Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Preparing for Silence

It was a great day hanging out with the boys on their zero day. Kristin came back into town last night. Her presence is always welcome. I have missed her over the last few days.
The gents took a zero day in preparation for the long days of no contact with the SAG vehicle.

This part of the trip reminds me of the movie Apollo 13: everyone makes it out fine, but the zero contact was stressful (to say the least.) The guys know that Segments 15-18, according to the Colorado Trail guide, are going to be some of the toughest. They are the least accessible for the SAG vehicle, the least traveled of any of the segments, and have the highest points. Tomorrow in particular, they will have a climb that goes up 668 ft in four city blocks.

Today, Travis and Joe embark on their longest trek in the back country; remote areas with no support, no extra food, no contact.  We took them out for a large breakfast and talked about the game plan. I am trying not to be ominous about this part, but I see their faces when they return after each segment. They are stoked to see that giant white van, but completely exhausted. In trying to make this documentary as we go, I am trying to get footage of any and everything. I can see in the playback from the footage, that they are as equally disquieted about the miles ahead of them.

In Apollo 13, the oxygen tank exploded and there was all sorts of experimenting and preparation going on down on the ground to keep the three astronauts safe and bring them back home. In the movie you see chaos as on the ground and the panic of those doing everything that they can with very little knowledge of the first-hand experiences. Last night we mirrored the preparation part of the story. We had packing and unpacking. Forgetting to pack enough repacking. How many calories will be consumed each meal? What's the overall weight in the packs? The confusion is great and the solutions are many, but which is the right solution for their expedition. While our boys have been preparing for this ride for over a year, there are just things that have been unexpected. They have now had a week on the trail to dial in their weights and gear, but the reality is, they have just never done this before. We/they have no clue what to expect.

They removed extra weight, traded out cups, lost extra batteries, repackaged food, and gained the ounces they needed to pack an additional days worth of food. While this experience can't compare to a disaster in space,  the movie still came to mind last night as we were gearing up. I know that like for Houston, unless something goes terribly awry, failure is not an option here either. I titled this blog post based on the silence that Houston had to endure with the men of the Apollo 13 mission upon the re-entry that was not the normal three minutes, but nearly five in this account.

The wait is probably less intense as we still have the Spot we can all follow along, but I am sure that the drama is still there.  Actually, with four girls crowded around the computer to watch their progress, the drama is definitely still there.

A SAG update to come soon. Thanks for staying tuned to our trek.

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