In Episode 3 led us to camels again. These camels were much different than the first days camels. They were bigger, taller and way more aggressive. I was half thinking they gave us wild camels, maybe they did?
I mounted my camel and my saddle tilted to the left. Once I was off center the camel went crazy and I half fell, half jumped to the ground.
Dani later told me I landed on all fours and looked like a cat. I felt like a bag of cement hitting the ground and did a quick self check to make sure my wrists and ankles weren’t hurt. Looking up I saw Jim dusting himself off too ~ he took the same ride I had. We had a three-word conversation, “lets walk them.”
Walking was definitely the safer option but the slowest tactic. We soon realized that if we were going to stay in this race we needed to run. Run we did, passing a bunch of teams and catching up to a few lead teams. We lost a bit of time at the olive outpost, solved the challenge and got our olive raft barrels.
I enjoyed putting the rafts together and was impressed when Dani figured out a hitch in the piping that could have really solved us down. Dani definitely had the cool head and analytic mind when it came to challenges.
Were in the competition for a few days now and starting to get friendly with the other teams. Our time at camp, at night, was left to us and many of us would hang out telling stories and getting to know one another. It was these moments that I realized just how extraordinary this group of people were. Toss a bunch of strangers into a scary, physically demanding and mentally challenging environment, give them grueling tasks and watch the friendships bloom.
The next day started with all of us running through a sand storm. I’m talking 100 feet or less visibility…. thick! I later describe the dust cloud as ominous looking and that is no exaggeration. Being sand blasted while trying to navigate in ankle twisting terrain is nerve racking to say the least. I remember thinking, “I wish I had wore that stupid looking scarf today so I could cover my face.” All I could do is throw on my hood and zip up my jacket all the way, breathing through my jacket was the only way to avoid a mouth full of sand.
We raced to the pole wrapping challenge which was a difficult and basically had all of the teams at working at the same time. What you didn’t see on television was Jim sprinting back in the sand to the pole challenge after we had left and traveled 500 yards.
In all of the pole wrapping excitement I had handed off my GPS to Dani. What I did not remember was that she gave it back to me and I put it deep in jacket pocket. While frantically looking for it I kept patting myself down but continued to miss it in that pocket. Jim ran all the way back only to hear Dani and I yelling a that we had it – I was embarrassed!
We came to the next challenge and decided to take the high road, a 3.3 mile hike through the mountains instead of the low road, a 4.1 mile hike through the river to the finish a the Black Canyon. We talked about how our decision at that point was to avoid the cold water and blowing wind. In hind sight the reality was that we completely let our feelings of being behind make the decision for us. We lost sight of the fact that our team was not performing well in the hills yet we took the chance at the opportunity to make up some time. We ran when we could but it was not an easy path…..at least we did not get cold, in fact we were sweating while the other teams froze.
We beat two teams that day…. team Grandpa’s warriors went home that day. I had an opportunity to spend a few nights talking to them and really enjoyed their company. They have a family outdoor store business called WildCountry located in Illinois
We camped in the rain that night and none of our clothes dried. Add to the damp wet night, foot sores and blisters and you have a recipe for super uncomfortable.
Everyone at camp was now thinking “What could they possibly throw at us next?”