1790 km. Last straight to the finish line

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photo: Daniel Grodziński. This photo was taken before Walk The Gobi expedition,during training in Poland.

Heavy clouds on the horizon. Dead silence around. I know well what it means, what will happen at night.

I pump the wheel on four kilometers. I’ve never been so tired. Pain in yhighs and groins. Pain in joints, knees and hips. For several days I had diarrhea, fortunately now it’s better.

Nine days ago I left Dalanzadgad. It was very cold, at night – 7 degrees Celsius. The temperature was additionally lowered by strong wind. Over the night, the water froze in sacks and was defrosted in the afternoon. I did not want to risk and keep the sacks in my sleeping bag, because I was afraid that they might leak. After so many days of wandering, I feel the effects of low temperatures acutely. It’s hard to warm my fingers and toes.

I passed villages, but had stopped only time to time. Before the expedition I thought that the last stage would be easy, but it was not at all. Two spokes cracked. I walked with a bad thougts, not sure whether the wheels would not fall apart. I had an idea to abandon the cart, but happily went on. And I hope it will last until the end.

It sounds stupid, but I became intimate with him. I know, I know, it’s just a thing, but we started this together and it would be nice if we would finish it together. I’m really angry when people are picking him up. In the last village a drunk man tried to sit on it.

I put a tent three kilometers after the village. After a while, the old UAZ stopped. Three women were sitting inside. They were about fifty. They were going to Sainshand. This is the finish line of my trip. They asked if everything was good. One of the women jumped out of the car. She had a long woolen tunic, painted nails, a lot of rings on her fingers. She opened the fuel tank stopper, took out the rubber hose, and checked how much gas she had. She turned the tank, picked up the hood of the car, check things like a mechanic. She walked away two meters, pulled up the tunic, crouched, peed and drove off.

Sometimes I think I’m diuretic to these people. They see me, stop, talk. And since they have stopped, they use the time to pee. Most do not even interrupt the conversation, looking at me all the time.

I plan to arrive to Sainshand on Monday around noon. I feel relieved that my trip is almost over.

When I ran the Canning Stock Route in Australia, I felt that something important was ending in my life. Now I feel it too, but it is different. I do not think I caught a bond with the Gobi desert, I do not think that after the expedition I will miss this place. These first conclusions will certainly change with time. Perhaps the lack of bond is a result of unpredictability of this place. I can not figure out Gobi. In Australia, after a month in the desert I knew how it works. I still do not know it here. It’s a huge area. When I move the map away in the GPS, I can not imagine how much distance I have traveled.

Reminds me of how I wanted to give up after the first week. I entered Altai and it seemed to me that I could not do it. I even tried to damage the cart – not on purpose, I just was not gentle with it. If it’s supposed to be broken, let it happen there at the beginning. But the cart did not break down and did not give me an alibi. And I had to go.

Till now, the largerst distance that I traveled on my foot was 170 km on Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Apart from that, the most I’ve traveled was 150 km during pilgrims to Częstochowa.

I’m not a strong man, just an ordinary guy who sometimes has a goal and does a lot to achieve it.

On Saturday, I went 41 km. On Sunday 34. In total, already around 1790. Still 13 to go.

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   Mateusz Waligóra jest specjalistą od wyczynowych wypraw w najbardziej odludne miejsca planety. Szczególnym upodobaniem darzy pustynie, od Australii po Boliwię. Na koncie ma rowerowy trawers najdłuższego pasma górskiego świata — Andów, samotny rowerowy przejazd przez najtrudniejsza drogę wytyczoną na ziemi — Canning Stock Route w Australii Zachodniej oraz samotny pieszy trawers największej solnej pustyni świata — Salar de Uyuni w Boliwii.

Na co dzień pracuje jako stały współpracownik National Geographic Traveler oraz przewodnik wypraw trekkingowych na kilku kontynentach. Jego fotografie publikowały media na całym świecie, między innymi: The Guardian, Daily Mail, National Geographic, Globetrotter Magazin, 4-Seasons Magazin oraz Adventure Travel Magazine.

Autor książki ‘TREK’ nagrodzonej tytułem “Książka Górska Roku”, w kategorii “Przewodniki i poradniki górskie” na Festiwalu Górskim w Lądku Zdroju. Ambasador marek Fjällräven i Primus.

www.mateuszwaligora.com

wybrane wyprawy:

2017

Druga wyprawa projektu ‘Before It Is Gone’: Victorinox Qhapaq Ñan, w góry Cordillera Vilcabamba w Perú

2017

Pierwsza wyprawa projektu ‘Before It Is Gone’: Chadar Aztorin Expedition na zamarzniętą rzekę Zanskar w Himalajach indyjskich

2016

Samotna zimowa wyprawa przez największy górski płaskowyż w Europie —  Hardangervidda w Norwegii

2015

Samotne przejście największej solnej pustyni świata — Salar de Uyuni w Boliwii

2014

Samotny rowerowy trawers najtrudniejszej drogi wytyczonej na Ziemi —  Canning Stock Route w Australii Zachodniej

2011-2013

Rowerowy trawers Andów — najdłuższego pasma górskiego świata wraz z Agnieszką Waligórą

2009

Rowerem przez Kubę śladami Buena Vista Social Club