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I finally stopped Skurka when my heart was beating so hard it hurt and my lungs couldn't catch up. I'd grown light-headed from the altitude, and the earth wheeled under me uncomfortably. The plan had always been for me to turn around and walk back into Twin Lakes at the end of the day. Suddenly this seemed as good a place as any: After about two miles (three kilometers) with Skurka, I was destroyed, completely spent. He had 30 more to go that day, and I knew I was slowing him down. So I asked about the road ahead and the remaining 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) to the Grand Canyon, and Skurka seemed improbably excited. "Like, all these remote places I'll be going," he said. "Like the Mogollon Rim in the Sitgreaves National Forest. What the heck is that? You know what I mean?" He'd already begun edging away from me on the trail, getting ready to hit his natural pace again. "Well anyway," he said, "I'm going to go find out. It sure looks pretty!" And with that, Andrew Skurka disappeared into the wilderness, yet again.

Next: Andrew Skurka's Hiking Stats

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