I'm not even going to try to put a positive spin on this. Today was miserable. Did I say I was exhausted after yesterday? Well, today was so bad that when I was writing the entry for yesterday, I was halfway through before I even remembered that I was tired. It seemed like such a cake-walk compared to today.
14km. In a thunderstorm. On horrific terrain ("mostly downhill"? Where did we get that idea?!). After not sleeping well because we were in tents and it was freezing overnight.
Honestly, none of that was horrible. Not worse than yesterday at least. Even being completely soaked through by the rain was actually quite pleasant, to counteract the heat of walking. And some of the thunder directly overhead was awe-inspiring. So all of that could have been fine. Except for two things:
1) The trail is laid out terribly. For instance, this part of the trail doubles back on itself around halfway, so the 7.0km marker is actually closer to the 8.0km marker than the 7.5km one is... So we got lost. Twice. This added about an hour and a half to our hike, and made the whole thing a lot more stressful, as despite setting off at 8:30am, it was already 3pm by the time we made it to the halfway point, and we knew it would rapidly get dark as soon as it hit 6. We were soaked through, and so were all of our things; while we were moving, I felt pleasantly warm, but as soon as we stopped, even for a quick water break, my teeth started chattering. If we had gotten properly lost and needed to camp again, several people would have become very sick from the cold. There was absolutely not enough dry clothing to go around, even if we did manage to make a fire (using nothing but wet wood). Luckily for everyone, Isaias is a Jungle Man, and was able to track the path and get us moving again.
2) On a more personal level, mud and I do not get along. At all. Whatever it is about my balance, the way I step, my weight distribution, just something about me means that as soon as I come into contact with mud, I lose traction entirely. I feel like I spent more time on my ass than on my feet. In several sections I literally just had to sit down and slide down the path. To make things worse, all along the trail were trees with thorns all along their trunks which tore me to shreds when I flailed wildly as I fell. I've forgotten their real name, because in my head they're just called "bastards". Once again, thankfully Isaias was there with his ridiculous Jungle powers, because he was able to physically drag me up muddy slopes (and stop me from falling down others). Not only that, when we needed to pick up the pace, he took my bag, so he was carrying his bag, my bag, and a tripod, and was still going twice as fast as everyone else. The man's a machine...
I really wish I wasn't so prone to slipping. Gruelling as the trek was, I really think I would have enjoyed it if I wasn't constantly falling and needing to be on alert at all times. The mental stress was worse than the physical at times.
As is, I'm glad to have experienced this, but I won't be queuing up to do it again any time soon.