PCT: So close to Old Station…but so far away

PCT belly blues

Well…The vans drive shaft is now repaired but I’m a bit sick. Unbelievable. I had a week to be leisurely sick while the van was being repaired and I’m lucky enough to get sick right about the time we’d be returning to trail.

I’d been feeling a bit of stomach discomfort for a few days but chalked it up to food issues. Yesterday I woke up very early and promptly barfed and did the diarrhea mambo. Sigh. A pounding headache made a nice addition for a sick day trifecta.

If I was at home I’d take a day off work and not worry about it at all. Seemed like a stomach bug.

Being on the edge of civilization and returning the back country has us a little nervous if I’m not feeling well. Giardia has hit a few people on the trail and the results weren’t ideal for them with one week to two weeks off trail waiting for the diarrhea to cease and desist. Giardia has a two or three week incubation time so it’s possible I was contaminated before I left Kennedy Meadows.

Into urgent care we went and out I came several hours later with a few prescriptions and a poop kit.

PCT belly blues

Stool sample kit

Fill ’em up and bring them back for lab tests…but I was pretty dang empty at both ends. I worked my way through broth, jello, Gatorade and a banana. No 💩. The two smaller vials had tiny spoons built into the lids. (Don’t people who snort cocaine use small spoons? This could be a multi use container! Just saying….)

I woke today, ate a lite breakfast and a lite lunch. I managed to marginally produce the required deposit with an hour to spare before the lab closed.

We headed back to the lab and deposited my deposits.

PCT belly blues

Dropping off a load

I could be holding up a hamburger in that bag for all you know!

Truthfully the whole package was a bit pungent and we were happy to unload it on a rather displeased receptionist. She was asking if the vials had my name on them and I had no idea. She handed the bag back to me (like it full of shit) and requested that I verify my name on each. I verified and quickly handed the bag back…just like it was full of shit.

We picked up the prescriptions and headed back to the hotel. The doctor and I agreed that I’d take the meds if the lab results indicate that I have giardia. It will take several days to obtain the lab results so I’m thinking of just taking the prescriptions without waiting for the results. (I know! I do live dangerously!)

I bounced my idea off the pharmacist and they told me it wasn’t a big deal to take the meds even if I don’t have giardia. If I’m still feeling a bit “brown” tomorrow I’ll start with the meds.

I took a long hot shower and went to work on my toe calluses with my new pumice stone…and then I noticed this:

[wpvideo rS4EOIkN ]

It doesn’t hurt, but I’m not heading back on the trail with it like this. I’ll see if it detaches on its own tonight and if it’s still there in the morning I’ll take another look at removing it. It’s only hanging on by a tiny bit of skin but I don’t want to pull it off unless I must.

(I lost the same toenail on the other foot earlier this week but didn’t notice it until it was gone.)

In any case, we’re heading back to the trail tomorrow. If I feel good the day after that I’ll start hiking.

Honestly, we’ve seen many hikers return to the trail too quickly after an illness and end up coming right back off the trail to continue their recovery off trail.

I’m anxious to get back on the trail but trying to be relaxed about it. It’ll happen when it happens.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with this little ditty.

Quick and dirty


  1. Pamela Meyer

    I love reading your posts! My nephew Topo is on the trail thru hiking. He’s at #1160 or so near Truckee and holding up as he’s young and durable! Today’s post took me down poop memory lane to the day I had my sample stolen. It was in my car, the window was open and my, “presumed to be someone’s lunch’ bag was missing on my return!
    Enjoy your journey with safe travel, and a sturdy van, and keep posting and entertaining us. Pam

    • mcgarveysan

      Now that’s too funny! I couldn’t help but think of Veep and all of Selina’s quotes about shit biscuits.


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