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During the last week or so I’ve been facing a tough decision, and it makes me sad to write about it.

I see forecasts of continued days in the 90°s and above, with only more to come. We are, of course, entering the summer. Sure, I could have headed north from Flagstaff. Like others who have taken that route, I would have hit snow, and I was trying to avoid that. But the heat almost killed me once in the Mojave, and I can see and feel the results it’s continuing to have on my body.

Those of you familiar with the high desert know there’s rarely any shade under which to hide to escape the heat. “No escape” is what I keep thinking, day and night. I’ve continued to lose weight in spite of drinking all day long. It’s getting more difficult to keep my spirits and motivation up, knowing I’ve still got so much more of the Southwest to walk through.

I walked 16 miles today, starting at 5:45 am. Because I couldn’t find any shade and was finished walking for the day, I set my tent up at 1:30 pm in the best place I could find, which was quite exposed. Then I waited and rested in the tent until the sun went down and it cooled off. There’s just no shade. On a day like today I would have paid for shade!

Often you can walk for 100+ miles in this part of the country with no services or stores, not even a gas station. If you’re driving, this is no big deal. But walking? While pushing a kart? People have done it, and they have my respect. But it doesn’t look like I’ll be one of them. Those of you who know me well may shed tears with me as I begin to abort this journey.

The reality is that I’m only 40 days into what could be a 180 or 200 day trip. There’s just “too much walk” ahead of me. I’ve proven to myself that I can walk, but I learned early on, this journey is not about walking.

It’s a wonderful thing to have had so much support and encouragement from friends, relatives, and many strangers. Thank you. Forty days and nights may have symbolic overtones, but I’m not even close to the finish line.

In the end, I just don’t feel like I need to challenge Death. For now I’ll leave that to others.

@ Duncan, Arizona

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