June 8th 2018
Old Orchard Shelter – Partnership Shelter (mile 533.5)
23.9 miles
Total miles: 544.3


I slept horribly again, coughing all the time. Just lying down makes me want to cough. So I coughed all the way through the night, probably throughly pissing off all the people in the camp site but what can you do? When it was time to get up I coughed even more and I really felt like I was about to cough up a lung again. 

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As I was packing up Salty and Pi called over and said hi. It turns out they had got in really late last night and ended up staying in the shelter. Buzzy shouted hi to me last night, they shouted hello to me this morning, these are the familiar interactions I have been missing on the trail. 

I set off and within about 5 minutes I had to duck off trail and find a place to poo. I hadn’t need to go at all at the shelter where there was a privy to use. But there was a big urgency to this that wouldn’t wait. I got that sorted and carried on down the rocky trail. I was feeling a little better this morning. Once I had got rid of the excess snot and coughed up a bit more gunk. It definitely felt a bit easier to breathe today. The only problem now we that my ears were blocked and making me feel a bit weird. I kept popping them throughout the day

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The morning was mellow, apart from the rocks and I was maintaining a good pace, especially compared to the last couple of days. I told Buzzy last night that of I saw his empty cans of spaghetti hoops on the trail anywhere he would be in trouble. I saw them on the ground next to a car. He said he was going to leave them so someone else would find them and get rid of them for him. 

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As I was doing a good pace today I gave myself a little break as a treat and I sat by a little stream, got water and ate some crisps and cheese. I threw away my baby Swiss cheese yesterday because it was gross. Normal Swiss cheese is so much nicer. 

It was warm but not too warm and I was sheltered from the sun by lots of trees, which was good because I noticed that I got a bit of sunburn on my arm from yesterday. It seems only on the AT can you get something like ‘pneumonia’ and sunburn within a few days of each other. I passed a couple of people on the trail this morning but other than that it felt quite quiet out here. I saw a massive black snake lying across the trail and stopped for a bit to look at it. I was trying to get a picture when another hiker came up behind me and just hung around, so I rushed and managed to get a picture where the body is in focus but the head is blurry. Annoying. 

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I didn’t plan my water very well today and I ended up being very thirsty for a few hours. I could have gone to a shelter to get water but it was off the trail and I didn’t want to walk any more than I had to today. I was doing ok. I had done 12 miles in 5 hours, which was half of my day. So I was on track for a 10 hour day which was good news. 

I discovered something bad about my Twix bars today – I thought they tasted a bit weird. The caramel was quite hard and the biscuit was different – they went out of date in February 2017! Over a year out of date. Gross. It didn’t stop me eating them but it did explain why they tasted a bit weird. I was doing well on the snack front, my fanny pack was full and I was just constantly grazing throughout the day, which is what works best for me. I’ve also started carrying a bit of toilet paper in there so when I have to stop for a wee the paper is instantly accessible. 

The afternoon wasn’t going so well. I had started to slow down a lot and there were some hills. Salty and Pi came up behind me just as we were crossing the only open area of the trail today, a cow field. All the cows were gathered under a tree, keeping out of the sun. I was grateful for the trees today. I managed to keep up with them for a little bit but as soon as the trail started to go uphill again they took off and I was left behind struggling to breathe. Nowhere near as bad as yesterday but the congestion was still affecting me. I was starting to struggle a bit and I was getting some pain in my left Achilles and my left arch. I sorted out the arch pain by stepping on all the pointy rocks with my left foot and giving it a bit of a massage, but the heel was a trickier thing. It was hurting mostly on the uphill and it felt like the back of my shoes was putting a lot of pressure on it. I really hope this isn’t becoming a thing, because I don’t need that. 

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I got burnt yesterday. Oops.

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I trudged on and I passed a man called Dirty Noodle and later I passed a man called Calamity. I had to put some music on around the 20 mile mark because I was really flagging. I was belting out a bit of Lady Gaga when I came across Calamity filtering water. We only had 1.5 miles to get to the shelter, where there is a tap with water that doesn’t need filtering. I will happily live in a state of dehydration for the sake of 1.5 miles. I had been dehydrated for most of the afternoon so 1.5 miles more wouldn’t make much difference. 

I chatted to Calamity about ordering pizza at the shelter. Apparently the local pizza place will deliver there. I had been thinking about pizza for most of the afternoon. I absolutely flew down the last part of the trail and I was at the shelter in no time at all. This put me at 10 hours and 20 minutes for the day which wasn’t too bad considering I am still ill. I hadn’t had much snot all afternoon and I’d not coughed excessively either. Whenever I talk to someone though it makes me cough. 

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At the shelter Dirty Face was there and there were a couple of section hikers with massive pizzas. I sat at the table and I hung on long enough that one man gave me two slices of his Hawaiian and the other man gave me a slice of his pizza that seemed to have everything on. Those bits of pizza were so good and just enough. I wouldn’t have been able to eat a whole one anyway and now I didn’t need to order anything. Result. 

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I stayed there and chatted for a while and Salty and Pi came back from town. Another guy with a husky came into the shelter, I think he’s called Tennessee Slim and he was as skinny as you can get. A bunch of Dirty Face’s friends were there, mostly the people who were at Woodchucks hostel, the ones which were quite cliquey in their group, so I didn’t talk to them much. 

After a while Send It came in and greeted me. It been a good day for familiarity and friendly faces. She had done a 30 mile day to get here. I didn’t think I could have managed a 30 mile day today. My feet are the most sore they have been on the trail so far. 

I had some exceptionally bad wind this evening. Not stinky at all but the volume was immense. The kind you can feel rumbling up inside you before it comes out. It was just coming out continuously. Thank goodness it didn’t smell. 

A girl Calamity is hiking with was worried about a bite on her leg. It has a circle around it but we all had a look and it just looks like a bruise with something that’s happened to bite her in the middle of the bruise. I think she’ll live. That’s my professional opinion. 

Send It was waiting for Awesome to arrive to order Pizza. I didn’t see him come in so I didn’t know if she missed out on pizza or not. But she’s going into town tomorrow so she’ll be ok. I drunk 1.5 litres of water this evening because I felt so dehydrated when I got there. I was also using it to try and stop myself coughing when I was chatting around the picnic table. 

As we were talking I found out that Pi got a scholarship to study in America based on how amazing she is at cross country running. No wonder I can’t keep up with her! I was also chatting to Dirty Face, who is from Oregon. She decided not to do the PCT because she read Wild and thinks that you have to go 7 days without water. Just another reason that you should’t view Wild as a book about hiking.

I’m in my tent tonight because being in the shelter wouldn’t be fair on everyone else, plus I like sleeping in my tent. There are two dogs around tonight so hopefully we won’t have to worry too much about bears. There are some really loud noises coming from a nearby lake. Loads of frogs chorusing and crickety type things chirping, and then a strange sound like a giant goose or something. 

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I tried lying down to type this and the coughing began instantly. As soon as I lie down all the moisture disappears from my throat and I swallow a lot and my eyes water and I have to cough. It’s going to be another difficult nights sleep. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 31

 

 

 


 

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