One Summer i packed up my van,left early in the morning and headed down to my house In Baja . i planned to stay there the whole summer. i adapted to life over there i had little to no internet in those days.but i had some dvds. my days were spent doing tai chi, hitting the boxing bag at least two rounds, the speed bag another two rounds.jump roping,lifting and doing pushups.EVERY day except Sunday. i noticed about a month of living alone i started having a sense of solitude. though i would usually have a couple of beers with my grounds keeper Carlos every Saturday and watch the boxing matches on t.v. he brought up going on a day long hike into the Mexican desert.i used to hike every day back home and i kept in shape in Mexico so i accepted.
the next morning i made some steaks packed them up,ate my breakfast and we left round 6:30 in the morning.foolishly i brought little to no water in the desert this is a DUMB mistake.one that i will never make again. i took my grounds keeper word that there be plenty of water as the trail ran along side a river.but i didn't know the trail was 10 miles into the hike!
everything was fine the first couple of hours even my grounds keepers weenie dogs came with us.we joked at how dull witted they were and how they couldn't catch a sleeping rabbit.i would say close to mid day i was already very thirsty.remind you,this was summer. Carlos offered me a sip of his canteen. which was full of tequila.Carlos is Mexican through and through and you should never underestimate the physical resolve of even the most indigenous looking. though the tequila might have helped water would of been great.
eventually the relentless sun beat me down hard enough and i dizzied out to the point of vomiting,i fell asleep under a tree.when i woke up i saw Carlos besides me waiting. i asked if he wanted to eat. i had the steaks with me at least and that gave me and him nourishment to keep going. it was now at least 2 pm. fortunately Carlos knew there was a small shack up ahead.and i never asked if he broke into it or what but when he got out he had a nice gallon of cold water. good for us because we were about to walk into hell.
you could see the unrelenting heat in the air walking in dry Mexican sand. we passed by a place the Mexican army had burnt a marijuana field years before. we walked passed a place a guy had gotten shot dead. we wouldn't see a soul for hours now. i kept on pouring the cold water into my throat as i walked in the pulsating heat, on top of that my left shoe was garbage had a plastic frame that was now slowly tearing at my foot with each step.i had probably not hiked like this in years or probably ever. and we were probably halfway through.
all summer i had been maintaining discipline physical,spiritual even mental. now i was being put to the test. we eventually made it to the river.i reached down cupped my hands and drank all the water in the world.the shoes were about to get heavier.the way back was to walk through the river.
the wet mud weighed on my shoes and i was already tired. it was now round 5:30 and we stopped for a break. it would be dark soon and we were still very far. Carlos said soon coyotes or mountain lions would start popping out. at that point i knew we had to keep going.we had no flash lights and i mentally prepared myself to get a rock and bludgeon a wolf or any wild animal in the head if it came down to it.we kept on walking in the mush of the river.i saw the canyons around us it was beautiful. i kept sipping water from the river. until eventually we hit dry land. it want hot anymore but soon darkness came.and there was no more water.my thoughts drifted back to my Mexican home. me on my rocking chair drinking coffee watching el chavo del ocho in the morning. part of survival is being ready, the more fit you are, the higher your chances of getting through a tough situation are.
i was so exhausted i told Carlos to leave me and id walk all the way in the morning back. but he said we were close, so i pushed myself. thirst started to come back. until eventually the town could be seen. and eventually we could see some agriculture come into sight.i plucked a tomato off a plant and drank it for nourishment.we could hear loud music coming a quincinera party most likely coming from the community social hall.we decided to skip the road and walk through a giant tomato field back home.Carlos "borrowed" some tomatoes we made it back home.i staggered back to my house turned on the lights and fell on my rocking chair. but now i knew what i was made of, and that i was as strong as a bull. my journey would now be a story my dads friends over there would talk about over camp fires,beer and carne asada as a testament to my physical will.