Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Day 95 : Bee Stings And Benedryl

31 miles today
876 miles to go

I awake in the early morning twilight, it's cold, much colder than it has been. I peek out from under my tent. Thin wisps of mist float eerily between the trees. I put on my windbreaker and fleece cap putting the chill at bay, I drift off.

I wake up and it's lighter than usual. I slept in for about thirty extra minutes. The air is cool and refreshing, it's so comfortable to lay here in cozy fluffy down with cool air on my face. Maybe I'll just lay here all day. Pfffssssssss goes my mattress, “not on my watch,” says my left hand, “get up and get moving.” So I get up and get moving. 

I climb out of the vicinity of the lake and the air warms considerably. The pine and oak forests of yesterday are slowly transitioning into fir forests as I climb. The forest floor on both sides is littered with so much limbs and branches it would be difficult to cross-country through it. The trail follows along the tops of ridges that are covered in trees, so there is no view. It's warm, hot in the sun, and bugs are flying every which way. 

I arrive at South Brown Mountain Shelter sometime around noonish. It's hot in the sun. There are other thru-hikers here. Perhaps because it's the only water source for miles around. The place has a big old hand drawn water pump that you pump up and down to get the water to come out. There is a slight delay, but when it comes out, it really flows. Trying to hold a water bottle underneath it is like holding a water bottle under a fire hydrant. Way more water than is going to fit in the bottle comes out on each pump of the handle. Lots of water spills on the ground and flows into the dirt. The yellow jackets seem to really enjoy buzzing around the wet ground. Inside the shelter trail angels have left coolers full of sodas and apples. I take one of each to supplement my lunch and sit in the shade to eat. I watch others Thru-hikers filling their water bottles for entertainment. I still have about a liter, I figure another three quarters of a liter is all I need to get me to highway one forty. I grab my bottle and carefully stand behind the pipe. Otherwise my feet will get drenched. I pump a few times and get about a gallon of water, only three quarters of one liter end up in my bottle. The rest I donate to the local flora and fauna.

I head off down the trail after lunch. The shelter was getting quite crowded with additional thru-hikers showing up every few minutes. It continues to amaze me how so many people can be stopped at a water source but as soon as you get on the trail it's like you are the only hiker in the world. 

It suddenly dawns on me that I put non-clean water in my clean water bottle. It bugs me enough that I stop to put some Aqua Mira in it. I stop by a big log and take off my pack. The two part Aqua Mira mixture requires five minutes to activate the chlorine dioxide. I stand around for a few minutes and then pour the capful of Aqua Mira into my water bottle. That's better, let's hike. I don my pack, ouch! While slipping on my left strap something pinched, no, something stung me. Something’s in my shirt! I feel it crawling down my arm. I slap my arm with my free right hand. Ow! Something stings, hot and sharp on my left bicep. I unbutton the top button of my shirt and reach in to where it stings. I scrape the spot with my fingernail. A stinger! A bee? A yellow jacket? Something's crawling on my arm again! I slap it harder again. I unbutton my sleeve and try shaking it out. It must have fallen out because it's not in my shirt. Not sure what is was. My bicep burns where it was stung. Crisis over, I think, I button everything back up and finish strapping into my pack. Off I go, with a stinging, burning left arm. I think about the last time I was stung by a honey bee. My arm blew up like a sausage. Burning hot! Allergic? Probably. What if I'm allergic to this one? What if I can't breathe? I wonder if I need an epipen. People carry those in case they get stung by something they're allergic to. I feel my arm through my shirt with my right hand. Is it swelling? I can't tell. It sure burns though. I hike for a few more hours, finally reaching highway one forty. There's a big creek right next to the highway. Lots of water. Mongrel is there getting water, “Don't get used to it. Last water for eleven miles,” he says. I thought Oregon had more streams and creeks than this. This is just as arid as California. Constantly having to watch your water sources and make sure you carry enough. I am really surprised how little water there has been. I get two and a quarter liters of water enough for dinner, breakfast and a little more to get me to the next source. I hike on another three miles. It's the longest three miles of the day. On and on I go. Through a dark forest infested with mosquitos. They buzz around my head. They know I'm stopping soon and when I do they'll pounce. Sucking me dry. My left arm burns. I put on insect repellent while I hike, afraid that if I stop without it I'll be mugged. The camp finally comes into view. I wend my way to the furthest spot from the trail. I set up camp. Mosquitos buzz around me but as before they don't land. My repellent is like a Klingon cloaking device. They fly around as if they know I'm there and invisible. I sit and have dinner without a head net. While I eat Bojangles and Wozzie show up and camp here too. 

Into my tent with my chores complete. I pull off my shirt and look at my arm. My bicep and forearm are both red, like sunburn, and hot to the touch. I dig into my meager first-aid kit and take out two Benedryl. I swallow them with a gulp of water. I'm in bed as soon as possible and hear Max, Remy, and Pierre pull up too.

I wake up some time a lot later my arm itches like poison oak. Is that a good thing? It doesn't feel as hot. I drift off to sleep again wondering what my arm will be like tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Vivian says "I think a yellow jacket stinged you, Grandaddy. I miss you, Grandaddy. I love you"