Day 97: Burney Mountain Guest Ranch to mile 1424.4 to Burney Falls State Park.
7.21.18. 14.7 NOBO PCT miles.
Oh my. Today was not the greatest. I woke up not feeling my best, and needed to throw up. Not in an extreme way, but like before when I was having my morning episodes. So I didn’t think too much of it. I didn’t really want breakfast though either, but forced myself to eat some to give me good energy for the day.
It was already pretty hot at 8:15, when I started hiking. I was feeling ok though. The miles were easy. I did feel full though and needed to adjust my hip belt under my belly to take pressure off. I got to Burney Falls State Park, 9 miles later, at 11:15 am, and immediately went to sit in the shade, get a root beer float, eat snacks, and drink more water. I hung out there with Avatar, and then Rhino, who I met before Lassen, came by and he felt really sick and said he’d be staying at the campground tonight even though he only hiked 4 miles. Another hiker I’d been hiking around was at a camp table talking with a park ranger, and was actually ambulanced out of the park to the hospital. His friend did the same just the day before.
Feeling tired and hot, but fine, I got going again around 1:30. I didn’t feel too bad during the hiking. It was hot, but not too difficult and I was drinking an acceptable amount of water. I got to a creek about 5.5 miles from the park and went down to soak my feet and filter water, and generally take a break and eat my ramen lunch. It was about 3:30 pm. I chatted with Avatar and 2 Ply for a bit until they left. I was feeling just tired and hot, but once I started to eat my ramen, I started feeling sick, like I shouldn’t eat it. Mantis came up and chatted with me and asked how I was doing. The timing could not have been more perfect, because as he’s telling me that so many people we’ve been hiking around: LOL, Mountain Goat, Rhino, Easy Company, and two other guys all felt sick and nauseous. Mantis told me he saw Easy Company hiking back out to the park because he felt so bad. Practically in that moment, as if he predicated how I was truly feeling, I threw up. It was not pretty, and it was not like my prior incidents. And it happened multiple times. I knew at that moment there was really no other safe option for my health & safety of possible would-be SAR personnel other than to hike back to the park. There are almost no bail out options between that creek and I-5, about 75 miles of trail. If I was going to be sick, I couldn’t move forward.
Packing up and heading back after drinking more water w electrolytes was one of the hardest things I’ve done on this thru-hike. It takes so much energy to fight your pride and admit you need help instead of just soldiering on. In fact, if I had listened to my body better, I probably should not have left the park that afternoon. Now I had to hike 5.5 mile back. I passed by other NOBOs: Straight Mike, Pocketrocket, and Fetus, who was concerned about my hiking out. He had also heard of people falling ill. I kept hiking, about 2.5 miles since the creek, when amazingly, there was a car at a dirt road in the middle of nowhere with a hiker I recognized in it! Her name is Alien, and she’s hiked the AT & CDT, and she’s out here doing sections of the PCT and her parents are along for a cross-country road trip! They had stayed at the guest ranch the night before and I saw her on the trail this morning. Alien’s parents were dropping her off her so she could SOBO hike back to Burney Falls. I asked if they could drive me back to the park since that’s where they were picking her back up and they happily obliged. They were incredibly nice people and were very concerned about my health. And I was just so happy I didn’t have to hike all the way back!! They dropped me off at the store, and I figured out how to get a spot at the hike & bike camp. When I got back there, I ran into Neon and Avocet! It was really nice to see them and chat. I also had some random cell service and was able to text a trail angel who put his number on guthook’s and ask if he could bring me to the hospital tomorrow. So he’s going to pick me up in the morning, and I’ll need to figure out what to do from there. I’m just so tired from today, and still feel the need to vomit, and also had more loose stools this evening, so I’m just trying to sip on water until going to sleep. Hoping for a very speedy recovery, as I did not account for this to happen.