I was walking along thinking about how close we were to finishing the Pacific Crest Trail (we were at mile 2330 at the time). I reflected on my transformation into a long distance hiker, how little I needed to get by, how strong I felt, how hungry I was. Through it all my body was still doing all the crazy things I was asking of it. Then I got a little stomach ache.
Pedi, Frizzle, Smokes, Butters and myself had hiked to Urich Cabin - we had hoped for trail magic and we weren't disappointed. The cabin was occupied, but there were coolers of soda and snacks and beer! And the cabin had privies (that's right, more than one!). I knew something was wrong when the idea of a beer made me cringe. My stomach was starting to hurt and I had a Gatorade (you know, to be safe). That's right, folks. I turned down a free beer in the middle of the wilderness - a clear sign something was terribly amiss. As we sat at the cabin clouds rolled in. It seemed like it was going to rain so we decided to hike on to a campsite for the evening - I just hoped I would make it without blowing chunks.
Side note, the Urich cabin would be an awesome place to stay, not far from road access, fireplace, privy, and plenty of room for friends to hole up from bad weather.
Anyway, onwards we walked. As we hiked out from the cabin I was wearing rain pants, rain jacket and my regular hiking clothes and was still having trouble staying warm. It had begun raining and it was definitely getting chilly - the others were starting to put on jackets. As my gear got wet I got colder. 5 miles I told myself, no big deal. Frizzle stopped and hiked with me for a minute. Then I told her to keep going and I'd catch up at water, I was having a hard time not puking while I walked.
Finally, we made it to a spring. I was done. I felt exhausted. I still had made it 26 miles for the day and it was only 5:30pm. I was wet and cold. I barely said anything to the group and they decided they would hike on to get closer to Snoqualmie. I stayed not far from the spring and put my tent up and jammed myself in. Somehow I got the damp clothes off and into a sleeping bag and passed out in a feverish sleep until 11 pm. I woke up and the fever had broken - but I had a crazy dream where Pedi and Frizzle and the gang brought me pizza in the night. This normally would have been a great dream except that even in the dream I had a terrible stomach ache. Before I could get to sleep again after a generous late night dinner of four single teddy Graham's I had to literally run out of my tent shedding my clothes in the process and evacuate all the things I had eaten or drank that day. Let's just say I was still not feeling well. I passed out again and kind of slept until morning.
This was just the beginning of a saga of sickness. The next day I felt off, but much better. I even ate an entire puch of Poptarts without feeling sick. Frizzle had left a bunch of Imodium with me before the gang took hiked on - she probably knew if I wanted to hike to the next town or keep up with them I would need the medicine. I just needed something to keep my body from becoming some kind of uncontrollable fountain... you get the point. I popped a few in the morning and hoofed it.
I hiked 30 miles that day. I stopped a lot to go to the bathroom, sometimes running off-trail or diving for bushes to hide myself. I was definitely not 100%, but I hoped I would be fine if I kept taking in liquids and eating properly (and taking Imodium). By the evening I caught Butters and Smokes and all three of us caught Trail Dancer at a campsite. We shared the site and talked about life and the world and about how much I hoped I wouldn't be shitting everywhere all the next day - we would make it to Snoqualmie Pass in Washington and I was desperately craving a burger and beer and as many other forms of calories as possible. Frizzle and Pedi were just a mile or two ahead and everyone was glad to see me and that I hadn't perished the night before. I was in good spirits and was hoping everything would be okay.
Little did I know what trials both Pedi and myself had in store. Stay tuned for disaster.
Dan (aka Soapbox)
As a post script I'd like to include some cool pictures from two days BEFORE I got sick. The trail is like life in society, good days and bad. Incredible views and great hiking, trials and hard times. I didn't take many pictures while I was sick nor did I write or draw (i was lucky to be able to eat a few Triscuits.