Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Random Thoughts

Today is day five and I'm sitting in my tent at about 7:00 pm. I hiked for a little over 9 hours today and clicked off around 8 miles. To say this is slower and harder than I expected would be an understatement.

To start with I was carrying WAY too much weight. I mean I had about 10 pounds of things that needed to be left in a trash can. I also had WAY too much food. I followed the usual rule of thumb for calories and the such but soon realized I'm not eating all this stuff.

Then there is the brutal hills you climb and descend and do all over again. Over and over. Seems I'm always hiking UP!!! Then the blisters. First on the ball of my foot. Dime size to now silver dollar size. Then one on my big to (same foot) then another on the outside of yes, the same foot. Start to limp carrying close to 40 pounds in a pack on your back and everything starts to hurt; hips, ankles, knees, shoulder.... You get the idea.

There are lots of people on the trail doing the same thing. All ages and from all walks of life. I've met some fine people so far and all seem friendly and excited to see what happens. People are moving fast, slow and everything in between. Nights are interesting. A collection of souls all looking fora place to pitch a tent or roll out a sleeping bag. When one stops others seem to follow. Kind of the safety in numbers thing. Not a lot of chit chat but acknowledgement we are all in this together.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Update on my Health

Well, it has been two weeks and not much has changed. To update, on May 1, I had a MIBI and treadmill/stress test that showed no detectable problems with my heart. The treating doctor reduced my blood pressure medications and advised I take it easy for a week and see if this adjustment improves my blood pressure.

On May 9, I met with my doctor for re-evaluation. My blood pressure was still extremely low (97/51). My blood pressure would drop even lower after standing up from a seated position (90/45) which also still caused dizziness and a narrowing of my vision. The doctor this time ceased all blood pressure medication and advised me to use caution when driving, climbing stairs and doing anything strenuous.

Another series of EKG/EEG and blood work all showed normal. I have been charting my blood pressure now for three weeks and it remains extremely low. My resting pressure hovers around 90/45 most days and has been as low at 85/38.

I am not taking any medications at this point to regulate my blood pressure. My next appointment is on Wednesday the 21st.

At this point it does not look good for me getting back on the trail for a thru hike of the PCT. I am hoping I can get my blood pressure under control and be able to at least do some serious sections of the PCT. I am thinking of hiking from Kennedy Meadows to Echo Lake. That would be doable if I am able to get back in June. I would need to do some shorter hikes at lower elevations first to prepare, but everything else is in place.

I appreciate the calls, emails and well wishes from everyone. I wish my update was more positive and that I could get back on the trail. But having just retired and wanting to live long and enjoy my retirement, I am proceeding with an abundance of caution and taking one day at a time.

I will provide more after the 21st. Until then.... Enjoy each day and cherish life.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Holding Pattern

Well, in an abundance of caution my doctor sent me to the hospital for a series of tests. It appears my blood pressure and heart meds need to be adjusted. But to ensure there are no issues with my heart, I am scheduled for a MIBI Scan. This is a test where a radioactive tracer (Technetium 99) is used to view my heart. This will allow my doctors to know for sure what is happening with my heart.

With luck I can get my meds adjusted and no heart issues will be present and I can continue my adventure. Until then I'm laying in a hospital bed watching tv bored out of my mind.

I will post again when I have more info on my ability to continue my adventure.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taking a Medical Break

I'm stepping off the trail for a couple of days to see my doctor. I'm thinking my blood pressure meds need to be adjusted. I have been having dizzy spells when bending over to set up or take down my tent. Today I bent over to pick up my hiking stick after a rest break and everything went black for a few seconds. I'm feeling stronger as I hike and was in a nice comfortable grove. But I made a promise to be smart and not take unnecessary risks.

I hope it's just a simple adjustment of my meds and I can get back out there. I will let you know.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 13

Yesterday was a long, cold, wet day. Mostly hiking UP the side of the mountains. Started with clouds and wind. The wind at times blowing hard enough to cause me to stumble. Once almost flicking me off the trail and down a steep hill. Scared as hell? OH YES!!!

Made it to the "Third Gate" mile 91 around 2:30. There is a water cache consisting of at least 200 gallons of bottled water. Many new bottles from the store, not refilled. This is the first water available since scissors crossing (19 miles). I had lunch, drank a gallon and filled up for the next stretch of 10 miles to known water.

I headed out, again climbing. I hiked for about three hours and it began to rain. I quickly found a level spot just off the trail that I could pitch my tent. It was raining, not just sprinkling. I quickly got my tent set and inside. I was soaked to the bone and shivering. (Isn't this fun?) I got out of my wet clothes, changed into my sleeping thermals and climbed into my sleeping bag. After I got warm I got my Jerboil out and made my dinner (chicken noodle soup) and read a little. It rained all night and the wind howled. I stayed dry and warm. I did put on my only other pants (rain-wind pants) and my down jacket, beanie and socks. I fell asleep quickly but woke every two hours or so from the wind and rain.

I got a late start, hoping the rain would stop this morning. Finally at 8:20 it sounded like it had stopped. Not! I got dressed and got out to beak camp and 10 minutes later it's raining again. Isn't this fun? I get my tent secured and my pack loaded and hit the trail around 9:30. Everything soaked including me. It rained off and one during the day. Nothing much but enough to keep pack covered and requiring me to wear rain pants and jacket which have their own Eco System when you add hiking hills with a heavy pack to the equation.

I made it to mile 105.2, San Ysidro Creek. The blisters were winning the battle and I decided to make camp. As I got to this spot I saw the girl from Hawaii. She asked if I had seen a tarp along the trail. I had seen what I thought was a large piece of paper with "hiker trash" written on it. She was frustrated. I saw it about a mile back off the trail. I had also found a random glove about half mile back that I picked up. I pulled it from my pocket and asked if she had lost a glove. She looked at it and said yes. She shook her head and said "I think I'd loose my head if it weren't attached,". I think her trail name should be "lost and found",

I got my tent set up, climbed in and changed into dry clothes. I had a cup of coffee and read for a bit. I then had dinner (tuna sandwich) and read a little more. It's 9:00 and I'm finishing this up and headed off to sleep.

I will make Warner Springs in the morning.

Until next time... Epsom Salt, hot water and a foot bath?? Please??

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Headed to Warner Springs

Got to Scissors crossing at around 11:00 this morning. Filled everything to the brim (water from a cache maintained by a "trail angel") and walked to the bridge near by and took a break. Weather was nice. Maybe 85 with a slight breeze. At about 2:00 I started the climb out of Scissors. Steep, long and exposed trail made for slow going. I hiked about 5.5 miles. That took me almost 4.5 hours. I will attribute the slow going to carrying so much weight in water. Next water is at mile 91 and I am at 82.5. I have about nine miles to turn tomorrow with a little over 3.5 liters of water. I started with 6.5 so I should be ok.

Lots of hikers on the trail. Every type of person in the world and truly from around the world. A girl from Hawaii hiking in a short wrap around skirt, leather flip flop and carrying an umbrella. The people make it interesting.

Time for bed. Until next time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Almost Scissors Crossing

Today was a good day. Hiked long and hard and avoided a pissed off rattle snake that had bite on its mind.

Started slow as I was headed down hill most of the morning. Steep descents are as bad as steep ascents. After about 90 minutes dropping almost 2000 feet it was time to climb. Regained about 1100 feet and then strolled along on slow rolling trail.

Made it to Rodrigues Spur and filled up on water. Spend a couple hours eating, relaxing and tending to the blisters on my feet. This has become a full time job.

The fettle snake encounter scared the hell out of me. I'm lumbering along daydreaming of ice cream when I hear the loudest rattle from a snake I have ever heard. I look up and 10 feet in front of me square on the trail is a coiled rattle snake. I stop and he lunges at me. His strike misses by about two feet and he begins to coil as his head raises and cocks as if he is going to strike again. The rattle never stopped. He holds as I quickly (holy cow I didn't think this fat, tired, old man could move that fast) jump back. He holds his ground for about two minutes (I thought at the time an hour) then moves off the trail. By the time I got my heart slowed down and I grabbed for my camera, he was gone. I could do without those encounters.

I started hiking again in hopes of doing another 4 miles to make it closer to Scissors Crossing. Want to be there by noon tomorrow and get a jump on the miles between there and Warner Springs. I did just over 5 so only have about 4 left in the morning.

The weather turned cold and windy with clouds moving in quickly. I was racing to get to flat land so I could find a tent spot before the sun set. I came around a bend in the trail and there were two tents off to the side that looked familiar. They belonged to a father-daughter from Sacramento I met several days back. There was room for my tent and I pitched it quickly in the howling wind and climbed inside. I was soaked from sweat and needed to get warm and dry. I changed clothes, got warm and made my dinner (Cup a soup) and started writing this post.

The wind is dieing off a bit and I am getting sleepy. It is after all 8:15. Until next time; enjoy the little things in life; big things are too heavy to carry out here.