Hunger Pains

While every day may have brought sun and high pressure, don’t be fooled by the blue skies and golden light. With an average elevation of over 15,000 feet through high deserts, it was bitter cold by day and well below freezing by night.

Hunger Pains Suffering and Survival in Bolivia's Cordillera Real

The drops on my top tube aren’t sweat. They are tears of exhaustion.

My friends are tiny specks, far ahead, and I struggle to find the motivation to take another step toward the mountain pass in the distance. It’s too much. I dump my bike to the side, rip off my pack and bury my head between my knees. This is not the type of weakness I want to be showing on day two of a nine-day bikepacking traverse in the Bolivian Andes. 

I have never wanted to quit anything so badly in my life. 

And yet, over the days ahead, the struggle somehow seems to vanish from memory each night as I cram into my tent. Maybe it’s just the way of such adventures, or maybe it’s that everyone else seems relatively unfazed by the insanity of attempting to link 100 miles of llama trails, all 15,000 feet above sea level. 

At this moment, however, I am fully aware this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted. 

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