So this is what sunstroke feels like


About halfway back to the car I’m starting to contemplate the abstract possibility that I might not be able to make it all the way there, and trying to calculate whether, if I stopped walking now and sat in the shade of a bush, my water would last until sunset. It’s pretty late in the day, so probably I’d be okay; but I don’t know this desert, or how quickly it cools — and anyway I’m not thinking too clearly at the moment.

I see the car in the distance — it looks about as far as across a very large parking lot. I’m seriously dizzy now, tripping over rocks and at one point kicking through a cholla cactus. I swallow the last of my water. It tastes hotter than the surrounding air.

When I finally reach the car I have to sit for at least a half hour with the A/C on full blast, guzzling water, chewing ice chips from the cooler I bought in Baker, rubbing them on my body, chewing them some more, tasting salt and suntan lotion.

So, yeah. That was very stupid. Pretty much the classic overconfident solo hiker getting himself in trouble. From now on I’m carrying more water and sticking to the marked trails.

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