July 24, 2017
PNT mile 247
Camp: A field next to a hotel in Green Mountain, Idaho
Morning came too soon when a logging truck drove by our roadside camp at 6:30 am. The driver hopped out to check on us and tell us he needed our bed space to turn his truck around. I had cloudy visions of protest, but ultimately had no energy for such shenanigans. We quickly collected our gear and fled to the trail. I felt ultra wiped out and my chafe was screaming. I didn’t mention the drama of that last night, but it was bad. I had wrapped my leg in an ace bandage for yesterdays hike in an effort to hold off the feeling of glass shards poking into my leg. It worked great! That is, until I removed it. The thing was stuck to my leg and when it detached, my chafe had started bleeding. I had quite a job of dealing with that at 11pm and had difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep in all night.
This morning it was still very tender and now an exposed wound. I did what I could with my first aid kit to make it through the next big climb (3100′ in 4 miles). I was feeling queasy and forced down a cliff bar for the walk down to the valley. At the base we stopped at a picnic table for breakfast where I choked down oatmeal, my stomach feeling extremely unsettled. It took a while to finish my slop, a real chore to get it all down…but I knew I needed the calories if I wanted to climb Mt. Bussard today.
We walked across the valley to the approach and were met by a pack of llamas! They were so sweet and bucktoothed and mop headed, the delight of the meeting was a great distraction from my uneasy stomach.
I put on some music for the climb to help me get going and kept a slow but steady pace. Halfway up I stopped to sit in the shade and eat some huckleberries. Pink came along and picked a whole bunch of berries which he shared with James and I. It was about all I could eat, but I figured I needed the sweet treat for energy.
Finally at the top of the climb I ran into Judd and Righton. They had been there for awhile and were, per usual, full of energy. Younguns!
I, on the other hand laid out my ground cloth and had a nice lie down while I waited for Pink so we could have lunch. I was feeling more nauseous and hoped taking a rest would make the feeling pass. When Pink arrived I was actually feeling worse for the wear as he cooked up some lunch.
As the smells wafted my way the nausea increased until I had to run into the bushes to throw up. It was mostly liquid, but crimson red from the berries which was a bit concerning. Pink ate both of our lunches and we decided that we had to hike the 4 miles to water at the very least…meanwhile the vomiting increased in frequency and intensity.
Soon, it was every half mile that I had to stop and empty the contents of my belly. Once the huckleberries were gone it was stomach acid and water, which I was forcing down just to have something in me. Every time I had to stop, I felt like collapsing, but between the two of us, we didn’t have enough water for the situation. I powered through, barely conscious, constantly heaving.
At one point I figured we should have been there and found us a mile off trail. We had to backtrack, adding 2 miles total to the day. All I wanted was to lay down and shut my eyes. But I had to hike.
Then, just as we were finally approaching the supposedly reliable creek…it was dry. I fought back tears and continued to retch in the bushes. This was quickly becoming my worse day on trail. Ever.
The next water was yet another mile, making it a total of 7 miles and no guarantee of a flow when we got there. The day felt like it would never end. I wanted to give up but knew I couldn’t. I kept hiking and puking. Puking and hiking. I wanted my mommy!
Pink stayed close and kept an eye on me the whole way. He was patient and brave enough to look and what came up to make sure I was okay…but once I lost all of the huckleberries, there was no more red color which was our main concern.
We made it to the next water which was a couple of stagnant pools in a streambed. I immediately flopped to the ground and shut my eyes. Pink found some women picking berries and asked them if they could take us to the nearest town. They were happy to help, but one of them had an immune deficiency and needed me to ride in the bed of the truck.
I laid down and wrapped myself in my ground cloth for the cold and bumpy ride, half conscious and fully relieved to know it would soon be over. A hotel room with running water, beds and blankets would soon be mine. I’d almost made it.
They dropped us off at a motel after a very bumpy ride that felt like eternity. They were very sweet and made sure we were all set before driving off…but as it turned out there was no room at the inn, or any inn for that matter. Bonners Ferry was fresh out of hotel rooms.
I puked in the bushes of the nicely manicured grounds while Pink negotiated with the front desk. They said we could set up in the woods by the hotel as long as we were out of sight. This would have to do. They gave us water and said we could even come in for breakfast in the morning. They were all too kind.
Once my tent was pitched, I grabbed my cooking pot and proceeded to drink water and gatorade (Pink walked to a nearby gas station) only to have it come right back up. I was sick for 12 hours straight before finally succumbing to sleep.
I have no idea what caused this sickness…food? Water? Over exertion? Exhaustion? A bug? All I knew is that LB was nearby and he would come and rescue me in the morning.