Day #6: 146 team miles
My 10 individual miles today were spent running with Hannah on some very deserted and dusty desert paths. There were Joshua trees (which look like the offspring of a cactus and a palm tree put together), tumbleweeds, sage brush and not much else. Well…except for old tires, those were literally everywhere! Apparently people go to the desert if they want to get rid of old tires and leave them there… We also saw some random clothes and pieces of junk here and there but no people. Hmmm maybe because the dry heat was sweltering? And the temperature was around 104-106? Anyway, every evening our leg leaders (throughout our journey there are three legs and each one has two leg leaders who plan the route we run each day) decide the route for the next day and write out directions…this particular day they were extremely hard to follow as desert road signs are not apparently very well preserved. We pretty much wandered lost in the desert for a good portion of the day ending with some off-roading on a back dirt road where no matter how slowly we drove in the vans we caught air on the bumps. Hannah and I had one leg where there was literally no civilization in sight, and as we didn’t see a rock (covered in neon orange duck tape) to signal that we should stop/our leg had ended, we started to wonder if we had gone the wrong way. We strategized on how we could drink cactus juice and catch our food. We saw a few lone houses and a jackrabbit and I started to think about just how delicious and wonderful water really is…when finally we saw the glint of the neon tape. We then hung out as we eventually watched the pick-up van, very slowly, take on the hills we had run down and head our way. After individual miles (in 2 mile increments) we reached a highway upon which we couldn’t run for safety reasons. So we decided to do a team out and back to get the miles in for the day. I ended up running with Katie at a pretty good pace and I felt better than I had all day! (Earlier I’d been feeling the heat and not so fresh.) I guess by that point I had gotten a little bit more used to the sweltering heat.
Our stop for the night was the First Baptist Church in Barstow! They allowed us to sleep in their fellowship hall which had a fantastic air conditioning system and (my personal favorite) an ice machine!! The other team had arrived first and had went around for food donations so when we got there we headed to the Barstow Fire Department and nearby community center where they allowed us to use their facilities to shower. The firefighters were very kind to us and gave us a tour of their station and tried to help us out with directions for a running route for the next day. It felt amazing to be clean and cool after such a dusty day! The church family also donated a ton of chicken nuggets which was a very thoughtful gesture. 🙂