50k – godlike rampage

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Who would have thought that this was going to happen during this year’s little summer vacation? (If you have no idea what I am talking about, please refer to the beginner’s guide and the advanced formula.)

Well, today I found out about yet another way to walk 50 kilometers in one day: take a buddy along and involve him in a discussion:

“what if we could walk all the way to [insert name of incredibly far place] tomorrow?”

Voilà. All you need.

We got up at 5:30 and started stumbling through the unknown:

dark morning walk

Slowly, ever so slowly, the dark curtains of the night pulled away, and we could actually see the sceneries we were walking through:

road

Zhu Hui got his first blister before the sun was up, and I told him it would probably not be his last one today. Being a born optimist, he just laughed.

We took some pictures on a bridge…

dry riverbed

…and found an empty house by the road:

abandoned building

I was trying a completely new technique concerning my footwear today:

German style

Sandals + socks + inlays. This worked surprisingly well. I still got some pretty bad blisters, just not as massive as they would have been otherwise.

We had lunch in a small settlement called Anjihai 安集海:

roadside food places

This place is known for one thing:

chilis

Chili peppers:

chilis laid out to dry

I picked some of the little monsters and put them on the caboose to dry:

checking out the chilis

We had walked more than 25 kilometers at this point, and it was still early in the afternoon. There was a certain notion of confidence in the air:

out with Huihui

Then suddenly two of Zhu Hui’s blisters broke, and he got a very funny look on his face:

“FINALLY I know the feeling of real walking!” he said and laughed.

And I think he was right:

Having walked too far to turn back to Anjihai, and not yet far enough to arrive safely in the next settlement today, we decided to split up at this point. This way I would make some more distance while he took some time to rest his feet and enjoy the scenery:

clouds

I put in some music and passed a minor traffic accident that had caused a major traffic jam, which went on for miles and miles:

trucks

It was mostly huge trucks just sitting there, and I felt strangely superior to them, pulling my little caboose down the road, almost as carefree as a bird, had it not been for the pulsing pains in my feet:

trucks in a traffic jam

At one point I was on top of a slope, and the road lay there in front of me, straight like a bowling alley, merciless and ridiculously long like most roads in the gobi desert:

straight road

Suddenly I heard laughter behind me, and when I turned around I heard it again from in front of me: Zhu Hui had hopped on a tractor and already caught up. We continued walking together, sharing the pains and the joys of a godlike day on the road.

We decided to stop at the magic number:

GPS

50k. There it is.

It takes a long day to walk up to those digits.

I asked Zhu Hui to take a video of me crossing the 50k line:

Then we continued to walk in silence.

The lights of the oil refineries were glowing in the distance:

oil refineries in the distance

As the city came nearer and nearer, the dark curtain of the night slowly lowered itself over us again:

evening road

We walked a little more, and then some more, and then some more, and then we finally found a gas station that rented out beds.

Walking the 50k had been a feat of strength, a true rampage, and maybe even a heroic deed.

Only we didn’t look like heroes.

We were covered with dust, limping on both legs, and almost too tired to eat.

A pitiful sight we were, Zhu Hui and I.



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