Day Four Hundred Ten #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Well, perhaps Elijah meant instead that we would catch up with the settlement of all the Hamashiachites. For that indeed was what we made out from the edge of the salt flat yesterday.

It was a welcome change to walk on firmer ground and without that incessant crunching noise.

The settlement grew enormously upon our approach. It seems much more had been hidden from our sight as it extends around to the east behind a rock formation that juts out onto the plain.

A crowd greeted us when we entered the encampment. Elijah immediately pushed on further into the maze of tents, leaving me here.

Hold on, as I am writing this, Elijah has returned with the Purser in tow.

Day Four Hundred Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The end of the salt flat is in sight. And so is the first hint of what is most likely the goal of our recent wanderings. In this long day Elijah has used the time more wisely than me – fasting both food and conversation. His attention has been elsewhere.

I have been chatty, voicing my thoughts out loud, though not really expecting an answer in reply. I can look at my friend and for the most part know what he is thinking. And for sure l know what his answer would be to my rather rhetorical questions.

Now we are stopped for the night, Elijah has ended his fast and declares to me that we will see the Purser tomorrow.

Day Four Hundred Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

At one point we considered switching our travel time to the night hours, but our mishap with the quagmire decided us against that strategy. It would be unwise in the extreme. Instead we will move in the cooler parts of the day and so continue until we get to the end of this salt flat.

We feel it is slowing our passage, but it is difficult to measure, for we can’t tell how far we’ve traveled today. We can’t even make out our morning starting point. And when we look before us it is impossible to judge how long it will take to put this all behind us.

It all makes one wonder out loud how the Purser’s family fared.

Day Four Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was a late riser this morning. Elijah, having the last watch, let me sleep in to recover from yesterday. So when preparations were complete, we got off to a good, though late start.

Even so we came out of the wilderness well before midday, which was ahead of our expectations. But the view that greeted us was completely surprising. An extensive and empty salt flat.

That it was empty was most unnerving. I had expected to see multitudes awash in this interior expanse. All of the evidence we had passed on our route called for that conclusion.

Elijah took in the scene and was pragmatic. All it meant he shrugged was that we still have a ways to go.