While I finished packing up, the others headed out to the trail. The guys held up their poles while Drama hummed Chariots of Fire and Weeds passed underneath, fulfilling her wish. I met them on the climb and took the lead. As the morning progressed, Ice Bucket and I would leapfrog each other with him passing me as I took breaks, and me catching back up to him as we climbed. Weeds and Drama had dropped back, as she wanted to take some time to meditate at the site of her stroke, and Drama wanted to remain close by to support her.
By 11:00, my stomach was already in pain. Ice Bucket took out his GPS and said that we still had 45 minutes of climbing before we made it to the top. I didn’t think it would take nearly that long and before I knew it, I was at the top of the mountain before! There were no scenic vistas- only rocks strewn about, so I headed down the other side, taking breaks when I needed them.
I continued to walk until I reached the intersecting path to a water source. So far, the Sierras did not have water all over the place like we had heard! We still had to carry liters of water at a time. A couple of hikers were napping at the base of some rocks. I dropped my pack and walked along the side trail until I found the little creek. Ice Bucket arrived as I was filtering my water. I found it strange that he wasn’t waiting for Weeds. He said that if they didn’t show up by the time he was done eating lunch, he would move on. Our little group was already breaking up. I found a large rock to sit on that was away from everyone else and decided to cook a hot meal. My stomach was having a very hard time with it. I tried lying down for a couple of minutes, but knew I had to keep moving.
Weeds and Drama still had not arrived and I wondered where they were.
I realized that I needed antibiotics and knew that I would have to start asking other hikers if they were carrying any. Usually, I would forget to ask when someone happened into my vicinity, however. I walked by Seeking, who was taking a break, and he asked if I was feeling any better. I wasn’t. He told me that he had suffered from giardia in Montana and the pain grew worse whenever he ate. He ended up not eating for 10 days and that solved the problem! I did not have the option to do that, however.
I walked alone for the rest of the afternoon until I found Ice Bucket taking a break. He was wondering where Weeds was and thought Drama was slowing her down. He thought she would likely stop where we were and had drawn an arrow in the dirt, leading to a path to water. He wanted to get in a few more miles, as did I, so we headed on. A faster hiker passed us and we asked him if he had seen Weeds or Drama. He didn’t know them by name, so we started describing them. He told us that he had seen a blond woman and a man wearing spandex shorts, walking slowly, that he didn’t want to be behind! We both thought that Drama had taken off his pants, for some reason, and was hiking in his new underwear that he had received in his resupply box at Kennedy Meadows! He told us the woman was planning on camping at the next water source (the one we had just left). We thanked him for the information and headed on. I took the lead and walked alone for the next couple of miles. When I was close to the next camping area off the PCT, I stopped and tried to figure out where exactly it was. Ice Bucket came up and said it was right here, so I followed him in. Two women had their tents set up, and as I walked by, I asked them if they happened to be carrying any antibiotics for giardia. They didn’t, but said there was another hiker camped down by the river that I could ask.
Ice Bucket and I found a quiet area and after I dropped my pack off, headed down to find the other hiker. It turned out to Walking Home. He was carrying a prescription for flagyl that he said I was welcome to take, but not the antibiotics themselves. I didn’t think the pharmacist would give me something prescribed to a man, so I thanked him and headed back to set up camp. Ice Bucket invited me over to his area for dinner, but I said my stomach really couldn’t handle dinner. He advised me to take the six mile side trail that would get me into Lone Pine tomorrow and see a doctor. I told him that our guidebook says that it is a nearly impossible hitch! I had sent my next resupply box to Lone Pine, which I had planned to get to from Kearsarge Pass in three or four days time. I really didn’t want to add an additional 12 miles to my journey and spend all that time trying to get a ride to town, sit around waiting for a doctor and then try to get back on the trail to do it all over again in a few days. My little group would be so far ahead by that point and then who would be around me for safety? I told him that I would see how I felt and decide tomorrow. I asked him when we needed to start worrying about setting up for the big Sierra passes and dangerous creek fords that I had heard so much about, and he said that he wasn’t worried about any of that. He planned on hiking 20 miles a day and that was that.
Since I didn’t photograph my food leaving Kennedy Meadows, I asked Ice Bucket if he could take a picture of me now with it. How do I have room for anything else in my pack?
I ate a couple of snacks, washed up, re-read my guidebook pages, and crawled into my sleeping bag to let my tummy rest for the night.