Over the course of this trip, we’ve had a number of obstacles to overcome. In the beginning, our minds were willing and motivated, but our bodies slowed us down under the intense heat and humidity that was present in Wisconsin. We adjusted and walked on. Despite preparing for the trek by walking for months, our feet became blistered to the point where every step was a painful reminder of the nightmare the bottoms of our feet had become. We got past that obstacle and moved to the next.
Later on, as we moved from Nebraska to Colorado, we were warned that our adjusted route would put us in some precarious situations where food, water, and help–should we need it– would be hard to come by. So, we adjusted again and found a way to safely trek on knowing that soon enough REAL weather would find us.
It has arrived.
Here in Colorado right now, while the snow isn’t too bad, the temperatures are very cold. Frigid, dangerous temperatures have found us. Despite our best efforts to move as expeditiously as possible, the season has caught up to us. Tomorrow is a high of 4 degrees. The low is -3. I could list the next week of temperatures, but all you need to know is it doesn’t get much better.
People have begun to inquire as to whether or not we will stop and let the weather pass. This isn’t really an option. We will press on as best we can. As anyone who lives in a wintry part of the country knows, once winter comes, it tends to stay. Simply waiting it out isn’t doable as we can’t stay at a hotel or someone’s house indefinitely. We have to trek on.
We will do our best and will be smart. It isn’t walking during the day that concerns us so much, it is being out at night. We are at a point in the journey where we have long stretches to walk. In the beginning, we would have 20 to 30 miles between towns, but it was 70 to 80 degrees and we had 12 plus hours of daylight. Those conditions have gone. In the beginning, we could and did walk 12 hours a day sometimes to reach the next town. Those conditions are not currently present. Because of this, we will have to be realistic and use common sense instead of the “infantryman hubris” that, at times, propelled us forward. You have to understand, it is dark by 5 now. That means, if you have to, you have to find a place to sleep by like 3:30. You don’t want to be searching in the dark. It is amazing how cold it gets here in the dark. Hell, in a shadow or shade it feels bone chilling sometimes.
As we proceed from southern Colorado through northern New Mexico, there will be fewer people, fewer resources, and fewer opportunities to be comfortable at the end of a day of walking. This requires increased help. If you live in or are familiar with people in those areas, it would be much appreciated if you’d email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and inquire on our route to see if we’re going in the direction of those you know and if those people would be willing to shelter us for an evening or 2 depending on the circumstances.
In the beginning and to date, we have been extraordinarily blessed by the number of people who have invited us into their homes, paid for a room for us, fed us, and made certain we were OK. Hopefully, we didn’t use all that up.
It would be a lie to say that I’m not more than a bit concerned with this next stretch. Looking out the window as I write this, I see snow flakes falling. I can’t even see the mountains due to the clouds. A 2 block walk today caused ice to form in my beard. All of these conditions have made Tom and I do one thing: we laugh. What else would you expect from us?
See you on the trail (dress warm),
Anthony and Tom