I had a lovely view and unlike my prediction the night before, my body felt pretty good. There were some sore spots and I did a good bit of stretching before I took off.
I had to go over Scott's Point. Tons of ups and downs. It was overwhelming to see a hill ahead of me after I had just topped one. (And we won't even get into the terrible lack of posts to tell you which trail was the right one.) But I told myself to focus on the hill at hand. One thing at a time, the next hills would be reached in their own due time. I finally got to the epic stairs that take you down to 90 Mile Beach (only 55 miles though).
So I trucked along, shifting the pack constantly for some relief. Of course aches and pains are to be expected. I stopped at Te Paki Stream, refilled some water, strolled down the stream to the ocean to cool my feet and take a break. I was feeling pretty good! Right after I crossed Butler Stream a bus pulled up... It was the tour guide from yesterday! He gave me a cold bottle of water and let me dump my rubbish. He told me if he worked the next day he would stop again and if he wasn't there he would tell the others to be on the lookout for me. Super nice!!!
The bottle became a lifesaver. At the time I didn't want to put my pack down and stuff the bottle in, so I stuck it between my waist belt and tummy. Low and behold, the weight was redistributed on my back. My shoulders were no longer bearing all the weight; some had moved to my hips.
What a discovery! But after all that great stuff came the bad. Around 2pm my right knee started to hurt. Not the ache of load-bearing and walking, but the sharp pain that ended my running in the military. I carried on of course - what else is there to do? Around 6 I finally made it to the campsite at The Bluff. And by made it, I mean I was hobbling. My feet hurt terribly of course - that sand is exactly like walking on concrete just like they said. That on its own is bearable. I have walked further in a day and have had more blisters than the measly 3 honkin' big ones I have now. But that in addition to a knee that hurts with every bend? I had tears in my eyes when I finally threw my pack down to set up camp.
Now I lay here and realize that although I made it to paradise, I might not get to enjoy it the way I planned. When I planned this endeavor, I thought, "what if I don't like it? Find out I hate walking/hiking that way?" Turns out, I love it. I appreciate being in the moment, each one lived in its own turn. I can apply things I have told myself walking the last 2 days to my life. I have talked candidly with God. Imagine what more lessons are to be learned along the way? I don't mind the heavy pack... Ok, that's a lie. I mind it, of course. It's heavy. But it's not unmanageable.
But never once in my planning did I consider - what if I can't do it? Not from lack of desire or stamina, lack of determination, etc. but because my body simply wouldn't hold up. I have hiked further in a day before but never with such a pack or such terrain. My knees have always ached after a weekend hiking trip, but nothing a little rest, ice and Mobic couldn't fix. Now I see that perhaps my knees are a bigger issue than I cared to admit. It's only day 2 and one knee is excruciatingly painful unless absolute straight or bent to my chest. And when favoring one knee, the other will soon follow.
I felt led by God to come here. It felt absolutely right. But it would seem my journey in this form will be cut short. I know this knee pain won't get better. I tried that before. I will have no choice but to quit after I have barely begun, unless there is a miracle.