We had wondered in advance which would be our “hump day”, as the Americans call it. This might possibly have rather different connotations in the UK, but in the context of an all-female hiking group it means the toughest day, when the aches and pains have kicked in but the new fitness levels haven’t.
I’m rather hoping that today was the hump day, because if we get much more decrepit than this we might be in trouble. We were not helped today by some very muddy sections, that in mere minutes added pounds of clodded earth to our boots and further slowed our weary legs.
Jane’s feet were causing her some problems, even though her boots are very well worn in, so she decided to start a new trend – hiking loafers. Her evening shoes provided a welcome break for her feet. They did the trick surprisingly well, at least until we were able to stop at a garden centre for our lunch break and she bought some very fetching pink wellies. Of course, what she REALLY needs is some Keen boots, but we tried phoning around nearby outdoor shops, to no avail, alas.
Dodgy knees are an occupational hazard of the extreme skier, and Alison’s have undergone 8 surgeries in their lifetime. She calls them her Frankenstein knees. Today she was finding it more comfortable to jog gently rather than walk, as jogging brought into play her well-developed skier’s thighs and took the pressure off her calves.
I’m feeling a little bit of general tiredness in my ankles and hips, but otherwise not too bad. And Laura is still fit as a fiddle.
We’re all generally holding it together, and spirits are good as ever, but we are lining up a few contingency plans just in case – possibly renting a couple of bicycles for a few days when we get to Holland. We just hope that our navigator, Jane, stays the course. She might get a lot of abuse during the final “Jane miles” of the day, but we’d be lost – literally! – without her.
Tonight we are staying in Marks Tey, at the home of Laura’s brother. Luckily he wasn’t here to see 4 bedraggled, mud-coated women traipse up his driveway just before dusk.
As I sit here typing this, Jane has gone into Colchester to seek better footwear. Alison is hobbling around getting organized. Laura, as the most able-bodied member of the team and at least a near relative of the homeowner, is on cooking duties. And Mary is on her way back to her studies at the University of Essex. We are hoping her absence is only temporarily, as we’re trying to press-gang her into coming over to Holland to help us out with logistics. She has proved herself so indispensable that we will drug and abduct her if need be.
It is quite amazing how the team has already gelled. For a very random assortment of distant acquaintances, we are getting along famously. Even our various decrepitudes have not caused tempers to fray. What a team – BB2B, or not 2B…. boom, boom!