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.