Friday, July 22, 2016

Santa Cruz, four days later

Hello all. It's been a tumultuous last few days, filled with frustration, confusion, sadness and eventually, relief. 

Frustration because of my inability to walk without pain, confusion because I don't really know how to effectively change the situation, sadness because once again I've had to pull off the trail due to injury. I never seem to get this long distance thing right. 

So what have I done? Two chiropractic appointments, MD appointment, X-rays to rule out stress fracture, deep tissue massage and now muscle relaxers to try and loosen up my bound hip. 💰💰💰The good news in all of this is that my bones, hip and lumbar spine are fine, no trouble there. There seems to be consensus that my IT band, if involved, is secondary to the problem. It looks like the muscles surrounding my hip are just spasmodic and don't want to release their grip. 

So what to do? Take muscle relaxers, stretch and apply heat/ice. Hope for the best. Walk as I'm able but on even surfaces without any difficult up/down stuff. Try to loosen up my hips and back. Hope for the best. But, it looks like I won't be back on the trail any time soon. 😟

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Santa Cruz

My friends came through again. Last night I made arrangements with Kat, one of my land mates, for her to drive to Chico and pick me up and take me home. She left home at 5:30ish and got to Chico before 10, throwing my pack in her car and turning around to head home. We stopped for lunch, and still made it home before 3 and afternoon traffic. 

It is amazing to me that yesterday morning I woke up in the wilderness and this afternoon I'm laying in my own bed with my knees up, ice on my hip and a cat on my lap. 

Yesterday I was worried and afraid of what would happen, about how I would get home, and today, by the kindness and goodwill of people, some I didn't even know, I am home safe and sound. I am reminded that most people are kind and generous and that our televisions and/or the media at large make us suspicious and afraid of one another. It doesn't have to be this way. 

Injury Update. I slept wonderfully last night, though when I woke up I was still in pain on putting weight on my leg, but the pain was less acute. And if I placed my weight correctly no shooting pain. So I've been walking very slowly and deliberately.  One of the things I was reminded of last night was to make sure I took the ibuprofen every four hours without fail. (I was being haphazard about taking them) By this afternoon I think they are definitely helping as I'm able to walk (slowly) without major discomfort. Plus the icing and cat😜

This morning I texted my friend Lorna to tell her about my situation. She had planned to meet me in South Lake Tahoe and finish out the last two weeks with me. I was really afraid she had already purchased her plane ticket from Washington but I was pleased, and greatly relieved, to find she hadn't yet bought the ticket. That takes some of the pressure off me to hurry along this treatment. I don't want to be done for the season but I imagine I want to be completely relieved of sx before I get back bout there. 
Last years fun. The morning after the rains. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 18 - Chico

What a drag. My leg didn't get better over night, in fact it got worse. I managed to break camp using my sticks as support but when I got ready to walk down to where the water is I realized I did't want to put my pack on and walk on such uneven terrain. Every step is made carefully and if I don't step just right I get shooting pain in my hip. 

Ken, the nice guy with the sat phone, texted Pipers Mom to see about getting some assistance but she is too far away from my location. She gave me another number to call of someone named Casey who is near Belden, which is closer to my location, I think. Ken sent a text to him but when he and his two sons left Cold Springs for parts south, he hadn't received a message back. So I am sitting/standing on the road in the hopes that Casey will come by, or any other human being in a vehicle so I can get a ride to a town somewhere. It's clear I can't walk far with a pack on. 
Around 9:30am a truck drove up that turned out to be four wonderful folks from the Forest Service. They apologized that they couldn't give me a ride (liability issues) but tried to call a Ranger to come and get me to transport me to to Chester. The official on the phone said they would only send an ambulance so I declined. The FS driver was wonderful and said if I still needed a ride after work she'd come back up in her own vehicle and bring me to town. Very kind. So it seems as though I won't be stuck up here for ever. 
Amazingly enough by about 10:30 two vehicles drove up and I flagged them down. To make a very long story short the kind folks driving a camper drove me to Chico, where they were going anyway, along their way to Sacramento to visit family. They had been up in the high country fishing and camping for a week. So they dropped me off at yet another Best Western where I got a room for the night. Now all I have to do is get home. 

Day 17 - Cold Springs

OMG. The Night of the Marauding Deer. Right after dusk last night the salt starved deer came a'calling. Shooing them didn't do much good and all the hikers in camp had to put up tents to keep the deer off of them and their stuff. I, of course, don't have a tent so I was on high alert all night. I had stashed all my gear directly underneath my hammock so a deer would have to come right up to me to grab anything, and I had tucked everything inside my pack I thought would be enticing. I guess I looked like a tent to the deer as they stayed a safe distance away. That didn't stop me from not sleeping though😨
They don't stand still for photographs. 

So that was last night. Today was a horse of a different color. Even though I didn't sleep well last night I still got on the trail at 6:45 (I ignored my alarm). Everything was going along fine. Climbing, dropping down, helloing nobo's. I snacked around 10:30 and got right back on the trail. Around noon I was completing a steep section when my hip started to act up. I took another break at the top but wasn't hungry so I just propped up my legs hoping that would help. After a bit I saddled up and was just about to start walking again when I had a very sudden need to go to the bathroom. And I mean sudden. In fact I didn't make it in time. WHAT? TMI I know but this was a first for me. Fortunately I had another pair of pants I could put on, my sleeping shorts. 

So that was noon. Every half hour, for the next couple of hours, I had to stop and dig a hole, pronto. As if this wasn't quite enough difficulty my right hip and leg became increasingly painful and by the time I covered the last 6 miles into camp I  was leaning on my sticks with each step. Sharp pain with each step. I've never experienced anything quite like this, especially 20 miles from a town. I've set up camp now and taken another 800 mg of Ibuprofen so we will see what happens over night. If it still hurts this bad there is no way I'll be able to walk 10 miles tomorrow, with or without a pack. That being half the distance needed to get to Belden the day after. Help!

My mind is racing of course to try and make a plan. Could I just walk 7-8 miles for three days? I would run out of food on the third day from now but I could conserve. 

How about getting a ride back to town? This spring is right on a road. That would be less painful, assuming I could get a ride. There is no phone reception here but a guy who is hiking with his kids has offered to let me use his sat phone with texting capacity. I could text Pipers Mom and ask for help... I hate that idea😡 

As I got to this spring late in the day I started hobbling up to where the campsites are and along behind me came a thru who cut me off and took the spot I was aiming for. Granted he got there first but it seemed a bit tacky to me, considering that it was pretty clear I wasn't moving very well. As it turns out my site is better for me, just farther from the water. And as its farther out, no one can see me when I'm doing my Festus imitation. 

The clouds came in this afternoon and I decided to put up the tarp before bed, just in case. I would have hated to do it in a hurry, in the rain, given the state I'm in. 

Here's a couple of images from the day while I was still feeling well. 

The last of Lassen in my rear view mirror. 

This is a new one for me. Anyone know what it is?

Oh, and I think this is the name of a bird I saw this morning. My iBird West app is great!