Day 81: A “Zero” Day

Settling the Shock Waves

Northstar and I talked late into the night yesterday, working out a Plan A, B, and C, each with a host of variants, each depending on her condition. By the time we’d figured that all out, our daughter had been treated and released from the ER. At that point, we had nothing left to do but collapse into bed. After I had a long, hot shower, that is, and had sequestered my smelly hiking clothes in a closet.


Northstar and I both woke up knowing we want to keep hiking. We want to reach Katahdin. I think she said it before she said good morning. We’ll stop if Northstar develops Lymes Disease condition worsens, obviously, but until it does we’re moving north.  Just not today. Today is for rest, reflection, and recovery.

Yesterday was my tenth consecutive day hiking and my legs and feet were feeling it. They feel strong in the mornings but start sputtering earlier and earlier each successive day. I think my endurance is improving and I hope to log a few more 20’s in Pennsylvania. I appreciate the wise advice I’ve gotten in the comments to not rush and risk hurting myself, but I am excited to see what I can do, at least before I get to the nastiest rocks.


As bad as yesterday was, it could have been worse. In retrospect, lots of things fell into place for us. For example, the urgent care was completely empty when Northstar walked in. A few minutes later, fifteen people were in line. Our motel sat right next to a Walmart, Lowes, Verizon, Laundromat, and Harbor Freight, all of which I needed to work through my chore list.

Also, both the tick bite and our daughter’s ER visit happened when we’d already scheduled a zero day, so we had time to adapt and process. I had time to catch up on my blogs, fix the van’s cabinetry, and figure out why our wireless hot spot box wasn’t charging.

Our Tick Prevention Plan

Roux’s reform school/summer camp in Chattanooga doesn’t have room for Gus and we don’t know anyone willing to dog sit a somewhat needy Golden Doodle for three months. So, Gus is banned from hiking until we’re out of tick country and the weather turns colder. He and I are both despondent, but it’s definitely the right thing. Also, he’s relegated to the floor until he completes a quarantine period. He agreed to this last clause reluctantly. It’ll be a battle.


By mid-day, the halo around the tick bite had disappeared, though its still a dime sized red spot. We’ve also heard some less scary accounts of tick bites and Lyme’s Disease. We’ve adopted a wait and see attitude, but for now, we plan to head north again tomorrow.

Daily Stats:

  • Start: Waynesboro, PA
  • End: Waynesboro, PA
  • Weather: Puffy clouds, warm-hot, humid, afternoon drizzle.
  • Earworm: None
  • Meditation: Lk. 12:27
  • Plant of the Day: Me
  • Best Thing: Air conditioning
  • Worst Thing: Telling Gus he’s banished from hiking


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Comments 13

  • Barney : Jul 8th

    Looks like High Rock?

    • Jon : Jul 9th


  • Charlotte : Jul 8th

    It’s amazing to read your posts, especially honoring Hike Your Own Hike! The details about the different terrain,weather ( I’d take 110° dry heat over the humidity given a choice) but since I’ll find myself on the Appalachian Trail in 2025
    I understand the “suck it up buttercup”, along with ticks, spiders, and the rest of nature’s mixed bag. But it’s how you, Northstar, and even Gus have faced obstacles (no pun intended) since you started that inspire me the most. My sincere condolences, again, for the untimely death of your brother. My meditation tonight was Romans 8:26, and I really believe you and your vanmily are a testament to that verse. I’m cheering you for continuing to make Katadhin your goal! Hope I am blessed to find a thru hiker with your spirit. Age does not diminish a person’s ability!

    • Jon : Jul 9th

      Thanks, Charlotte! Cannily! Wordless groans. Love it. Thx for the verse.

  • Chris K : Jul 9th

    Seeing a rash with a target lesion would prompt me to take a course of doxycycline. Of course you have the advice of a son who practices medicine, and you don’t know who I am (I practice medicine too), but consider speaking to your son about this. You might obtain a script for doxycycline for this and also for future exposures and this would save you the trouble of having to wait for symptoms or go to a clinic.

    To add a smidge of credibility to what I am saying, here is an excerpt from a medical reference I use regularly on treatment of Lyme disease (WikiEM):


    Adult: Doxycycline 200mg PO x1
    Child >8: 4mg/kg up to 200mg PO x1
    Give if all of the following are met:
    Tick is adult/nymphal I. scapularis
    Tick was attached >36 hours based on degree of engorgement or exposure time
    Prophylaxis can be given within 72 hrs after time tick was removed
    Local rate of infection in ticks >20%
    Doxycycline is not contraindicated
    Old vaccine has little to no efficacy after 1 year

    Early Localized Infection
    Treat before serologic testing if endemic area if + erythema migrans rash
    Doxycycline 100 mg PO BID x 10 days Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American College of Rheumatology

    If you have no options please at the moment other than attend a clinic you can reply to this message and we can discuss how to get in touch.

    • Jon : Jul 9th

      Thanks! She’s on something already but I’ll run this past her. Good stuff.

      • Chris K : Jul 10th

        Great news! 👍

  • thetentman : Jul 9th

    Near a Harbor Freight. If you want you can stop in and grab my FREE 170 PC Stanley Toolset that I win every day in my email. It is yours if you need it. Just let me know and I will send the details.

    I hope Northstar feels better soon.


    • Jon : Jul 9th


  • Rob : Jul 9th

    Romans 12:12

    Keep on you two! Such a cool journey! Sorry to hear about Northstar, bugs suck.

    • Jon : Jul 9th

      Hi Rob!! Thx for reading. Enjoy that dry heat in AZ. Good verse!

  • Jeff Greene : Jul 9th

    I know the bigger danger is your dog transferring ticks to you, but do you have Gus on Simparica Trio or another anti-tick medication? I was impressed with how well it worked with our beagle–Only ticks I found on her were already dead.

    • Jon : Jul 13th

      Yup, Gus is treated inside and out. The ticks seem to ride home in his hair. Might have to shave him but he’ll look ridiculous.


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