Ten days ago Explorer and adventurer Todd Carmichael returned to Death Valley where he is once again attempting to make a solo, unassisted trek across that brutal desert. Carmichael, who once set a speed record for traveling to the South Pole on foot, made a similar attempt last year, but was turned back by large rock fields, has vowed to beat the desert this year no matter what, and while it has been tough going so far, he does continue to make progress.
Todd has been sending regular dispatches back from the field, including audio files, that have kept us up to date on his progress, and judging from his reports thus far, Death Vally: Round II hasn’t been much easier than his first attempt. That said however, he remains focused and determined, despite the fact that he is a bit off his schedule and has struggled with covering the miles. On an expedition like this however, small victories go a long way, and over the weekend Todd was happy to find that the tires on his cart, lovingly dubbed “the Pig,” had survived the night without going flat.
That may sound like a minor thing, but the Pig is Todd’s lifeline on this expedition, as the specially designed and built cart, carries his food, water, and gear for the entire journey. When fully packed, it weighs in excess of 400 pounds, but allows for carrying the all important water that keeps Carmichael alive and moving forward in the hottest, driest, and lowest place in North America.
In his most recent dispatch, sent this morning, Todd reports that he had a brutal night last night. He has been traveling in the dark when he can to help avoid the hot sun, and he had set a goal for himself to cross out of an extremely rocky zone and onto a flatter, easier area. It was a major bump in his road, but one he managed to conquer along the way, even in the dark.
There is still a considerable distance to go at this point, but Todd seems in great spirits, despite his hardships, and I have little doubt that barring some unforeseen circumstances, he’ll finish up the expedition in a successful fashion.