You just never know where a day will take you out here. You may remember I’ve been having some stomach issues, if I’m honest with myself I’ve known something has been off for a while. Possibly for a long while. I haven’t really developed the hiker hunger, sure on days I feel like I can eat anything and everything, but that’s actually been fairly infrequent. I’ve only gone into town having eaten all my food once, ONCE! In over 3 months! And I’ve had trouble eating a full meal in town sometimes. Isn’t that crazy? Who has ever heard of a thru-hiker that couldn’t eat a whole meal? I’m embarrassed to say I left fries on my plate in Pinedale. Anyway, since I haven’t had any other symptoms I just haven’t been thinking too much about it, other than the fact that I’ve lost quite a bit of weight. But yesterday and today when I had to dig a hole (I’ll spare you the gory details), I could tell something wasn’t right. Perhaps I’ve had guardia or something for a long time and it’s just now acting up? I know the body can get used to the parasite; when I lived in Africa for the Peace Corps I ended up getting guardia about 5 times, and the last time I had no other symptoms other than one sulfer burb…so time to take some action I thought.
I had a pleasent morning of walking through big open parks…we are in cow country again and they were everywhere. I ran into another flip-flopper, Cathy, who had received a warning the night before about the active grizzleys and wolves in the area, dude! I would not have thought this landscape was grizz and wolf territory, but I was super cautious to make lots of noise the rest of the day.
After lunch when I discovered all was not well with my bowl output, I reevaluated how I would get to the next highway and to my next town, Dubois, a 38 mile hitch from Togwotee Pass. If I did a 30 today and a 20 tomorrow I could make it to the pass, or I could check out some alternates. The Ley maps have a ton of alternates, and as I was trying to determine my options, an ATVer came along and suggested taking a road behind Fish Lake that would get me to the highway where I could hitch, he thought it was maybe 20ish miles from where we were, a lot less than the 35ish I would still have to go on the CDT, and if I walked roads I would have a chance of getting help from a car if I needed it.
The stomach was wierd. I would feel fine, and then have a pain, the feel fine, then not fine. I really didn’t eat much today, don’t have an appitite, something must be wrong! Thru-hikers need to eat! Thru-hikers want to eat!
Fortunately I had downloaded the area topo on my Trimble Navigator App, and was able to find a good route…there were quite a few ATVers out, and had a couple offers of rides, but I felt ok to walk, and if I hitched from out here it would be next to impossible to get back to connect my steps. I needed to get to the highway.
The walking was easy on the roads, and there was plenty of water. I walked and walked until I could see and hear the highway, I’m on a ledge overlooking a stunning valley, and will walk the last few miles to the road in the morning and then hitch into Dubois where I’ll go to their medical clinic.
I’ll have to come back to this spot and walk the highway up to where I can reconnect with trail tread, but as you all know, I’m no stranger to highway walking, it’s all part of embracing the brutality.