Europe N to S: Fuel Reserve (7/13/16)

Ridge past Máze – July 13, 2016

Today’s Miles: 22.8

Total Miles: 390.8

I reach the paved road at the edge of Máze and walk past the houses, counting them loosely in my head, hoping there are enough to warrant a store, maybe a gas station or a small grocery.

Slowed by rain, I’ve been rationing out food since Olderfjord and can feel my body demanding compensation for the miles walked. The next town is two days away. I can make it, but it will be thin.

I top a hill and there it is, across from the shale-roofed church, the town store. I grab a basket and march up and down the four little aisles. The bright packaging, the stacks of food, the possibilities, they all mesmerize me. I walk back and forth, unable to decide what to slip into my basket, what cravings to give in to, what to buy and devour right there.

I have to eat more. I feel my body shedding weight. The pants that barely fit at the start have begun to sag. My stomach never feels full. I’m dropping too fast.

The first twenty or thirty pounds don’t matter much, that’s just fat, that’s what it’s for. But after that, after my body burns through its stores, what’s left to burn but muscle, bone, tendons, and ligaments, the parts that make walking possible. Burn into those and I’ll turn brittle and break against the miles ahead. 

I stack food into my basket until it feels heavy, then stack a bit more. A loaf of bread, two pounds of sausage, chocolate, a stack of tortillas. I sit outside and gorge, eating until what’s left will fit into my pack then walking on.

A few miles outside of town, just as trail is about to leave the road, I come across a parked car, with a man outside, stretching his legs for a moment from the drive.

He asks me where I’m going and I tell him Tarifa, Spain. He knows it, he has stayed in a place nearby where you can look out and see Africa across the sea. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a chocolate bar, breaking it and asks if I want a piece.

I accept and reach for it, but he pulls it back and hands me the rest of the bar instead.

“You take the bigger piece,” he says. “Tarifa is a long ways away. You need it more than I do.”

5 thoughts on “Europe N to S: Fuel Reserve (7/13/16)

  1. Looking good D! I will always remember you and your friends in the CDT when I met you near Glacier and took you to the grocery store. The amount of food all of you eat was unbelievable. Some of you eating 6 to 7 Klondike bars in a row. Also going to the cemetery to get cell phone reception but that is another story.

    1. Yeah, you should have seen a whole gang of PCT thru hikers coming off the trail into a buffet. I’d never seen the likes of such inhaling of food! Important to eat all those calories you’ll burn. I’m so glad the little store was there for you, Daniel!

  2. Don’t know why, but that man offering you the larger piece of chocolate just brought tears to my eyes. I think part of the reason is your determination is so awe-inspiring but also it’s the people you keep meeting. They are so kind to you; I’m sure part of that must be because of the positive spirit you project. Carry on, Daniel! You are our goodwill ambassador!

  3. The kindness of strangers amazes me., I keep reading and I wonder if you have met anyone yet that acted in a manner other than friendly in your travels… Everything to this point has been friendly. I’ve read 390 miles worth of story in this short afternoon. I wonder if I could catch up before the weekend arrives. I want cheese for some reason!

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