I met the nicest couple this morning on my way back to the trail. Actually they were the folks who took me to the trailhead. There I was, standing on the corner with my sign that said in big letters, "Horseshoe" and even though I was trying to project charm, no one was picking me up. Finally a little car turned left and two nice faces looked at me and pulled over. Diana and Jorge saved the day! We had a lovely chat on the 20 mile ride up the hill and exchanged information before parting ways. They are the smiling couple you see pictured here. Apparently they hike nearly every weekend and drive up often from their home in the LA area.
I just had an excellent lunch here off the trail near Poison Meadow. Even though the food was yummy I seem to be experiencing some stomach distress in the form of a queazy sensation. Remember a while back when I mentioned feeling nauseous and I attributed it to the altitude? Well, after more than a week I'm still having the same symptoms, only it happens every time I eat no matter the altitude. Me thinks I got a bug. Dang! So far it isn't affecting my hiking, as long as I don't try to walk too soon after eating. If it isn't one thing it's another. I only hope it doesn't get worse.
I guess I spoke too soon. I waited an hour after eating to begin hiking but today was so different than three days ago when I was a hiking machine. Right away I felt nauseous and so tired I could could not keep up my pace. It took me till 3:00 to get to Cottonwood Pass, barely six miles from the trailhead. Clearly something is not right and there is no way I'm gonna get nine more miles in today with the way I'm feeling. Geeze.
I really hate these kinds of quandaries. Do I continue on when I'm not feeling well? Is my slowness just a result of not hiking for two days and if I keep going it will sort itself out? Is this just a stomach bug that will run its course and I'll be good as new soon? Any of these things could be true but the only question that matters today is can I walk 15 miles today, tomorrow and two days more? I hate to say it but the answer seems to be no. At least my energy level would indicate not.
As much as I hated to give in, I turned right at Cottonwood Pass and walked right back to Horseshoe Meadows. I hiked nine miles today in seven hours. Not good. Yet even though I felt crappy I met an interesting man named Al who was day hiking that section of the PCT. He and his wife have been working at this goal for years and he has somewhere around 1,400 miles completed... all done on day hikes. Amazing tenacity. He was also kind enough to take me back to Lone Pine. I might as well get a PO box.