Day 112: (18 miles)
mile 1548 – 1566
This morning was highly disappointing. It was all I could do to get out of the tent in time…both ends erupting. Shit! This is NOT good. Decision made. Time to see a doctor. Obviously the cipro did not work, or something else is going on and I can’t keep wishing this into the “corn field”, to coin a Twilight Zone term. Hmm. Closest exit is Hwy 3, 18 miles away, then a hitch to a hospital. We pack up and Paul takes most of my food and carries most of the water to lighten my pack (could of put load, but then that would just start silly remarks from my silly friends).
I switch to autopilot, and think about all the long and arduous workouts that I’ve endured feeling just as bad or even worse than I feel now. It’s just a matter of keeping moving, staying focused, break it up in your mind to intervals and short goals. We begin to get back on the trail and run into MeToo, who we last saw in Independence, but had gotten off the trail at Sierra City for 10 days with an intestinal infection. We talk a bit, and continue moving. We go for an hour or so and reach Chillcook Creek. There we find ” Strawberry ” and her sister who is “guest hiking” with her to Ashland just breaking camp. Last we saw her was in Burney. She asks if I am feeling better. “No”, Paul answers for me. He tells Strawberry that we are trying to get to Hwy 3 and then to the hospital for treatment. “Wow, it seems that lots of people are getting off trail cause they’re sick. Hope you get better”, she replies. We walk a little further and run into Handbrake and Free Fall who we met at Subway Cave who are stopped for breakfast. They ask me how I’m feeling. Not good, is my reply. They confirm that I look as bad as I feel. Great. Handbrake tells me he has Giardia medication he’ll give me if we don’t want to go into town, but we decline because then he’d be without it and I’ve already gone through one round of antibiotics and am still having issues. We would rather get a definitive diagnosis and medication to match from an actual doctor. Our concern is that I’m the only one sick and Paul is not. Not to say Paul should be sick too, but we drank all the same water and he’s perfectly fine, for which I’m truly grateful (I’ve got the best husband ever! …just say’n). We trudge on, and I live up to my trail name, OneSpeed, for even though I am sick, Paul tells me I am keeping to my 2 miles per hour pace…go figure. The trail is wonderfully forgiving as it follows the contours of the hillside.
The temperature is on the cool side as the sky begins to be cluttered with white fluffy clouds that are now beginning to darken. All signs point to thundershowers. We have at least four more miles to the highway, hence two more hours. Rain gear is at the bottom of our packs. Dig it out now, or keep going. Keep going. The wind begins to gust. We haven’t experienced wind for some time, and begin to recall and discuss all the crazy wind events we’ve walked through. Thunder rumbles, mocking my insides. We come upon MeToo again and he is digging out his rain gear. We pass him, and consider once again digging out the gear. Nope. Push on. 20 minutes to the highway. It starts to drizzle. No biggie. The drizzle turns to big fat drops. Okay, fine. We stop under a tree, dig out our rain jackets and pack covers. Once they’re on, the rain stops. Of course it does. Mother Nature reminding us she is still in charge and accompanying us on our adventure. We near the highway and are greeting by an elderly gentleman. “Are you the hikers I’m looking for?”. What hikers are you looking for?, Paul asks. ” The sick ones”. Hmm, must be talking about us. Apparently Strawberry, who was now probably camped at the campground where this kind gentleman was camped told them about our plight. He offers to break camp and drive us to a hospital in Weaverville, 100 miles away. Not wanting to inconvenience his camping trip, we make a deal that we would try to hitch on the highway and if we strike out we will accept the ride. With our lucky “PCT hikers to town” sign we wait. After ten minutes and no cars in either direction we contemplate going with the sure ride, but wait when we hear car. Smile big, thumb out, and fingers crossed… Yes! A white truck stops. The driver, Jeff, listens to our sad story and agrees to drive us about 50 miles to the town of Yreka where the nearest hospital is located. Jeff had just finished a multi-day hike with friends and was returning home to Oregon. We talked about our journey and how he was planning to hike the John Muir Trail. We enjoyed the hiking conversation as we traveled through a beautiful farming valley (Scotts Valley) to Yreka. Jeff suggested we drop off our packs at a hotel before going to the hospital, which we did at the Comfort Inn Suites.
Three miles away was the small hospital where we thanked Jeff for being a lifesaver and wished each other the best on our hiking adventures. In the emergency room we waited only a few minutes before seeing Dr. Arron. Dr. Arron is a hiker too and knew right away what was going on with my upset belly and bowels. After a quick assessment I was given a prescription to treat Giardia. Being a mystery why Paul is symptom free, the Doctor prescribed him the meds too. He will probably need them soon. All we needed now was a ride to the pharmacy. The emergency room P. A. Dr. Gary volunteered to give us a ride to the pharmacy and our hotel. What a relief, since I was still feeling weak and sick. Dr. Gary section hiked the first 700 miles of the PCT a few years back and said he was gladly repaying the generosity he received during his hike. Thank you Doc! Before saying good bye Dr. Gary offered to drive us to the trail tomorrow if I feel up to it. At this point I doubt I’ll be ready.