Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 5: KansATHON
Eric Larsen
28 June 2020 | Kansas
The morning was cool after, the previous nightâ??s thunderstorm. It was a welcome relief and I packed quickly hoping to make the 2.3 miles to rendezvous with Gus before the temperature started rising.

As much as I enjoy traveling with Gus and his positive demeanor, it was nice to be on my own for a bit longer. I like being quiet when Iâ??m on the trail and it gives me a lot of time to think and reflect (on what is a story for a different time).

In no time, I spotted the red Old Town Canoe on top of my car that Tanner (my intern) is driving as support. Gus was ready and I quickly refilled water and was off again. For an hour, Gus and I walked side by side catching up on our past 24 hours of separation. For a while, Gus was nervous that his body might over heat again, but he slowly put paced me and we spent most of the day walking about 50 yards apart. I was glad that the Gusâ??s extra rest and day off had done the trick. As much as I like doing things on my own, I really wanted him to finish this trip with me.

Like many of my expeditions, these stateATHONS are not super difficult on the surface. However, I usually set hard enough goals for each day and the entire trip that it, very quickly, becomes exhausting - which is the chess game I like.

I also like seeing new areas and creating outdoor challenges in places that arenâ??t necessarily home to the worldâ??s most iconic adventures (adventure is everywhere by the way). But more on that later, too.

For my part, I have been getting around five hours of sleep each night and on the move from before 7 am until roughly 9 pm. I can feel the fatigue creeping in.

We stopped for a long lunch, then a couple hours later for a longer rest on the side of a side of under a shady tree. For a while, snores could be heard (not by me I swear).

Hiking on the Flint Hills Trail was amazing despite the sweltering heat. Every so often Gus would stop and point and a minute later I would be at that same spot and see the cool thing he had found. At one such spot, a turtle had dug, and then backed itself, into a deep hole in the ground, presumably to lay its eggs.

By the time the sun started setting we were still hiking and eventually logged something north of 20 miles. Not as much as we hoped but decent considering the temperature and humidity.

Later, it was so warm at night that I couldnâ??t even sleep inside the mesh MSR Hubba Hubba with the fly off. I chose to sleep outside and only got a few new mosquito bites. Lucky me. Back at it soon enough
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