Hello all – Morgan here. Just a quick update.
I did two 18 mile days in a row and was feeling pretty good about that. I had a Sawyer Squeeze for water filtration and the chintzy washer they include apparently fell out at some point, and when I was filtering water I think some unfiltered water contaminated my bottles. I also had a Sawyer Mini as a backup but I guess it was too late by then. I don’t know if i caught giardia, E-coli, or just food poisoning – I did eat some salami I carried for four days but it was colder than a refrigerator most of the time! When I reached Mojave Forks Dam and camped I felt pretty sick with nausea that night, and in the morning I had symptoms that spoke to maybe giardia – I was also still nauseous and physically weak. I had the option of crossing a creek and hiking a mile to a highway that crossed the trail, but I saw some uphill trail just ahead, and with the heat I just didn’t have it in me – I chose instead to bet on there being a road to the dam and hiked up there to take a look, followed a government paved road to a highway, attempted to hitch while hiking to Hesperia, and got a ride after about 2 miles.
Prior to the hike I had asked my doctor to provide some Flagyl medicine for just this possibility but instead he insisted on giving me a pill called Alinia, which runs about 100.00 per tablet! Good thing I have insurance. Whatever it is that I have… the Alinia, which is for giardia, does seem to be helping. I get bouts of stabbing pains in the belly that aren’t too fun though.
I flew home to recuperate, my knees needed a break, I’ve done something to my middle-upper back – possibly during one of my falls on trail – so I may go see a chiropractor when I can.
All in all I am not terribly pleased how my trail adventure has turned out – I skipped 16 miles near Scissors Crossing due to rhabdo, skipped the fire closures (which I guess are now open or will be shortly), and now I skipped the small section from Mojave Forks Dam to Hwy 173 – so I will have some going back to do at some point in the future – I am not a purist but I also will not claim I “did the PCT” if I skipped pieces of it left and right. With the closures and skips I reached 313 miles or so, but that took about 30 days including zero/off days – which is not the pace one needs to finish the PCT. It may turn out to be a 2016/2017 adventure for me to complete the entire trail.
So far I have to say that the trail is way more than I ever expected – so much beauty in the ‘desert’ section, I love Mount San Jacinto, I’ve met fantastic people on and off the trail, I have a new appreciation for California and I will no longer judge all Californians as the same like I used to LOL – at best I have maybe actually hiked only 10% of the trail, but it was a month I could never possibly forget. It was not what I expected, for me it was much more difficult, but I was finally starting to get towards big miles per day.. I am not sure when I will get back to the trail or where exactly that will be. It may be that I skip forward to meet and hike with some friends I have been trying to catch up to, or I might take more time off and skip to Kennedy Meadows in early June – I will have to see how long it takes to recuperate.
Even as I had a harder time than most, and some unfortunate incidents, I wouldn’t trade it for anything – I truly wish now that every person could experience what it is like to stand on a mountain and see the trail in both directions as far as you can see, and not see another living soul.. to walk through canyons, boulder fields, along streams, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, with nobody around.. it is a hard experience to quantify or describe well but it is amazing and I urge others who dream of doing so to do it.. be prepared for difficulty, bad weather, adapting to circumstances, and for the time of your life. I hope to be back on trail before too long… when I do get back it probably won’t be with Sawyer water filtration products. 🙂