Diary of my Sahara Trek: Part 5

Onto day 3 (Tuesday) of our Sahara trek and the big challenge of the day was called Eric – a 300m high sand dune! We spent our morning heading towards it:

Eric the sand duneIt looks close and small but let me assure you, it was neither! It took us 4 hours to get there and yes, the cloud offered some respite from the glaring sun but it was still 25 degrees plus! Initially the terrain was dry and hard:

Heading for Eric

but the deeper into the desert we got, bigger and bigger sand dunes rose before us:

Trekking in a line

My favourite method of getting down the dunes:

Bum Skiing

Bum Skiing

 

Coined ‘bum skiing’ by fellow trekker Adam, it was great fun (any excuse for a sit down)! Another fellow trekker later asked me how much sand got in my pants doing this?! Actually none!

Sand dunes

Precariously balanced

Precariously balanced

Eric Base Camp

Base Camp in the distance

This was my favourite camp of our trek, probably because it was our furthest point, and really felt like the heart of the desert (even though we were still barely a step or two into the Sahara as a whole). Our day was slightly different at this camp as we were exchanging our afternoon trek for an evening climb up Eric. Poor Rachael (PANDAS founder) had feet closely resembling raw steak, as per Ranulph Fiennes’ prediction (i.e. run-over by a lawnmower) by the time we reached this camp, and was in agony. Fellow trekkers Emma & Vix tended to her feet and I went to put the tents up for us. We had a long period of rest this afternoon and I spent some of it on the edge of camp learning one of my ladies barbershop songs ‘Stars Fell on Alabama’. There is a line in the song ‘Did it really happen? Was I really there?’ which felt absolutely true as I sang. Every time we sing that song now I am taken back. By 3pm the temperature had soared and we all zonked out.

Thermometer

Hottest afternoon

By 4pm we still hadn’t had our water rations for the afternoon (1.5 litres) and I felt like I was being baked alive! Jamal was relaxed at the top of the nearest dune so I shouted up and asked him if he was trying to finish us off?!? Several swigs later followed by afternoon tea and biscuits and we were preparing to start our trek to Eric. We were able to go barefooted for this part of our trek which felt lovely and cool (ish!), blisters all covered and feet still taped up though of course. Unfortunately I had a massive nosebleed 10 minutes after setting off which wouldn’t stop and ended up sat in the sand on my own, blood everywhere and flies taking advantage, whilst the rest of the trekkers were eager to conquer Eric and had sped off. Luckily Lhoucine was with me and went back to camp for water whilst I sat squeezing my nose and thinking how much I needed all that haemoglobin spilling all over the sand. Also dramatically wondering if anyone would ever find me again….I was on my own in the Sahara!!! It did eventually stop, Lhoucine came back and we used some precious water to clean me up…oooh a treat! Obviously everybody else was already at the top by the time I made it to Eric…

View from the top - I'm the white spec and the orange is L'houcine!

View from the top – I’m the white spec and the orange is Lhoucine!

Steep slope

My view! Sooo steep, and the sand so soft.. C’mon Emma!

Top of Eric

Thank you Lhoucine!

Hug from Vix

Made it! Hug from Vix

Cloudy but still amazing

Cloudy but still amazing

Getting down Eric was the best fun ever, no I didn’t bum ski this time, I rolled like a child and laughed my head off all the way down. What a release! There are a couple of pictures of that but it’s not pretty so I’ll spare you!

Vix, Rachael, Emma and I giggled hysterically all the way back to camp as the sun set. What a journey for four women who were devastated by postnatal depression, and fought their way back up. I felt immensely proud of all of us.

Thank you for reading,

Emma x

PANDAS Ladies = Strong women

PANDAS Ladies = Strong women

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