Well, today I did my longest hike to date. It was going to be 50 km, but then we ultimately decided to shave off a couple of km road-walking -- we took a taxi instead -- putting the grand total somewhere at about 48 km. Even with the 2 fewer km, it was a long day. And I am now very tired and sore. But I can honestly say that it was a great experience, and I enjoyed the challenge of the hike. I've never before put myself to such a test, and had a couple pleasant surprises: I got a second wind at about the 35 km mark, and even felt like I could've gone on after we finished (which is good, considering that in 4 weeks, I WILL have to go on... at 48 km, we'll still have over half of the Trailwalker to go!).
Anyway, I'm feeling very encouraged after today's hike. If you'd told me a couple years ago that I'd be attempting the Trailwalker -- or even 50 km -- I probably wouldn't have believed you. Besides thinking that my dad and his friends were crazy for wanting to try such a long hike, I guess I also thought that I'd never be physically able to do the whole thing. But today was an incredible confidence-booster, and I think that [unless sickness or injury befalls me] I should be able to finish the 100 km! One of the biggest things about today was that we did one of the toughest stages, stage 3, twice. It's a 10.5 km hike that, when I did it for the first time 3 or 4 years ago, I swore I would never do again. So now, knowing that I'm capable of doing it twice in one day, with some other things in between, is a huge boost for me psychologically.
Unfortunately, I have no photos to share, because I'm not bringing my camera along on hikes anymore (until the Trailwalker) -- slows me down too much. :( I might share some stories from the hike at a later time though... for now, it's time for bed!