Today I completed test-mission #1, a 10 mile walk from the new Yacht Club/Visitors Center at North Shore, south to the end of Corvina Beach, and back. The purpose was to scout any locations with water, get a feel for walking on the shoreline, discover any obstacles, and of course, start acclimating to the heat and humidity.
The temperature was forecast to be about 85°F with a humidity level of 60%-70%. This is a far cry from when I do the complete walk in the middle of summer when the temperature will likely be closer to 115°F with humidity of 90% or more.
Walking along the shore close to the water is tough. There is no sand. Instead the shore is covered with a mixture of dead barnacles and fish bones about 4 to 6 inches deep -deeper in some areas. If you’ve ever walked through sand-dunes or deep snow, you’ll understand how difficult it is to walk through. It takes a lot of effort and energy. It was bad for about the first 2-miles. As I made it further south, the depth of the barnicles was more shallow and I had learned how spot and walk in the harder, firmly packed spots. It was still hard to walk through but it seems to be the worst on the north facing beach near the Visitor Center.
The barnacle shells are like glass, and getting just a tiny piece in my shoe is a show stopper. A sharp fishbone in the shoe is no fun either. These sexy, low-slung, expensive walking shoes of mine are not going to get the job done. They are cut too low on my ankles making it too easy for shells and bones to get in. It looks like a trip to Shoe Depot will be necessary to get some manly marching shoes.
Walking further from the shoreline, basically in the desert, is much easier. The ground is harder and I can make much better time. The problem is that once I got 40 or 50 yards from the water, I no longer had that cool breeze from the water blowing on me. I will have to find the right balance between making good time and risk being overheated, or staying cool by the water, trudging through the sand and shells, at a slower pace.
It was only forecast to be in the 80’s and the heat and water-consumption was not much of a concern to me. I have done many 10-15 mile walks in temperatures above 105°F, and never have I used more than my standard 72 ounces of water in my CamelBack. Today I carried 104 ounces of water just to be safe, but I did not plan on using more than 60 or 70 ounces based on previous high temperature walks.
Boy, was I was wrong!
Exactly 8 miles and 3-hours into today’s walk, I sucked the last drop out of my 72 ounce CamelBack. I was quite surprised. Even though it was barely 85°F, that humidity was a bitch! I had to break into my reserve bottles and ended up consuming 88 ounces. For a 2o mile walk that comes out to just under 1.5 gallons. For a 20 mile walk in temperatures over 110°F, I think I am going to need closer to 3 gallons per day. That’s the same amount that Dinesh Desai calculated that he would need for his walk around the roads of Salton Sea. Figuring out how to carry that much water is still a big part of the mission-plan.
No structures, fences or anything to slow me down or get in my way. The only slight obstacle I ran into were several (10 or so) deep (as deep as 10 feet or more) “grand canyon” gullies at Corvina Beach. Most I could step over but some took a good running jump to get across, at several feet wide. I could also easily walk around them by going further into the desert area or avoid them altogether by walking closer to the water on the shoreline (see the video below).
Today’s pace was 22 minutes per mile including a few breaks and stopping to get the fish-bones out of my shoes. I expect this pace will slow down as the temperature rises.
After just under 4 hours my phone/GPS tracker had just over 50% battery life. That means I can expect about a full 20-mile day on a full charge. My Mophie Juice [battery] Pack will give me 8-10 more hours. As long as I’m not chatting on the phone or doing live video streams of the walk, battery life should be no issue.
Overall today’s test walk was a success. I’ve got some baseline data for water consumption, time, etc, and most important, it was fun! Here is my short video-report from the halfway-point, at Corvina Beach