Laina woke up thirsty. She had two 32 once water bottles and 22 miles of desert before the next source of water.
She had been warned about dehydration but Laina had never seen it as a serious issue. By the time she cooked breakfast she regretted wasting the water on oatmeal that she was already to nauseous to eat. She had a headache from trying to drink as little water as possible to conserve it for later.
Laina would have had a larger water bladder but she had assumed she wouldn’t need it and “bounce boxed” it, sending it ahead to their next post-office.
Now, she realized just what a bad idea that had been. Even though she was going down hill it was hard to walk.
Three miles from water Laina was unable to think and was lured into the shade of a tiny tree.
“I just collapsed on the ground and curled up in a ball,” she said. “I was crying and crying — wasting all my water! — and I was fading in and out and Dad was trying to ask me what I wanted to do but I could not talk.”
Sheom, who was more accustom to going long periods without water, had already shared the last of his water with Laina. He wanted to go ahead and bring her back water but was not comfortable leaving her there alone, unsure of the condition she would be in by the time he returned.
They decided Laina would leave her pack and try to get to water as quickly as she could.
Without a pack Laina made it to the small water source that she decribed as “the grossest water ever” but she drank it and curled up under a boulder and fell asleep.
Sheom carried Laina’s pack the three miles on his shoulders above his own pack.
It was eight miles later when they reached their stopping place for the night that Laina realized the risks of being in the desert alone was not worth the pride associated with the the thru-hike. She didn’t want to hike in the desert alone.
Sheom had to leave the trail in two weeks and she would go with him, taking 10 days off the trail and returning with her mom, skipping a 10 day section of the desert.