Day Sixty Three

Today's miles: 18
Total miles: 900

Today started out poorly and went downhill from there.

It began when I woke up and started going through my morning routine: change into hiking clothes, pack up gear, have breakfast, go down to the river to gather water. As I stepped onto a rock to dip my water bladder into the river, my foot hit a slippery patch and shot out from under me. Before I could blink, I had fallen directly on my tailbone on a sharp rock. The impact knocked the wind out of me, but the first thing I remember thinking was, dammit, I got my shoes wet!

I was soaked from the knees down but didn't even realize how much pain I was in until I tried to stand up and stumble back to camp. My body didn't appreciate the sudden movement, and I was overcome by dizziness, pain and nausea so severe that I collapsed in the grass near Papa Bear's tent.
Papa Bear saw me fall and hurried over to kneel beside me.
"Are you okay??" he asked.
I had my head between my knees and all I could say dumbly was, "I fell in the river..."
He gave me a concerned look, but I promised I was okay, and after a few moments I was able to stand up and hobble back to camp where everyone else was packing up for the day.
They quickly learned about my bruised tailbone, and how difficult it was for me to walk around without some sort of pain and dizziness.

As we left camp, Rotisserie wouldn't let me hike in the back, making me walk in front of her in case I fell down again. I felt badly about it, though, because my injury made me hike much, much slower than usual and I'm sure it was stunting her pace. Every step hurt, and I began to be overly cautious on rocky stretches of trail, for fear of falling again. My paranoia didn't seem to help, though, and in fact made me more clumsy than usual, stumbling over little rocks and making myself irritated and frustrated. While crossing one patch of snow I lost my footing again and fell. This time my pack took most of the impact, but it served to make a bad morning even worse.

We hiked through beautiful lake country, but I barely saw it. I was frustrated and stuck in my own head, angry at my pace and the pain. I finally put in earphones and listened to some interesting RadioLab podcasts on my phone. RadioLab was one of Katie's favorites, and she had recently gotten Rotisserie and I hooked on them. We loved listening to the different episodes and then discussing them afterwards at dinner.

Sansei was hiking fast today, so he took off and we barely saw him all afternoon. Rotisserie, Katie, Papa Bear and I stopped for lunch together and afterward I let Rotisserie and Papa Bear hike in front of me so I didn't hold them up. I was feeling somewhat better, but my steps were still slow and bruised.

We had some unexpected steep hills to climb today and a heat wave came through the area, making it hot and humid as we hiked. I felt like I was back in the desert, sweating as I dragged myself uphill. Katie and Rotisserie were far ahead by this point, making me feel even slower. Halfway up one of the climbs, Papa Bear stopped for a water break and I was glad for the excuse to rest. The two of us sat together, admiring an amazing view of the mountains and contemplating trail life.

When we felt better, we finished the climb and dropped down into another basin of lakes. As we came around the bend, I heard the high pitch shrieks of two girls, and I knew immediately that it was Katie and Rotisserie, and that they had jumped into a lake. This made me a little sad and grumpy, for I wished I had been hiking fast enough to join them. I was feeling particularly sorry for myself today, which was not a flattering attitude, but the more I tried to shake it, the deeper I got. When we finally caught up to them, they were already out of the water and drying off, so I pushed on alone for a bit, listening to RadioLab and trying to ignore the mellow thoughts in my head.

They caught up to me very quickly, and I fell behind again, hiking on my own. After a few hours of hiking solo, I was feeling more at peace with myself and thoroughly enjoying the podcasts I was listening to. I caught up with everyone later in the evening, just as we reached mile marker 900. Sansei had found a good campsite a few hours earlier and was making a bonfire for the evening to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We ate a quick dinner and I gingerly got into bed.