We always start walking between 6h00 and 6h30 in the morning. Yesterday, even though we were keen to get to our Martin Trail Magic Tent as early as possible, Trevor struggled to wake up. Today it was worse. He woke up with a headache and seemed to not have energy to even get dressed. It was 7h30 before he managed to get packed up.
He just sat there and said “we need to get to town, I can’t walk today”. We walked to the road hoping to hitch a ride into town, and it wasn’t too long before a car coming to drop off a hiker waved us over. Coincidentally it was Allen, the owner of Catamount Motel where Rob (who gave us a lift into town yesterday when we stupidly couldn’t find the Martins) planned to drop us off. Very handy. Allen took us to the motel to drop our packs and then drove us to what in the States is called Urgent Care.
The symptoms (fatigue which was getting worse over the last 3 days, headache, nausea and having been subjected to two tick bites) all pointed to some tick borne disease, we already realised that when we were breaking up camp earlier, but Allen also encouraged us to see a doctor ASAP.
It seems as if there are several tick borne diseases, but they are all treated by the same antibiotic, so iso running blood tests the doctor gave a script for the Doxicyclene for two weeks.
We called Allen who sent somebody to fetch us from the hospital and took us back to the motel. I then went to fill the script (Allen said he was too busy to take me but offered that I could use his car!) while Trevor crawled into bed (I couldn’t even get him to shower or take his hiking clothes off). Walking to the pharmacy I saw a bit of the town, including the original post office and another beautiful church (these towns can compete with Europe as far as churches are concerned)
To put a positive spin to this, it forces us to slow down. You all know how obsessive I get when there is a deadline and since Trevor “announced” that we want to try and finish the hike on 31 August, I have been driven to optimise every hour to maximise our mileage.
Thinking about it now, I see how it became an Operations Research exercise to me: where to get to each day to line us up best to get into our re-supply towns at the optimum time so no hour goes to waste. I have written about my frustration with towns not being located where I need them to be to do 1 in 6 day stops, forcing us to “waste” time by having to go into towns more often, etc. As a matter of fact, when Trevor said this morning he won’t be able to walk I thought to myself how inconvenient, it would have worked out better if this happened in 2 days time, to coincide with a PLANNED town stop……!!!!! I’m not a bad or heartless person. I just get over committed to deadlines. But with this delay our deadline (which was a stretched target anyway) is impossible to achieve. Now I should relax and go with the flow and have fun, rather than try to reach a silly self imposed target…. And most importantly – give Trevor the time he needs to recover!
While he slept in a dark room all medicined up but refusing to eat, I walked down to have a real Italian Gelato and then caught a bus to the Walmart about 5km away – we need a new gas cannister so I thought I might as well get that done (oh my word there I go again….old habits die hard). I waited for a bus to get back to Bennington downtown but it never arrived. I asked two strangers if they will take me back to the motel if I give them $5! The things I have to do on this hike go way beyond walking a few thousand kilometers!
By 6pm I have managed to get Trevor to eat a cup full of fresh cherries (the cherries here are so good – better than Lindt balls) and 4 spoonfuls (or spoonsful?) of ice cream. And to have a shower. After that he went straight back to sleep.
What to do? It’s impossible to play nurse to a sleeping patient. I walked down the street to get a Burrito and a glass of wine (turned out to be a tin of wine!) at the Mexican restaurant (poetic licence, it’s like a Nando’s with a few tables where you can have your take away) close to where we are staying. Somehow a town evening is less fun without my crazy old mountain man so I guess I will head back to the motel shortly.
Naturally I will keep you posted but at an absolute minimum we will still be in town tomorrow (and possibly for quite a few days more) to give the meds time to kick in.
Oh, for the record: we are in Bennington Vermont, one of 2 shire towns in the county. A shire town (quoting Google) is a town where a court of superior jurisdiction sits. It’s not a bad town to be stranded in.