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Day 89: Deliberate Rest

Posted by on August 5, 2015

July 28, 2015
Castle Crags State Park (1509.1)
0 PCT miles today
1546.0 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 0 ft, – 0 ft

I have spent the entire day laying in my tent, elevating my foot and simultaneously trying to relax and rest and somehow still be productive. The struggle has been real. Apparently, and this is not news to those of you who know me, I don’t do very well at being off my feet. But today was actually a nice little break and it served its purpose well, and after a good night of sleep we’ll be back on the trail, right where we belong.

I got so caught up celebrating Pickles’ birthday in last night’s blog that I completely failed to talk about our day. In short, it was a beautiful hike with views of Mount Shasta and Castle Crags in front of us the entire day. We had bluebird skies and actually stayed cool all the way into the afternoon, never even requiring sunscreen or a hat, which was a nice change. At lunch I asked Pickles to take a short walk and prepared for him a “hiker” birthday cake consisting of tortilla with nutella and some “Happy Birthday” sugar decor. I sang to him and he blew out fake candles and everything. Then he got to “open” his gifts by pulling them out of a stuff sack one at a time. He got a cat collar which will be for our future kitten, Mr. Pickles, whom we think about often on the trail, Haribo Coca-Cola gummies (one of his all-time favorite candies), some Flinstone vitamins (which he has craved more than once out here), and a Snickers bar from our ration that I had managed to hide from him. It was a fun little birthday celebration, but what we both really wanted was to get to our campsite at Castle Crags State Park and settle in for a relaxing afternoon.

Unfortunately, the “spur trail” from the PCT down to the campground was significantly longer and steeper than we’d anticipated, and by the time we got down it we were pretty wiped out. We set up camp, went to the nearby convenience store for snacks and to pick up our ration box, and then came back to the campground and took showers. We chatted with our new friends Songbird and Two-tone and then crawled into our tent for movie night.

After we took showers I spent a long while studying the infection on my feet, telling the whole long story to our fellow hikers to get their advice, and trying desperately to make a smart decision about how to proceed. I finally decided around 8pm that today would be a zero. I knew what my foot really needed most was rest, and I didn’t feel comfortable going into a 7-day ration with an infection that was still open and inflamed.

This has actually turned out to be the perfect place for a zero, and despite my own obsession with productivity, we have had a really lovely day. There are hot showers, the weather is nice, there are no bugs, it’s private and quiet, and it only costs us $3 a day. Today we got super lucky because our friends hitched into Mount Shasta and brought us back Subway for lunch, so I really truly stayed off my feet all day. I talked with my nurse friend and sent her some pics and she said it seemed to be healing as expected, which made me feel much better. She also said she thought I could hike tomorrow, which made me want to climb through the phone and hug her. I did a couple warm water soaks with Epsom salt and I must say that the infection does look about 25% better than it did when we arrived yesterday afternoon. We’ll still take it a little easier than normal for about one more week while I finish the antibiotics and this heals completely, but by the time we get to our next ration in Seiad Valley, I’m hoping to be all in the clear. Just in time for Oregon and all the zeroes that we have planned so we can have fun with friends and not lay all day in our tent.

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