You might be starting to get the impression that Day 2 was a very long day. Well folks, let me tell you, you don't know the half of it. I'm not going to lie, that 20 mile hike was one of the toughest days of physical exertion that I've ever been through. I'm not going to say it was the most difficult thing I've ever done though.
Through the years I've done a lot of crazy athletic events like running and ski marathons. I've also done week long events like the RAGBRAI (which stands for Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). That's a week long bicycle ride across the state of Iowa in which you do between 50 and 100 miles a day. I think we covered close to six hundred miles one year. The first time I did that, I was only 13, and a physical event like that takes a greater toll on you when you're younger. Not physically necessarily, but mentally.
I think the toughest thing about doing some kind of athletic event is just your perception of time. The older you get, the more quickly time seems to pass no matter what you're doing. As a result of that, I've probably suffered more in the events I've done lately (as opposed to how much I suffered when I was younger), but it's more tolerable because it seems to go faster. Honestly, you just kind of put it out of your thoughts and push on.
If I had to pick, I think the toughest event I've ever done was the Kangaroo Hoppet back when I was 18 or 19. The race itself wasn't so tough, but I did it even though I was sick with the flu and hadn't eaten for about a week leading up to the event. Hahaha! Usually you don't recommend a marathon ski race under conditions like that, but suffering is good for you.
The above picture is still at Capuliyoc, and from here you start going down. You have to go all the way down to the river as a matter of fact. That's downhill at least, maybe next year I'll run.
This was a trick of my guide. I wanted to unzip my pants into shorts, but he said I should leave it like this to provide some "air-conditioning" but also keep the mosquitoes off me (did I mention bug repellent and sunscreen in my "what to pack" article?).