PA

The one with family

June 16

7.4 miles, 1288.9 overall (PA-NJ border, staying with family)
I sleep well, uninterrupted by the group nearby. They turn out to be respectful campers and I barely hear them as I get ready for bed and fall asleep. I have my alarm set for 5:20 to try to catch the sunrise, figuring with my eastward-facing view I should have a great front row seat for it from my tent. I end up not needing the alarm, waking up on my own just after 5. It turns out to be fortuitous because sunrise is right around 5:30 and from the vantage point of my tent the best colors turn out to be hidden by trees. I’m up just in time to get dressed and outside in time to catch a few pictures. By 6 I am gone, on my way to Delaware Water Gap (DWG). I only have a granola bar for breakfast because I figure I’ll get a better breakfast in town only 6 miles away.

The miles go by quickly. The ridge runner was partly right about the trail into DWG being easy. It is flat to downhill most of the way. However there are more rocks than he led me to believe. Still, it is an improvement over the last couple days and there is even a walk along an old forest road for part of the trail. It is along this piece of trail that I notice a trail to the right that seems to lead to a view. When I take it I find a campsite right next to the view. There is a large dome tent but there is also someone in a sleeping bag outside of the tent. I wonder what sequence of events would lead to this setup. Did the dome tent only hold 2 people and they had a group of 3? Did he get kicked out by his girlfriend for something he did wrong? Did he set up his tent and then decide he’d rather sleep outside of it? I never find out because I sneak up next to him, take a picture of the magnificent view down to the Delaware River, admire it for a minute, and then leave without ever waking up the cowboy camper.

On the way down into the gap I pass a staircase that seems to lead nowhere (or maybe to heaven?) as well as several groups of day hikers. They are all getting early starts since it is still before 8. A few times I have trouble finding the next part of the trail and have to resort to finding the southbounders’ blaze in order to find the path. I have found this extraordinarily useful in cases where I can’t see the next blaze and I’m either not sure I’m still on the trail or I can’t find the next part. If I’m not sure if I’m on the trail and there are no blazes in front of me, often there’s one behind me. If I can’t find where to go next, if there is a blaze behind me it will be pointed toward the next piece of trail such that southbounders will see it. These methods were used more than they should have been in Pennsylvania due to the rocky sections and a general lack of blazing in some stretches.

Since I’m about to leave Pennsylvania I think about the best and worst parts. In the “worst” list I put the rocks (obviously), Duncannon, the shelters which were drastically hit or miss, and the blazes. For some reason the borders of Pennsylvania game lands are marked by large white blotches on trees that look incredibly similar to AT blazes. The trail follows the borders of these lands often enough that it is incredibly annoying. Worse is the fact that there isn’t a clear warning about this. I got through half of Pennsylvania and had followed several of these blotches thinking they were just bad blazes before I noticed a sign that warned hikers not to follow them. Get your act together Pennsylvania. In the “best” category I put Boiling Springs, Palmerton and the climb out of it, the half gallon challenge (despite my poor showing), and the Peanut Shop in Port Clinton. I also put the first part of Pennsylvania where there were beautiful shelters and smooth trails, even though now I know that those were only there to lull us into a false sense of enjoyment.

As I walk into town I get a great vibe. I’ve already been told that it is a nice town but for some reason it feels welcoming on the way in. I find the point where the trail turns right to head out of town and I go left. I have breakfast to get and a mail drop to pick up. First I tackle breakfast. I head to a diner just past the outfitter where I find Squidword and Dora finishing up their own meal. I sit with them while they finish up and I order an omelette with bacon and toast. They are waiting for Fresh and Wonder to get back from visiting a friend. Fresh, Wonder, and Dora have all been zeroing here waiting for Squidword to catch up.They leave just after my food arrives and I finish it by myself. As I’m leaving I see Tipsy and Fetch arrive.

On the way out of the diner I stop at the market/bakery next door to peruse the selection. I end up leaving with a donut and a coffee. Next stop is the outfitter but they don’t open until 10. It is 9:30. I sit on the porch to wait. A very friendly cat and dog keep me company until the store opens a few minutes early. I pick up some Aquamira and stove fuel but they don’t have my mail drop. He suggests I try the post office. I walk the 2 minutes back to the post office and soon I have my mail drop.

In order to sort through the mail drop and to charge my phone I head to the hostel at the church down the street. Inside I find Dora still waiting for Fresh and Wonder to get back. I put a few bucks into the donation box to be a good hiker citizen, then hook up my almost dead phone to charge while I sort through my mail drop and hang out with the other hikers.

I’m supposed to meet Christy’s cousin Annie at 11 across the river a mile away. At 10:40 I realize I need to get moving. I say some quick goodbyes and head back to the trail for the last mile. It takes me across the Delaware River and into New Jersey. Goodbye Pennsylvania and your vicious torture devices! If there is a sign for the border crossing I miss it in my rush to get to the meeting point on time.

On the other side I find the visitor center and as I’m walking through the parking lot Annie spots me first. She just arrived with kids (Natalie and Tobias) in tow. We take a quick walk around because Natalie wants to walk, then hop in the car for the ride to their house.

At the house Natalie shows me around, informing me which pillows belong to which family members, showing me her toys, and “playing piano” for me which consists of tapping her fingers on the toy shelf. We order some Schawarma (spelling?) for lunch before I get a shower and start laundry. Then we hang out for a while before dinner. A few times Annie leaves me alone with the kids for about 5 minutes. Generally I don’t mind this, but for some reason today each time she leaves us Tobias, only 3 months old at his point, goes ballistic. Each time I am unsuccessful at calming him down and Annie returns to find a screaming baby. By evening it has become a joke to us.

Dinner is at a local brewery where I have a delicious coffee porter with a guacamole, bacon, and blue cheese burger and fries. Afterward we go to an ice cream shop where I get a cone of banana pudding ice cream. Then we head home and I spend the evening looking for some new music and downloading audiobooks to my phone. I figure as I slow down in New England it would be a good time to also “read” some old classics that I’ve never gotten around to tackling like The Count of Monte Cristo. By 9:30 I am falling asleep after a great half day off from the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: NJ, PA | 4 Comments

My change of pace

June 15

14.1 miles, 1281.5 overall (Campsite just past Kirkridge shelter)
Morning arrives and I wake up, as normal, before 7. Blasted circadian rhythms. I can hear people starting to move in the shelter. Those are the people planning to push to Delaware Water Gap today. I have decided not to do that. They’re going to do around 20 miles but I’ll only do 14. As a result I can sleep in. I roll over and force myself back to sleep.

It doesn’t last long. I need to pee and I’m hungry. I get out of my tent, empty the bladder, and retrieve my food bag. Then I return to my tent to eat my breakfast. With all of my internal organs satisfied I get back in my sleeping bag and sleep another hour. At 9 I reluctantly decide I should get moving but I still take my time doing it.

Around 10:30 I finally leave camp. I am the absolute last person here. The section hikers and even the people who were camping at the tent sites are gone. It is strange being the last out – I feel like I should have to turn off the lights or something.

I know from Mouse’s trail journal that the next 10 miles or so are still rocky. I don’t look forward to them. I decide since it is a short day and I’m already taking my time that I should listen to some music. I download a few NPR podcasts of All Songs Considered and listen to them as I walk. I find this show hit-or-miss but today I’m lucky and get a few good ones. They somewhat take my mind off of what is probably the most consistently rocky trail yet in Pennsylvania. Each time I think the rocks may relent for a while I turn a corner and there’s another patch of them. It is demoralizing and incredibly tiring, both mentally and physically. The side-to-side stepping that the rocks require and the constant catching yourself when a foot placement doesn’t work the way you expected works the hip flexors and stabilizer muscles. Constantly looking down and figuring out where to place your next step is at the same time boring, monotonous, tedious, frustrating, and exhausting.

I don’t see any thru-hikers today. The ones that stayed at the shelter with me are far ahead and the ones at the shelter behind me started almost 17 miles back so they aren’t likely to catch up, even with my late start. I do run into a ridge runner preparing for a few days out when I cross the road at Wind Gap. His name is Devo and he thru-hiked in 2010. It seems like every ridge runner I talk to is a former thru-hiker. I imagine it is a popular job for successful thru-hikers to apply for and I’m sure thru-hiking reads as a great qualification. He is heading to the same shelter I’m heading to.

As I hike the last several miles I switch from podcasts to music, listening to some new stuff that Mouse recommended. Some of it is really good and I make a note to let her know while also passing along to her some new stuff that I’ve found. I see several deer while hiking and even get a long-desired picture of a chipmunk. Usually the little buggers run away and duck into something before I can get the camera out but today one of them is braver than usual, sitting out and watching me for a little bit before deciding to duck under some rocks. However even after ducking into his hiding place he peaks out periodically in a daring game of peek-a-boo and I’m able to snap a few pictures before he decides to stay inside for good.

When I make it to the shelter I fill up on water but I don’t see any tent sites. There is a campsite with a view only a quarter mile further so I hike the extra 5 minutes to it. When I arrive I wonder if I’ve made the right choice as I see a non-thru-hiker already there. The campsite however is a large clearing with a stunning panorama of the valley below and I figure we can easily coexist with all this space. As I talk to him though I find out he won’t be a problem. His name is Mike and he is actually an interesting guy. He lives nearby and gets out on overnight hikes pretty regularly. He is trying to make a living as a musician and when I ask what he plays I find out he is essentially a John Denver tribute artist. He has a guitar with him and he plays some pretty good picking while I start eating dinner number one.

While I’m eating and we’re talking a group of weekend hikers arrives. These aren’t typical weekend hikers though. In addition to their backpacks they are carrying a stack of cups, coolers, folding chairs, etc. This is what happens when you’re less than a half mile from a road I suppose. I should have learned this lesson in the Shenandoahs. However I hold out hope that these guys won’t be too noisy or rowdy. It is still a big clearing and they set up camp pretty far from my tent. Mike isn’t as hopeful though and he ends up hiking back down to the road where his car is waiting.

I finish up my dinner, hang my bear bag, and commence with bedtime preparations. By 9 I am in my tent ready to sleep. The group is still tame and I am glad I chose to stay. I have the rainfly only halfway on the tent, allowing for a great view into the valley to the east which should make for a perfect view of the sunrise tomorrow when I wake up on the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: PA | 5 Comments

The one with a detour

June 14

15.6 miles, 1267.4 overall (Leroy A Smith shelter)
Despite getting to bed late I still wake up at 6:30. Lime Green is up and packing. As he heads out to get breakfast at the diner he asks if I want to come along. I don’t. I stay and sleep for another hour before I finally get moving. By then he has already left, attempting to do 21 miles to Wind Gap today. I have no such aspirations.

Since I didn’t get to take a shower last night I take one this morning in the gym upstairs. I pack most of my stuff and then take my laundry with me across the street. I figure I’ll run my laundry while I get breakfast at the diner, then head to the store for a couple items before leaving town, but the lack of laundry detergent in the dispenser at the laundromat foils my plan. Instead I head to the grocery store first where I’m forced to buy enough detergent for 15 loads. I also pick up some pepperoni, cheese, and a fruit drink.

I return to the laundromat and start my laundry, leaving the detergent out for any lucky patrons who arrive after me. Then I head next door for a breakfast of French toast, bacon, a western omelet, toast, and coffee. When I’m done I could still eat but I figure I’ve had enough. Back to the laundromat for 20 minutes of clothes drying and I’m ready to head out of town.

I don’t like to ask for rides so I don’t bother. Instead I just head for the side trail. On the way I stop at a gas station for a couple extra snacks and a soda. When I leave I don’t get far before a truck pulls over and offers a ride back to the trail. It must be my lucky day! I throw my stuff in the back and hop in next to the driver and his rifles. Apparently he grows soybeans and he has a groundhog problem. He says one groundhog can destroy an acre of soybeans, so he’d rather shoot the little buggers. Works for me. As far as I can tell they aren’t even good at weather prognostications.

I know the first part of the trail today is going to be tough. Tipsy had said she read it was the worst climb until New Hampshire. What I didn’t know was what that meant. It meant an actual CLIMB. Coming out of Palmerton the trail essentially goes straight up over a rock slide of everything from small pebbles to large boulders, but mostly large boulders which I am forced to climb hand over foot. There are 2 nice things about this though. First, it is something different. I appreciate the change of pace and the break from the normal Pennsylvanian ankle-twisting rocks (I now call these Pennsylvanian hiker torture devices). Second, there is hardly any vegetation on this rock slide so the views are magnificent. Looking back I can see the Lehigh River with an airport landing strip nearby that, from the ridge, it looks like we are directly on the approach to. I can also see Palmerton in the distance. Above me vultures circle, both black and turkey vultures. One flies straight at me and comes within about 15 feet of me before turning away. With the climb being so difficult I wonder if they know something I don’t about my prospects for completing it alive. Have other hikers not fared well here?

As I’m taking a break watching the vultures circle I hear “Hey Nitrous!” and when I turn around I see Squidword. He had left the trail last weekend to attend his own wedding obligation but I thought he would get back on ahead of me. Turns out I was wrong. My trip into Palmerton gave him the chance to catch up. He has already done 7 miles today and is heading for the same shelter as I am. We hike together for a while talking about weddings, music, the trail, etc. At the top of the climb we turn and hike along the Superfund detour set up to route the trail around a Superfund site created by a zinc smelter. The detour is actually quite scenic, taking us right along the edge of the ridge with views down to Palmerton, and the best part is it has very few rocks!

Eventually Squidword slows down and I pull ahead, leaving him behind me for the rest of the day. The rest of the trail is uneventful and incredibly boring with lots of rocks, just what I’ve come to expect out of Pennsylvania. The highlight is when I come upon a cooler of bottled water left by Knitting Bull for hikers. Although I have enough to get me to the shelter I take advantage of the situation and do as the doctor ordered by taking a break and drinking a full bottle before moving on.

The shelter is a bit of a dump. When I arrive there is a large group already occupying the tenting area and there are 2 section hikers – a father and daughter – in the shelter. However I find a nice spot to set up my tent near the shelter and the water is an easy get from a spring just a minute’s walk down the trail. As I’m working on dinner Squidword and Billy Jack arrive. I’ve been seeing Billy Jack for a while now but didn’t know his name until I ask Squidword.

The plan for tomorrow had been to get to Delaware Water Gap. However one of Christy’s cousins lives nearby and kindly offered me a night at their place. She can’t pick me up tomorrow so instead of doing the 20 miles to DWG I’ll do a very short 13 tomorrow, leaving me only 7 or so to do the next day before she picks me up at 11. I don’t like the idea of staying in my least favorite state so far for another day, but this plan does have its advantages. Obviously staying in a house, getting clean, and eating good food is one. It also forces me to slow down a bit from the 20+ mile days I had been doing. I want to take my time a little bit in New England so this will be great practice at putting a stop to the miles impetus. Finally it allows me to immediately eat more food. I hadn’t planned on stopping into Palmerton so I wound up with an extra dinner and breakfast. By taking an extra day I get to eat them, allowing me to comfortably walk into town with an empty food bag – every hiker’s objective. So tomorrow I will camp short of DWG and the next day I’ll cross one more state line on my trip north on the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: PA | 3 Comments

My checkup

June 13

17.9 miles, 1251.8 overall (The Jailhouse, Palmerton, PA)
When I wake up I still feel fine. It sounds as if the rain has stopped and when I check the weather report it looks as if it has all passed. I reluctantly get up and start packing. The worst part is even if I had wanted to sleep longer I don’t think I could have. Apparently my body has adapted to this waking up early routine. By 8 I have packed, eaten breakfast, and am leaving the shelter.

The Myakka Mules and Tipsy and Fetch left ahead of me. The Mules are meeting a Florida ATC member in 4 miles who is going to give them a place to stay for the night. I leapfrog with Tipsy and Fetch for a bit until I pull ahead as we get into the rocks. Although I am not terribly concerned about passing out while hiking it is nice to know they are behind me.

As I’m hiking I am constantly looking at my feet due to the insane amount of rocks. I worry that Pennsylvania will ruin future states for me by making it a habit to look a my feet instead of looking around me. However it is because I’m looking down that I notice my first copperhead. He is laying on the side of the trail next to a rather large black snake. I notice him in plenty of time and keep my distance until he decides to slither under a large rock which I assume is his home. I consider waiting for Tipsy and Fetch to catch up so I can warn them but I don’t want to wait. Instead I pull out a piece of paper and write a warning which I leave on the trail with a rock holding it in place. I hate doing this because I’m sure the note will sit there until a trail maintainer comes and finds it, but I’d feel terrible if anybody got bit by the snake.

The big feature today is the Knife’s Edge and it looks exactly how it sounds. It is a formation of rock that has moved such that the striations are vertical instead of horizontal, creating a sharp ridge that the trail feels the need to route us across. It is like Dragon’s Tooth only the ridges are continuous instead of jagged and the trail goes across them. I am thankful I am not crossing it in the rain. Even in dry conditions I need to get on all fours or slide down on my rear end at several points to get across safely. Despite the difficulty the area does provide a great view of the land below and I stop to eat a snack while on a somewhat less treacherous part of the traverse.

A few miles later I reach another good viewpoint called Bake Oven Knob. This area is obviously a day-hiker favorite with a parking lot at the bottom of the climb and graffiti all over the rocks. At the top I’m treated to a view similar to that of the Knife’s Edge, but there is one view on either side of the ridge. Several day-hikers are there and one asks if I’m thru-hiking. When I answer yes the normal questions begin – when did you start, how long do you have left, do you carry a gun, etc. As I’m talking to him a hiker from another group realizes they are standing extremely close to a snake. They move away but nobody in the group can identify the snake. When I take a look I see a large copperhead sunning himself by a rock. I went 1200 miles without seeing a copperhead and now I see 2 in one day.

I move on to the next shelter where I stop for lunch. Tipsy and Fetch catch up and I find out that the first copperhead did re-emerge before they arrived bit that they saw my note and noticed it in time. I spend longer than I should eating and talking with them but I’m not excited about the hike into town or the hospital visit. Eventually I get moving again and cover the remaining 8 miles to the road crossing.

When I get there I find a parking lot with a car leaving. I hope for a ride into town so I don’t have to take the 1.5 mile side trail. The car rolls down a window and I think it’s my lucky day when they ask if I need anything but when I ask if they’re heading into Palmerton they say no and don’t offer to go out of their way. It appears I’ll be hiking in on the side trail.

A few minutes later I reach the side trail and start in toward town. A half mile in though I find a cement car barrier and then a locked fence with no way around it. I backtrack thinking I must have missed a turn but I’m in the right place. I call Christy but she can’t figure it out either. I am getting extremely irritated and it is already 5:00 meaning I already won’t be able to make the most of the town visit. At this point I’d rather push on and camp, skipping the town and the hospital. Eventually I think to check online for updates to the data book and when I do I find directions around the locked gate that include bush whacking and hiking on the side of a highway for a short period. It works, but now I am already primed to hate this town.

When I arrive things start to look up. The town is quite cute and I quickly find the town hall where the free hostel is located. It is past 4:00 so I know from the data book that I need to check in at the police station, but both the hostel and the police station are locked. Just my luck. Across the street I see Lime Green and catch up with him. He has also found the police station locked but hasn’t tried the town hall yet. I go with him and we start trying all the doors on the building. Eventually we find one that is open and are able to get in. We find the hostel downstairs as the book describes and call a phone number we find on the wall to get a police officer to come check us in. Apparently we both missed the buzzer on the wall outside the police station that we were supposed to push for assistance.

Now that we are checked in we tackle food. Across the street is a promising looking diner so we stop in. The waitress is pleasant and I soon have chicken parmesan and spaghetti in my belly. Now it is 6:30. Time to head to the hospital and get checked out.

At the ER I get out into the triage queue. At first I think it will be quick because there aren’t many in the waiting room. I’m wrong. I wait about 2 hours before I see the doctor and another 2 before the tests are done and I’m dismissed. An EKG and blood work are ordered. When I get the EKG the nurse says it is the best one she has seen all day. I ask and apparently the number today was >10. The final verdict is I need to drink more water. I find this funny because on the way into the hospital I was thirsty but refrained from drinking because I needed to pee and I didn’t pee because I thought I might need to fill a cup. I assume the blood work reflects this choice more than it reflects the amount of water I drank while hiking yesterday. Still, drinking more water while hiking is never bad advice and now I know there’s nothing wrong with the ticker. My hypothesis is that my blood sugar dropped due to too much chocolate during the day, possibly combined with breathing fumes from my stove.

At 11:00 I finally get to bed. It is late but now I know there isn’t anything seriously wrong with me. Tomorrow I plan a short 16 miles to the next shelter so I can take my time in town in the morning. Hopefully things will go better in this town tomorrow before I leave to get back on the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: PA | 3 Comments

The consciousness cruciality

June 12

22.2 miles, 1233.9 overall (Allentown Hiking Club shelter)
When I wake up it is indeed raining, though it is only a sprinkle. I am hopeful that it stays that way all day. It is 6:00 already and by the time I get packed up it is 6:30. If I went to the restaurant for breakfast I wouldn’t get started until 7:30 or maybe even 8. I decide I don’t need a town breakfast so soon after returning to the trail and settle for my usual bagel and peanut butter. As I eat it Lime Green and Austin return, separately, from the restaurant. If I had gotten up earlier I could have joined one of them. Oh well.

As I leave the pavilion I realize that I have no rain gear on. I stop to put on my pack cover. I debate with myself whether a rain jacket is worth wearing today. For now I decide it is. The rain is light, the temperature is cool, and I am walking on level ground. This means I am not likely to sweat much, the main reason not to wear a rain jacket.

The trail takes me out of town and immediately up a hill. I walk slowly to avoid overheating and thus avoid sweating. Despite my slow pace I soon catch Unbreakable and No Trace, a pair of older hikers who have apparently already hiked the PCT.

The trail is quite bipolar today. In some areas it is incredibly easy to walk, following forest roads that although flooded by the water are level and rock-free. In other places it is covered by large rocks made slick by the rain. Usually I can dance over the rocks fairly quickly but with the rain my speed is dramatically reduced. My hip flexors, not being used to stepping sideways so much, get quite the workout.

The rain does not stay a light sprinkle for long. At some points it rains quite heavily – not the downpours that I walked through in Shenandoah but heavy nonetheless. However today my attitude is much better in response. I am determined to get some good miles in, figuring that there’s no point in getting wet and only doing a few miles. I have my eyes set on the third shelter out of Port Clinton.

One fortunate aspect of the rain is the chance to test my new footwear. I had been getting blisters at the point where my insole and shoe meet on the back of my heel, especially when it rained. This time I get none. Part of the solution may be the Superfeet (I got the brown/copper ones) but part of it is also my socks. I have been trying different socks since Georgia and I’ve finally settled on the best ones. I found them by accident. When I left for Georgia I accidentally grabbed a pair of Christy’s REI merino wool socks – women’s small. Turns out these are the best socks for me. Ever since Georgia if I wear those socks my feet don’t get blisters and if they already have blisters they feel better with these socks on. When I was home I picked up 2 more pair. I considered getting men’s socks but why mess with what works?

I don’t see any other hikers after I pass Unbreakable and No Trace. When I finally arrive at the shelter I find the Myakka Mules and Tipsy and Fetch along with some section hikers and a thru-hiker I can’t recognize because he is already in his sleeping bag. Although it is raining I decide to tent. The shelter is looking pretty full and it looks like it will rain into the morning. If it is raining in the morning I have already decided I will not be hiking. I get my tent set up, throw a line for my bear bag, and fetch water from the spring.

I head to the shelter to cook dinner. Although I like to sleep in my tent I still enjoy the company of other hikers. I set up to cook on a counter built into the outside of the shelter and while I cook I talk to Tipsy and Fetch, two hikers I met about a week ago but didn’t get much chance to talk to. They are an interesting pair from Cincinnatti and they learned about the AT from a documentary. At first they joked about thru-hiking but at some point the jokes became serious and now here they are.

As I’m talking to Tipsy I start to feel nauseous. Since I started hiking I sometimes feel nauseous when I’m hungry, but this time it is more intense to the point where I actually feel like I might throw up. I wonder if I’m getting sick with something. I put my arms on the counter and my head in my arms…. and I wake up on the ground.

Apparently I passed out. The other hikers help me up and tell me I was out for about 5-10 seconds. I immediately feel fine again – even the nausea is gone – and my first thought is to check my dinner before it burns in the pot. My close second thought is how dirty I got having fallen on the wet ground. I drink some water and eat my dinner, which by now is done, while we ponder what might have caused my syncope (Scrabble word!).

It was not heat exhaustion. I was actually cold and shivering while cooking and was certainly not hot all day. I drank lots of water all day and used a drink mix for electrolytes. In fact I stopped for several bathroom breaks while hiking so dehydration is unlikely. Eventually I reach the conclusion that it was one of 3 things: low blood sugar (although I was snacking, I had more candy today thanks to the Peanut Shop), fumes from my stove (not a problem in the past, but I don’t usually cook with my stove right by my face), or a heart problem.

In order to rule out a heart problem I’ll have to go to a hospital. Luckily there is one in the next town which I can get to tomorrow. If the rain stops tonight I’ll hike to the town. If not then the checkup may have to wait another day. Either way, I don’t expect to find anything. My ticker has always been healthy before and it should only be better now. Stove fumes and low blood sugar won’t be detectable by the time I get to a hospital. So, assuming nothing is found at the hospital, my game plan is fewer sweets that can cause my blood sugar to crash, constant snacks to keep it up, and keeping my stove away from my face. We’ll find out how adequate this plan is when I get to Palmerton on the Appalachian Trail.

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Categories: PA | 6 Comments

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