last night around 11:00. Mission accomplished - it was Bill's goal to get to Stovepipe Wells in the first day. He made steady progress from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe, dealing with temperatures in the 115-117 degree range for most of the day. He did not suffer with significant dehydration, and, fortunately, his feet are in much better shape than last year at this point.

Deborah was able to send me some photos, so here are some pix from the first leg of the journey.

Start to Finish: Badwater to Mt. Whitney

We hear Death Valley, and the first thing most of us think is "hot!" However, it is actually more than just "hot." It's obviously super hot in the summer months, but other aspects of the desert make this journey especially difficult.

Bill's goal is to cover 135 miles from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, California, in the most demanding and extreme running/walking conditions "offered" anywhere on the planet. Badwater is the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280 feet below sea level. Mt. Whitney Portal, where he plans to finish, is at ~ 8300 feet. Bill's trek will cover three mountain ranges for a total of ~ 13,000 feet of total vertical ascent and ~ 4,700 feet of cumulative descent.

As you can imagine, anything can happen along the way. Just getting to the starting line of this undertaking requires a mental fortitude that few possess. Add to that the desolation of the desert and the ability to see for miles and miles of what is ahead ... and you can maybe begin to comprehend the tremendous focus it takes to just keep going.

As you read this from the air-conditioned comfort of your home or office (and as I write this from my air-conditioned room), Bill is out there in the extreme heat pursuing a dream. That we are with him in "spirit" does actually help. So, let's continue to think of him and send him our positive energy as he makes his way across the desert.

Monday, August 8, 2011

In and out of Furnace Creek

This just in: Bill made it into Furnace Creek (~17.4 miles) in good shape and good spirits. The temp is only 112 degrees, so he hasn't reached the hottest part of the day yet. The goal is to make it to Stovepipe Wells (~41.9 miles) sometime tonight.

Badwater Bill is on the Move

Hello to all Badwater Bill's friends, family, and followers. I will be reporting the details of Bill's journey as I receive updates from Deborah and the crew. We talked last night before they were going to bed  - their hope was to "try" to get some rest before the adventure began. The predominant mood was "Let's get this thing started." Mentally, Bill and the crew were upbeat and ready to go.

6:15 a.m. - Today Badwater Bill began his second crossing of Death Valley to Mt. Whitney. Temperatures were expected to start in the upper 80's or low 90's. Expected high today ~118 degrees. As you can see, his feet are all taped up - no problems to begin with - just a preventive measure.

As Bill undertakes the arduous trek across Death Valley, I'm sure he'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and other words of encouragement. And, when I talk with Deborah (whenever she can give me updates), I'll be sure to relay to her your comments to help keep Bill focused on his goal.