June 5th 2018
0 miles

So I hadn’t planned a zero today but when I woke up I felt absolutely dreadful. I felt like my head had been slammed into the pillow and I was swallowing razor blades. The congestion hand ramped itself up a gear. 

There was no way I could hike feeling like this so I made the decision to take the day off. I had been going for 27 days straight after all. I ate breakfast of blueberry waffles and fruit which is included in the hostel stay and I thought about going back to bed and sleeping for a bit, which in hindsight is exactly what I should have done. 


Instead I walked into town to buy some drugs. I got some decongestant tablets and came back to the hostel where I sat out the back with a bunch of other hikers and chatted a bit. The big group from yesterday were all packing up ready to leave and by midday they had all finally departed. I was pretty much on my own so I sat on the rocking chair on the front porch and uploaded some videos and a blog. And I made friends with Goldie the cat so I was happy. 


I spoke to my parents and did some life admin. Then I started to get hungry so I made the fairly long walk over to Subway. On the way there I bumped into Moon and Trail Walker who had rolled into town around midday. We arranged to meet up later for food. Subway isn’t great food but it had been on my mind since I saw those two men eating one all that time ago. Plus I was expecting my deli sandwich yesterday to be more like a subway and it definitely wasn’t so I had to make up for it. 

The ladies in there tried to make me eat in so they could talk to me and listen to my accent, but I wanted to take it away. Back at the hostel some new people started to arrive and I met a trio who were hiking together. One from France, one from Belgium and one from Germany. We were quite the European little gathering. 

One the the favourite questions to ask is when did you start? And it’s basically so you can see how ‘well’ you’re doing compared to other people. I’m finding most people started mid-April and they are always surprised at my May 9th start. The French guy, whose name I can’t remember, said I had inspired him to do more miles. Everyone thinks I’m really fast. I’m not. I just get up early and I hike mostly without stopping much during the day. 

Anyway, we all chatted for a while, and I chatted with Hans Solo who is Australian. I’ve finally met a real life Aussie on the trail after hearing how many of them there were out there. I played with the cats and I still felt crappy, but it’s all in my nose and chest, my head and eyes feel fine. 

At 5 I went over to the diner to find the others. There was no one I recognised there but I had a message from Moon to say they were at the Broken Fiddle hostel so I made my way over there. This hostel is the complete opposite of Woodchucks. Woodchucks is no alcohol no drugs and not noisy. The Broken Fiddle is where you go if you want to smoke and drink and be loud! 


There were lots of hikers there I’ve not met but I sat for a while and chatted, mostly with Trail Walker and Indoor Kid. The smoke was really irritating my throat and it was making me cough a lot. I was thankful when the move was made to go to the diner for dinner. A big group of us went, Pizza from Israel, Indoor Kid, Oso and Send It – who has the same mucas/chesty issues as me. 

Then there was Trail Walker, Gatsby, Golden Girl, Moon and a girl who I don’t know the name of and a 19 year old boy who I can’t remember the name of. These last two people, plus Pizza and Indoor Kid are all finishing their hikes here in Damascus for various reasons. 

I got a ‘small appetite’ burger and fries which I couldn’t eat most of and I gave my fries away. I just wasn’t hungry. Gatsby then lived up to his name by covering the bill and paying for everyone’s food! How generous! 

It was then time to say goodbye to Indoor Kid which was sad. But his injuries were too much for him to carry on. I snuck off while everyone went back to the Broken Fiddle to party and drink beer. By this time I was struggling to keep my eyes open and the congestion was making me feel crappy so I just wanted to take a shower and get into bed. Also Indoor Kid was covered in bites on his hands like I was a few days ago. He was talking about Chiggers which just sound so disgusting. I’m too afraid to google them because I prefer not knowing what they are. I found a new bite under my eye and two on my little finger and I just felt so disgusting I wanted to go and scrub my skin. 


Thank you Gatsby!
Bye bye Indoor Kid

Back at the hostel I heard someone telling a story about Poison Ivy. I thought I had heard that story before and I poked my head into the room and it was Squirvert! Also in his room were two cyclists who are cycling the Trans American Route. So I ended up chatting to all three of them for ages about cycling and hiking and life and stuff. 

I finally got in the shower and tried to scrub away all thoughts of chiggers and eventually I was able to get into bed. I feel really rough. Not well at all. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 28