Sunday, June 3, 2018

Bugged Out In Virginia: Part 2 - The Hurting Head

Waking up at 6am with a blaring headache was not the way I wanted this trip to go. The plan was promising at first, even with the hour-late plane flight, we made it out to the trail in no time. It is a very interesting change-up, going from an airport, a jet plane, a car, to suddenly, you are dropped off on a deserted two lane blacktop, at a little trail on the side of the road. There are less markings for these entrances than one might expect. It looks nothing like the ones most people see, with big parking lots, a giant sign telling you about bears and leaving trash behind. It just looks like somebody might have used the path to get to a fishing hole. We were pumped up, and ready for the hike, although I did have my misgivings about how much food I had packed. I needed food for 7-8 days, and was suddenly feeling that I might have been a little careless about measuring the helpings of food in my bags.
Homer, our shuttle driver, was a very interesting fellow to finally meet in person. He had taken his whole family and hiked the AT years ago, a feat which only backpackers can fully understand the depth of. I barely could get my kids to school on time, and I'm not at all certain I could have had them hike 1600 miles in the woods. Homer, told us he was now 76 years old and still running the trails. A trail runner is like a god to backpackers. These are people that are jogging up mountains in the time I might run the same distance around my neighborhood. The chance of tripping and falling and really being in trouble is there, plus the whole thing of 'how fit would you have to be to even do it?' Homer, looked more like an old Appalachian banjo player than some kind of super senior athlete, but I never doubted for a moment that he could do the things he claimed to do. He and his wife worked on the trails, keeping the weeds, leaves and fallen trees out of the way.

We hiked on from the road, feeling good and strong, knowing that we had an easy hike to our first destination. I had that 'I could do this all day!' feeling, hoping that it would last for a while. Somehow, I had hoped that the fresh mountain air would give me the uplift I had dreams about. Instead, the air felt like a nice morning in Florida, with a decent temperature if you didn't have the 90% humidity. We found our campsite near a bridge and a stream and settled in with our gear, nodding hello to the other campers, while I started wondering how I was going to cool down enough to sleep that night.
One little issue I forgot to handle was what to do if I got one of my rip-roaring migranes during the night. I've spent half my life dealing with this, and it usually comes after a climate change. I keep my Extra-Strength Excedrin handy, along with water and a little something to eat so I don't get the aspirin burn in my stomach. had been a while since I had gone backpacking and I forgot one little thing. All of our food was hanging up in a bearbag in a tree. When I woke with the headache, I lay there in the dark for at least an hour wondering which was worse: the headache or getting out there in the dark and taking down the foodbag? In the end, I decided on Excedrin on an empty stomach and that
worked good enough. 

After that, I made sure I had a sealed protein bar in my tent each night, but that was the only headache of the was not the only time I used the first-aid kit though....

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