The mental game starts

On the second day I choose my own pace, the compagnons who I met yesterday leave the campsite at their own time.  A long climb awaits over hilly landscape with forest and rocks.  I notice that I’m very stiff and especially that the entire bottom of my feet hurt very much, the bag is heavy, resulting in a slow tred, but I just keep walking.  There is beautiful nature, the weather is fine and the views are worth it!  At the top I see 90 Miles Beach, a strip of beach of 83km (don’t know why it calls 90 Miles Beach then…) that we have to walk.  Today a first 24,5km of it.  I ask myself “I will do that, right?”  In the distance I see a dot, that must be one of my fellow hikers and a nice aiming point to walk.  On the right I see the ocean with a rim of waves that want to reach the beach, the sound is calming, and on the left I see an edge of sand dunes.  

6km… okay, let’s go on, 8km… it is hot and the wind is blowing, 10km… the image is the same, non stop… 14km… wow, terribly tough, I now walk with Nicola and Lily, we take an afternoon lunch break, we don’t really know how to do this further, but we just laugh about it and we have a great time, but I’m really having a hard time and so are they!  

15km…  16km… 17km…  my feet burning badly, a second blister on my foot and I can feel all my muscles in my body.  The mental game really starts!  What have I started…  I’m not made for this, the heat, the infinite of the beach… How badly do I want it?  Not that I have any choice but to walk through.  Yes, there is always a choice, but to disappear into the ocean or to lie on the beach forever is also a thing.  Step by step, every time, step by step, the three of us plod through the day, km by km.  

18,5km… Pff, still 6km to go, how?  Thoughts are flying around my ears. “I will stop”, “I can’t do this”. It is hard not to feel the pain.  20km… Every time another km pass I’m happy and I’m happy that Nicola and Lily are there.  Sometimes one walks a bit faster and then the other, all three of us having a hard time, but we are going to make this!

23km… stil 1,5km to go… that seems not so far, well, it felt endless!  The last 400 meters before the campsite I could not even stand on my feet, but the only thing I could do is to continue… I arrive at the campsite and burst into tears.  That was a mental struggle, already on the second day!!  

The fact: almost 25km away on 90 Miles Beach and there seems to be no other way out but to continue!  A meal, a check on the body, preparing the tent, diving into it and sleep, hoping that my body and especially my feet recovers and heal!  

The message of today: if you think you can’t do it, think again after you kept going, you apparently can do more then you think!