Altitude sickness?
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 2
I'm not sure I have enough food to make it the three days it will take to walk to the next
town, so I decided to walk 12 miles down the road that runs by the campsite, then
hitchhike to Warner Spring.

Walking on pavement was brutal.  My feet were so swollen I could hardly walk by the time I
got to the highway.  I was a little nervous about hitchhiking, but caught a ride right away.  I
rode the twenty miles to Warner Springs in the back of a minivan with no seats.  I slid from
side to side as we went around the curves, but I was glad for the ride.

I picked up a food package I had mailed myself at the post office, then walked to the
restaurant for lunch.  There were a lot of other hikers there, and we decided to get a room
at the resort next door.

Warner Springs Resort is located on a natural hot spring and has a huge pool to soak in.  
The hot water feels great on sore bodies, and I soaked for four hours and also found time
for a few beers and another good meal.  I liked all the folks I met, even though they made
fun of me for being from Iowa.

It was hard leaving the comfort of Warner Springs.  It was ten o'clock by the time I
showered and ate breakfast.

I had a good day on the trail.  Lots of pretty desert scenery and even a few shade trees.  I
carried too much water all day again, ending the day with three extra liters.  I'm still too
afraid of running out to carry less.

I am camping at the home of a trail angel named Mike tonight.  Mike isn't here, but he has
his porch stocked with food, water, chairs, and foot care products for hikers to use.  It's a
good stop in the middle of nowhere.

There are three other hikers here, but they are talking about video games, so I set up
camp in the yard.  It's getting late, and I can still hear them.  I hope they go to bed soon.
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My fellow travelers left about a half hour before I did, but I soon passed them on the trail.  
The Pacific Crest Trail has climbed high again and I've been fighting altitude sickness all
day.  I have a headache and dry cough that won't go away.  I'm also very thirsty , which
makes conserving precious water very difficult, especially on a hot day like today.

I encountered a large rattlesnake on the trail today.  I poked at it with my hiking pole and it
coiled up and began shaking its tail.  I snapped a picture.  I hope it turns out.  I'm pretty
sure the recommended procedure for dealing with a rattlesnake on the trail isn't poking it
with a stick, but it was neat.

By 12 miles into my day, my headache was killing me.  I decided to take a side trail into
the town of Anza for some cold drinks and relaxation.  I checked my maps and it looked
like about a five mile hike.

I walked and walked, but saw no sign of town.  Finally, I laid down for a nap under a small
tree.  I woke up an hour later and continued into the blistering sun.  Soon I was lost on a
maze of gravel roads that weren't on my map.

Finally I ran into some people on horseback who pointed me in the right direction.  The
five mile walk I had planned on turned into over ten, but I reached the Anza campground
where I had a cold Gatorade and a hot shower.  I still have a headache, but it's getting

Tomorrow, I'll hitchhike 20 miles to the town of Idlewylde to get around a twenty mile
stretch of trail that's closed due to a fire.
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I felt better this morning and it was time to get out of the Kamp Anzu RV Kampground.  I
walked five miles into town to pick up a package at the post office.  I then hitched fifteen
miles into Idyllwild to avoid the section of trail that was closed due to the fire.

I'm tired of freezing every night, so I bought a new sleeping bag today.  It's goose down
and cost a fortune, but it's super warm.  I'm sure I won't want to get up in the morning.

The trail out of Idyllwild led up and up.  I encountered snow for the first time.  Luckily, other
people have been through to leave a path, or I'd never find the trail.  I'm over 9,000 feet in
elevation now, and the views are to die for!  For the first time in the hike, I don't have to
worry about water.  There's snow everywhere and I cross a small stream every few miles.  
The trail is surrounded by giant pine trees, the biggest I've ever seen.  It's nice to be out of
the brutal desert sun.

The climbing is tough in the thin air, and I've had diarrhia all day.  This worries me for two
reasons.  One, I've never been sick on a trip before, and 2. I don't have much toilet paper
left.  I should make it to town tomorrow.  Hopefully, I can get something to calm my
stomach down if it's not better on its own.
I woke up this morning feeling sick, and I've been sick all day.  I spent most of the day
sleeping in the tent with a few trips to the bathroom.  I feel a little better tonight, so
hopefully I can get back on the road tomorrow.

It's been cold and windy all day.  Last night was uncomfortably cold, so I'm not looking
forward to tonight.  I didn't bring a lot of warm clothes, since it's supposed to be hot here.  I
should know from my Missouri River trip that you can't trust the weather, but I don't want to
carry stuff I won't use.
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