After waking up with an inflated foot and dark purple blisters, I realized I was no longer simply dealing with mere blisters. My body felt weak and drowsy, obviously fighting off an infection. Ninja’s mom offered to drive me to urgent care in Bakersfield, 45 minutes away. I felt bad, not wanting to take away from their visit, but knew I was running out of options. It is not worth risking a more serious problem by ignoring this one.

We managed to make it work so that the others could do their grocery shopping while I saw the doctor. The doc had never even heard of the PCT, and he seemed more intrigued by that than the pressing matter of my foot. He asked me why I didn’t consider quitting the hike and I looked at him as if he had 2 heads…”that is not an option,” I said.

He accepted that and prescribed me an oral antibiotic and steroid cream. Apparently I got a fungal infection that found its way into my blisters. Funny how something that seems so insignificant can become such a burden. $250 later, I was able to lay back in the hotel and nurse my wounds. It became apparent that I would not be able to hike out with my friends, which further wounded my spirit. But, I refuse to give up! I am far from done with this hike!

I’m now teamed up with Johnny from the UK, and Pockets is getting back on trail tomorrow (she’s been sick). Johnny also had a foot swelling issue, and all 3 of us had to stay back and watch friends move forward. We hope to hike out in the morning…taking it slow if need be. I got new shoes with more ventilation that are lighter on my feet, and I’m mailing my old one’s up to the next town just in case. Hopefully that will help.

I miss my friends, but with a few of us forced to splinter from our groups, we can join forces to create a new one. We are calling ourselves the strays…but we hope to see our friends again in the Sierra. We all hope to feel strong again soon….and to keep on hiking on.

I feel lucky to have had the support I have, and to be in a place that I could deal with it. I’ve been surrounded by love, and love the people who are a part of this experience. I’ve learned not to take things lightly, and it can always be worse. I’m so happy to be here still, and realize it’s a minor obstacle in a long journey. I have many blessings to count, and new friends taboot. This too shall pass.