Lyme Disease: Just A Hiccup
If you read my last post, then you probably saw me casually throw in at the end that I officially have Lyme Disease. What you might not know is that I only took two days off after being diagnosed, didn’t take the illness seriously, told myself to suck it up, and got right back on the trail.
This was a mistake and probably not the smartest thing I have done on this hike so far – I drove back to the trail on a Thursday (Day 57 for those of you keeping track), and by Sunday I was on my way back home.
My brother, Eric (trail name: Benchwarmer) and my boyfriend, James came out with me for this chunk of the trail. This was Benchwarmer’s first backpacking trip, so we decided to take it very slow and not bite off too many miles. In actuality, my brother did fantastic – he looked like a natural on the trail and probably could have been pushing close to 15 mile days on his first trip.
We kept the slow pace however because I simply could not go any further than that. It would take us all day to complete around 8 miles, which is less than I was starting out with in Georgia. I would start the day out not feeling too bad, but after about an hour of hiking (which was only about 1.5 miles because of the reduced hiking speed) I was dead tired and felt like I had just completed a 20 mile day. I also kept getting these awful headaches which made me dizzy and somewhat nauseous all at the same time. The combination of the deep fatigue, headaches, and some tricky PA rock scrambles that required a lot of concentration and balance wasn’t too pretty.
We went on like this until Sunday (day 60), which was when Benchwarmer and James were scheduled to be picked up. It was at this point that I realized I had gone back on the trail entirely too early and that my body needed a lot more rest before I would get better. It definitely wasn’t an easy choice to go back home. I wanted to keep moving and (finally) advance to the next state on the trail. I was only about 50 miles away from the border, but at the rate I was going, what would take only a few days would take me over a week.
So, I went home for a few days, and after a few days of laying around I am starting to feel a little bit better. I keep checking social media and am seeing all of my trail friends advance to new states and climb awesome mountains, and it kills me that I am not there doing the same.
The four days we spent on the trail though were a lot of fun. I got to climb Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle, which are two hikes that I have done multiple times in preparation for my thru hike. It was really exciting to finally reach this point on the trail because I got to stay at Windsor Furnace shelter. Although not the nicest shelter, this is the first shelter that I had ever visited on the AT. When I first found out about the AT and thru hiking, I was determined to visit all of the access points closest to my house, and Windsor Furnace was one of them. It was really awesome to finally stay at this shelter, and it made it better that it was the very first shelter Benchwarmer got to stay at on the trail.
Aside from all of this excitement, we had a TON of rock scrambles which were really challenging but fun at the same time, we got our fair share of rain, and we got to hike in the heat/ humidity of a heat wave.
I really wish I was in better health to fully enjoy this section of the trail, but I suppose everything happens for a reason. This section is so close to my house, that I could always go back after I finish my hike and redo this section when I am feeling better. Lucky, the time spent at home gave me a chance to rest up, get a new pair of boots, and plan my next chunk of trail.
Onward to good health and the next state!
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