Upon waking I felt awful. My stomach hurt and all my joints ached. When I went down to the restaurant to eat breakfast I had to make two trips to the bathroom where I almost blacked out. My head was spinning as I tried to put food and water back into my body.
The symptoms continued and my body continued to refuse to retain any liquids or solids. I spent the majority of the day lounging in the common area of the resort and decided to take a full rest day, hoping that the issues would pass quickly.
Getting out of bed I didn't feel any better than the day before. At breakfast another hiker gave me some Imodium pills so that I could make an effort to control my bowel movements. I planned on taking another full day of rest.
Around midday I decided to hitch to the nearby town of Quincy to pick up more Imodium pills since that had been slightly effective for me. A local couple picked me up and even offered me to stay at their cabin in Chester if I needed a place to recover. In Quincy I just bought more pills at the Rite-Aid and then went to try to pack in some calories at Subway. In the Subway a local began chatting with me and also eventually offered me to stay at his family house if my illness got worse. On the hitch back to Belden I was picked up by a lady who's husband had done the PCT in sections in the 90's. She offered her contact info if I needed a ride anywhere for medical attention. I couldn't believe how generous everyone was!
Back at the Belden resort I was feeling a little better. I was able to eat and hold it in mainly due to the amount of Imodium pills I was taking. During the evening I chat with a local, Glen, at the bar for hours. I stay once more in resort over night.
The night passes soundly and I wake up feeling well. I stop taking any more Imodium throughout the day and it seems like my body has recovered. Glen comes in again and we continue our chat.
In the afternoon the folks that I spent the night with in Sierra City catch up to me. I decide that I'm good enough to hike some more. We head out for only 2 miles(3.2 km) and setup camp. Unfortunately for me in the dead of night I wake up in a panic and expel a lot of diarrhea.
I wake up feeling weak but decide to continue forward alone. The day's hiking is easy despite my light-headedness. My appetite begins to disappear and I don't each much all day.
In the evening I come across two older gentlemen who are providing trail magic. I drink a bunch of sugary drinks and eat a platter of fruit. Finally consuming something made me feel great. After hiking about 20 minutes from the magic though everything promptly exited my body and I decided to start chewing on Imodium again.
Feeling annoyed I continued hiking into the evening, stopping earlier than I had planned too. At the camp spot there was already another hiker, Dumbo. To my dismay in the middle of the night I was struck again with a tragic bathroom break. I also had the pleasure of having a deer try to yank my pack away at some point during my slumber as well.
Despite my bodily suffering I pressed on with the motivation to reach the official midpoint of the PCT(1325 miles(2132.4 km)). The trail is forgiving and I reach the marker before noon. Not feeling well at all I continue on and hitch into Chester.
After getting into town I go straight for the local walk-in clinic to have myself checked out. They don't provide any real answers or antibiotics, whilst I give them a stool sample. They say it'll take three days to get results so I go over to the cheapest motel to book my nights.
I visit the local library to use WiFi and then a pizza joint for lunch. Not a very exciting day.
I visit the local library to use WiFi and then a burger parlour for lunch. Not a very exciting day.
I visit the local library to use WiFi and then the same burger parlour again. I go to the clinic again to see if they have my results. They don't...
Rashly, I decide to hitch out and continue hiking to the next town. Burney is not too far away and I tell the clinic to send me my results via email once they come in. I manage to quickly get a ride back out to trail and complete 21 miles(33.4 km). To my surprise I have no emergency during the night.
Forcing myself in the morning, I head out to reach Old Station by the late afternoon. There are many horse riders on the trail due to the many nearby ranches. I even meet two camel riders on the trail. Yes, camels.
The hiking was very mild but my shoulders begin to ache painfully. I figure I must have been losing a lot of weight the last few days due to constant bowel movements and lack of appetite. I stop in Old Station for a milkshake and some snacks from the gas station. The section from here was completely waterless for the next 30 miles(48.2 km). I snuck in some more miles that evening before camping on an exposed ridge.
My appetite drops to absolute zero as hike Hat Creek Rim to get to Burney. All I can do is keep my self hydrated as the sun comes out in full force on the exposed trail. Continuing forward my mind is mush and my morale depletes.
About 10 miles(16 km) to the end of the dry section there is trail magic. I am in a sour mood but I force my self to drink a bunch of calories. I make it to the highway and hitch to Burney without much issue and post up inside a McDonald's.
It's was decision time. Constant diarrhea for almost two weeks, my appetite disappearing which is accelerating my weight loss, my shoulders being in excruciating pain and all my friends now 100+ miles(161 km) ahead of me at this point. Without a doubt I was not having fun and I decided I would just go back home to recover.
There was no option to leave Burney today as buses were not running. I would stay in a motel one night, then at a local church the next before making my way to Sacramento to catch a flight. I felt upset with myself for not being stronger and continuing forward. As I write this now I have no doubt that this was the right call to make.
This adventure, though unfinished now, will see it's end soon as I return to complete my thru-hike in 2020. Stay tuned and feel free to read about the other trips I do in the meantime.
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