Day 44: Zero before the Sierras

Day 44
June 1

I had been planning on taking a zero day today because Dr. Sole was arriving to set up his foot care station for the hikers and wanted to see me and Muk Muk, I needed time to sort through all my new gear for the Sierras, and because I was sick. I was hoping that Drama and Weeds wouldn’t leave until tomorrow, either. Drama had mentioned that he had done himself in by forgetting to put his mosquito head net in his resupply box. By some stroke of luck, John had put one in the bear canister he sent me, along with a bunch of food! I had already bought one for myself, so now I had an extra one for Drama! Part of me wanted to bribe Drama into staying another day with the head net, but I knew that wasn’t right and that he should do whatever was best for him. So, when I saw him, I just told him that I had something for him.
Erik had included a mango and a couple of baked breakfast goods from Whole Foods in the package I sent, so I didn’t have to search out breakfast. I did look to see if there was any coffee around. I saw Weeds and asked if she wanted to share my mango with me. After she found Icebucket, we sat at a picnic table and a swarm of hikers descended upon us, staring at the single mango! Ice Bucket was skilled at decoratively cutting the piece of fruit, and the pieces were small enough for many people to share.
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Drama made fun of the color of my new fleece jacket that I was wearing over my dress. I returned to my trailer to start the sorting process when I heard my name being called by a girl. “Yes?” She said that Dr. Sole was with her. He couldn’t believe it was me that was so sick, although he was glad that I didn’t look like I was about to die! He told me he was going to find a place to park his RV, set up his tent, and then could get me the watermelon.
He ended up parking between the store and the trailers and I offered to help him set up. Other hikers started hanging around, wanting him to fix up their feet. Otherworld, who I met at kick-off, got to be attended to first. I was very surprised to see her last night, but found out that she had skipped two sections in the desert to get here. I patiently waited my turn, as Dr. Sole popped and patched up blisters, scraped down callouses, and then applied toenail polish. I didn’t feel like I could waste much more time waiting around, though, because I needed to get everything together that I couldn’t carry and ship it someplace else before I didn’t have that opportunity. Someone told me that I better hurry up because tomorrow was Sunday! I didn’t have many foot problems, other than callouses, but I did want my toes painted. However, I had no time to wait for them to dry. I hurried back to the trailer and got down to business. Decisions had to be made! I stuffed a box full of my desert clothes, microspikes that I decided I didn’t need, my desert hat and umbrella, one of my poles, and lots of extra food, and brought it to the store to be weighed. I decided to send it to South Lake Tahoe, which marked the official end of the Sierras. There, I could sort through it again and mail some things home and carry other stuff with me. The clerk called the post office, gave them the measurements and weight, and was told how much it would cost. Done!
I decided to take another shower while I had the opportunity. Dr. Sole let me borrow one of his towels and followed me up to the bathroom. He told me that I looked sexy from behind.
Drama had decided that he was going to head out to the trail in the afternoon. I was surprised to see him return not too long afterwards! He said that it didn’t feel right to leave not knowing what was wrong with my stomach, and not being there for Weeds. He started crying and then decided to turn around. Last year, Weeds attempted to thru-hike the PCT and after entering the Sierras, suffered a stroke. She was airlifted out and spend months recovering in a hospital. Now, she was back for her second attempt and was scared to reach the point at which her stroke occurred. I was relieved that Drama had returned. “You don’t want to start the Sierras alone, do you?” I asked him. He shook his head no. The Sierras were the one part of the trail that were recommended to be done with someone else for safety reasons. I still didn’t have a clue as to what the snow and ice conditions were like out there.
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As the day wore on, the pain in my stomach increased. My belly was distended with inflammation. One hiker laughed when I said how much it hurt. (?) I was getting messages on facebook from people at home telling me not to go into the Sierras if my appendix was about to burst, or that I needed to have my gallbladder removed. The woman who was mailing out my resupply boxes told me it was dysentery and to boil all of the water that I drank. Hikers who were hanging out around Dr. Sole suggested that the food I was eating was too acidic and that I needed to put baking soda in my water to balance out the pH of my stomach. Another told me to listen to what my body was trying to tell me. I’m pretty sure it was telling me I had giardia! It was the same kind of pain that I felt after suffering from giardia on the AT. Eating made it feel even worse!
One person said that there was a half a dose of flagyl in the hiker box, but I couldn’t find it and didn’t think it would be good to take a half dose anyway. So, I ate the two packets of watermelon seeds that Dr. Sole bought from Home Depot because he could only find seedless watermelon at the store! Someone said, “You’re eating seeds that were meant for planting?!”
“Yup”. What else was I supposed to do?
After the store grill had closed down, Dr. Sole cooked dinner for the hikers hanging around his RV. There were a lot of them! And more were constantly streaming in. Some were even driven there, which astounded me… Yardsale, who is the 18 year old kid that blew past the 200 mile sign while I was there, told us he would be getting off the trail at Mt. Whitney. Although I hardly knew him, I suddenly felt extremely sad! One of our family was leaving. It hit me almost as hard as if I were about to leave the trail, myself… What an awful feeling.
A movie was being shown in an outdoor theater at Tom’s place and people started to head over there as it got dark. I stayed and listened to some hiker stories and then walked by the movie. I found the moving images mesmerizing. It was as if I had never seen a movie before! I didn’t stay to watch, though, because I had already missed a good deal of it. I walked by Drama’s trailer and heard a lot of laughter inside. I decided to see what was going on in there. It turned out that Otherworld was his roommate and they, along with Mermaid were smoking marijuana. I sat with them for a few minutes and then headed back to my trailer. The stars were incredible. I didn’t know what to look at- the images on the screen, or the stars overhead… There was a lot of energy in this place, and I felt a bit high, myself, even though I hadn’t taken any substances.
I lied down in my trailer bed, hoping that I would feel well enough to head into the Sierras with Weeds, IceBucket, and Drama tomorrow.


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