July 25, 2015
Clark Spring (1441.6) to Gold Creek (1463.2)
21.6 PCT miles today
1497.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,471 ft, – 3,241 ft
Well, the foot is not looking any better. And now we’re two days into a four day stretch of mileage with only enough food left for two more days. So for now there are no important decisions that need to be made. We’ll keep hiking until we get to town. We’re about 43 miles away from Castella, so two more 21ish mile days will do the trick. At this point all we can do is hope that those miles won’t somehow delay healing even more, or better yet, hope that healing is still yet to come and that I’ll be all back to normal by the time we get to Castella. Because if I’m not, it looks like at best we’re in for another zero, and at worst another trip to a doctor.
On a happier note, Pickles and I really, really like Northern California. It can get hot and exposed in sections, but the views are so relaxing, all rolling hills of green and majestic Mount Shasta stealing the show, and the further north we get, the less people we see. We’ve also had great weather, there are barely any bugs, and we still spot tons of wildlife every day. Today, for example, we watched two young deer eat breakfast in a meadow and this afternoon I nearly stepped on a huge snake that was fast asleep stretched out across the trail. Everything just feels a little more relaxed and mellow up here in NorCal.
When I wasn’t gazing out at the layers of green mountains, or practicing my Spanish, I was obsessing over the infection on my foot, trying to somehow channel a medical education that I never had. Why, oh why, isn’t it healing? Today was day 4 of antibiotics, and from everything I’ve read, it seems like most people see improvement in 2 to 3 days. Yes, I haven’t rested to the extent that was prescribed, but I haven’t raised my heart rate (we’re quite conditioned and taking it easy) and I’ve been off it for more hours than on.
I’ve babied this infection, too. While hiking, it gets triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, and leukotape which completely keeps out any germs. I soak it in ice water with Epsom salt twice a day and do a heat compress in the tent at night with boiling water. When I’m not hiking, the bandage is off so the wound can breathe, and my feet are elevated. And at night I layer on more “neosporin”, cover it with gauze, and wear a clean sock over that. I just cannot believe that if I were sitting around all day instead of hiking that things would be any different. If anything, it seems to me that the activity would help move the antibiotic through my body quicker. But obviously, I am not a doctor.
I should get culture results back in a couple days, and I guess it’s always possible that I need a different antibiotic, but both Pickles and I remember the doctor saying that she was giving me the same antibiotic that I’d get even if it was MRSA or if the infection had spread to bone. And MRSA doesn’t make sense since I have been as far away from hospitals and high school locker rooms as one could get (apparently this particular bacteria is passed on through skin-on-skin contact). So after hours of process of elimination, all I can think is that healing is in my future, and perhaps because of the cortisone in the same heel, it just might take a bit longer than for most.
This whole stopping early thing does have its perks. We’ve had tons of tent time these last two nights, which gives us both time to read and write to our heart’s content. We haven’t had 4G, which has given us an excuse to get absolutely nothing important done and to not waste hours watching a movie. Instead we have gotten to just lay back and enjoy our most favorite home that we’ve ever known, along with our favorite person, and one nasty-looking foot.