The GPS on my phone shows I’ve crossed the fifty mile mark of walking as I ready to start day six on The Wall. A transformation has occurred within me, not physically, but an internal change of processing thought and perceiving reality.
As I ready to leave my hosts at Huntercrook lodge, they ask if I would like a lift back to the path, but I once again politely decline. I need, dare say crave the feeling of walking, the energy and strength it takes to continually push my body’s limits as I journey across the United Kingdom.
As I strap my pack onto my back and step outside into the morning air, I sense that the weather has perceptibly changed today. The clouds in the air are minimal and clinging to the far off horizon. Humidity is in full force throughout the blue bird sky. The temperature is close to 90 degrees before 9 a.m.
I check my water levels to confirm I have a full three liters and head off for the day. I need to reach the village of Gilsland today, which is almost 12 miles away.
Like a reunion with a long lost friend, the Wall and I become one again. The views over the Northumberland countryside from the top of these crags speak to my soul as I walk mile after glorious mile.
The humidity and temperatures of the day though are sapping my water quickly. I also realize I have no sunscreen to protect my arms, and they are turning as red as a rooster.
I see no relief in sight for either of these issues as I am not even halfway to Gilsland, and it isn’t even noon yet.
Slowly I go up and down each crag, making sure my footing is secure. I am more in tune to the needs of my body than ever before, and the symbiosis between my muscles, tissue, cells, and brain is stronger than ever.
Yet that same symbiotic nature is warning me to drink more. I come to a Sill with a quiet little pond at it’s base and decide to rest, have some lunch, and see what decisions can be made about my current water situation.
It’s just past noon, and the day has turned into a cloudless sky with brutal heat and near 100% humidity. Today’s lesson on the Wall seems to be all about what my body can tolerate. My water level is less than 1/2 a liter remaining.
Will I survive the rest of today’s journey with no water?