I’m still completely speechless and blown away by the comments so many of you wrote on my ‘Slipping into the dark’ post. The last section was the toughest for me mentally, for many reasons, and it took all I had to keep myself sane prior to arriving in Etna. I was actually shocked that I had signal in town, and after a very tough morning I couldn’t believe the comments I was reading. Wow, talk about feeling love and support. I guess after hearing from so many incredible people I’ve felt a refreshed passion to write again. It was just what the doctor ordered after my day started a little on the edge of sanity.
But after hitting the road and scoring a ride pretty quickly to Etna in the back of a pick up truck, the breeze managed to blow away some of the earlier frustrations. (The video’s actually a little windy).
I was dropped straight at the post office and managed the quickest resupply of the entire trip. Everything I had sent was adequate, Chris in Oregon hooked me up with coffee, carnation and chocolate, and I even got a new stove and titanium cone from the folks at Trail Designs – thank you Rand!
My second priority was, you guessed it, food! I got a milkshake from the pharmacy which has an old style ice cream parlour inside, then headed to the deli for a burger. I basically set up camp there, charged my steripen, cleaned my socks, filled up zip locks with the communal coffee mate and sugar (after receiving permission of course), then left my pack there while I made a quick trip to the grocery store. My best surprise of the day was bumping into Dingo and Mud next to the vegetables. I couldn’t have been happier to see familiar faces. They offered me a shower over at their motel which I almost passed up, but I think part of the offer was given because they were already clean and had their sense of smell tuned back in.
Being clean made a world of difference, and although I was heading back to the trail later than anticipated, I was in a much healthier state. The hitch back took a while but everyone was super polite, and eventually a man named Jim took me and another hiker Robin Hood back to the trail head. Initially I hoped to do 7 miles, but it was already past 6pm so I figured I’d see how far I could go before 8. After only a couple of miles, my left leg and hip which has been a little numb started to niggle, until suddenly I was experiencing excruciating pain that I’d never felt before.
I’m cowboy camping where I gave into the pain and opted to stop. I figured pushing it might do more damage, and maybe after some massage tomorrow it will behave differently. I also thought worst case, WORST CASE, if I did need to go back into town I’m only 3 miles from the road. I’m really hoping it will go away like a bad dream tomorrow!