was black! Pitch black! ...
so much as a glow from the rocks! Within seconds the heat
became overwhelming and panic was setting in. The darkness,
the heat, the thunder! Then suddenly Junior began belting
out chants that filled the last bit of air in the womb. Panic,
heat, oxygen, darkness, chanting! My mind went into a tizzy.
"I've gotta get out of here. --My God, I can't take this
for even ten seconds!" Can I gracefully leap over Junior,
dart around the thousand-degree rocks and scoot through the
exit without causing a scene?
No! I would insult their
culture, their sacred circle, and they would undoubtedly never
stop talking about the white girl that couldn't take a Sweat
for more than ten seconds. The choice was clear. I would either
insult the Ute people or die in this sweat lodge. I chose
on Mother Earth...
HOT air was near unbearable and I tried desperately to focus
on something besides my lack of oxygen. Remembering that air
is cooler near the ground I quickly started sucking precious
oxygen from the ground.
Everyone was chanting
now and with my mouth and nose firmly planted on Mother Earth
I started enjoying the sounds of their native language.
Sweat was dripping down
my face, over my nose, and down my back - suddenly I heard
myself chanting with them. I would live!
After twenty minutes
(and 10 gallons of sweat) Junior opened the flap. Air! Glorious
air! I peeled myself off the ground and managed to look up
at Sandra who didn't have the strength to look back at me.
led the group in prayers and thoughts from the heart, when
all too soon it was time for round two. The flap went down,
heat filled the womb, Polly hit the deck.
After surviving another
HOT round of chanting, each person, one by one, prayed for
my safety as I embark on this great journey around the earth.
They prayed for the women that I was fighting for and asked
that I be given strength and good health.
With virtually no warning
I became overwhelmed with humility and started to cry. I cried
and cried and cried. The chanting, the heat, the darkness,
the thunder, the prayers, and now the crying - I was clearly
in a place I had never been before.
the flap was lifted for the third time, hot rocks were reloaded
while Sandra and I stood by with really frightened eyes. The
last round would not be an easy one. The rocks were hotter
than ever and I had no more sweat to sweat.
Just seconds into round
four Sandra was having a difficult time. Although she was
right next to me I had to feel around for her. My hand found
her shoulder and I whispered "Put your mouth towards
the ground, it's cooler there". She dropped instantly.
I've never felt such
heat -- such sweat. The mouth-to-the-earth trick wasn't working
anymore and I began to feel dizzy. "Oh God, don't let
me pass out. Just twenty more minutes. Focus!" I curled
up into the fetal position on the dirt ground and the thought
that this is how they might find the body didn't seem to bother
The flap opened for the
last time and there was barely enough light to see each other.
Sandra was rocking back and forth crying, "Daddy! Daddy!"
I was lying on the ground in the fetal position, covered in
sweat and left for dead.
managed to mumble from my puddle as he exited over my remains,
"Could you get me some water?"
I heard him whisper, "This is why this will never become
a tourist attraction."
prize is fabulous...
has won an all-inclusive 7-night cruise on Temptress
Adventure Cruises in one of the most naturally beautiful
areas of the world -- the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and
Panama. Shell have the delicious opportunity of interacting
with nature -- swimming under cascading waterfalls, hiking
through pristine rainforests or, maybe, simply taking part
in some serene bird watching. She can snorkle, scuba dive,
water ski to her hearts delight or, perhaps, just relax
on the sun deck with a good book. The choice is hers
for one whole week. Lucky woman! Talented Woman! Congratulations,
P.S. Want to follow Pollys
Global Walk Adventures? You can catch the action at http://www.globalwalk.org
guidelines for this competition have been independently set
by Journeywoman.com. We thank Temptress
Adventure Cruises for sponsoring She Adventures
-- A Journeywoman travel writing competition for women
and for choosing the winning entry. Together it is our aim
to inspire women to travel safely and well.