Boulder Creek (1612.8) to Eklund Lake (1630.5)
Last night was not enjoyable. One moment I’m cold, next moment I’m too hot and lathered with sweat. Sleep did not come easy. But I did manage at least a couple of hours.
When I set off hiking I was still hopeful that this was just some 24 bug that I’d caught. I continued with my plan to stay on the trail. I had 6.3 miles before I had to make a decision to bail off the CDT and make it to the nearby town of Pinedale. It would be a 17 mile side trip one way to get me to safety.
I didn’t have to wait for 6.3 miles to make my decision. It took me almost 4 hours to hike 3.5 miles. And the terrain was not especially difficult. I was not fairing well. The fever had for the most part subsided but I had no energy. Then there was the diarrhoea. Often I would walk only a couple of minutes then rest for 15 minutes.
I reached the top of Hat Pass. I was not in good shape. There were no other hikers around. I had cell phone signal. I considered calling for a rescue. A decision I did not take lightly. But I couldn’t do it. A rescue would mean the end of my hike. The end of the CDT. I shed a tear.
I called the most inspirational person I know for guidance. I needed another person to be my voice of reason. Angela set me straight and motivated me to continue. I reasoned that I still had about 5 days food. There were plenty of streams and lakes for water (and mosquitos) so even if I moved slow I would be OK. If I got much worse then other hikers would turn up at some stage to assist.
I continued slowly for most of the day. Each passing hour I was getting better. I still had to be careful not to cough or pass wind. Several accidents occurred earlier in the day. But I was slowly getting better.
By late afternoon I was able to walk 30 minutes at my normal pace with a 15 minute break. By 5pm I sat down and calculated the miles I’d hiked. I was astonished. How did I do it. I don’t know but I just kept telling myself to keep moving forward.
By 6pm I was done. I couldn’t take another step. I think I pushed myself harder today than any other day of this hike, or any other hike. Both physically and mentally. I almost quit the trail today. But I realised that I’m a lot stronger than I once thought.
Tomorrow I only have a short 6 miles or so to a trailhead that I’m told has a lot of hiking traffic. I hope to get a lift into town to rest and recover. If I’m not improving by tomorrow night I’ll head to the medical clinic.