Sleeping in shelters always seems like a delicate thing. It can be so quiet in there that any sounds made from rustling about or turning in the night are amplified…I don’t sleep well in them, and don’t imagine others do either, yet I spent almost every night of my 5-month hike in them 20 years ago.
I’m up early as usual, and move a short distance away to make my coffee and stay as quiet as I can while I write.
Nemo eventually wakes and we are both packed and ready to hike before the other hiker in the shelter stirs…what a sound sleeper!
The trail continues to lay down a path of easy dirt before us, and we glide through the miles. On a short road walk we stop in a trail angel’s house where hikers can get water from a hose. There are cold sodas too and we both drink one as we hear stories from the other nobos that just arrived. It’s a short stop, and soon we are climbing the next hill (a lot of the features in this part of Vermont are called hills…that gives you some perspective on the terrain here).
Late morning I feel a hot sharp pain on my left ankle, I’ve been stung! Now normally this might not be a big deal to you, but I was in fact hiking on the PCT in the Glacier Peak Wilderness when I was stung on the ankle twice by a ground wasp and went into anaphylactic shock. NEMO was there and watched me blow up like a balloon and develop breathing problems and hives all over my body. Another hiker had me take a bunch of Benedryl…I didn’t know I was allergic, so didn’t carry an epi-pen, and no one else had one either. After a few minutes (I was on the ground wrapped in an emergency blanket by this time) I remember NEMO saying, “She-ra, if you were gonna die, you would have died by now.” I guess I didn’t realize death was an option, but was glad to hear that it was taken off the table. After about an hour the hikers split up my gear and we hiked up, looking for a campsite…there were none at the bottom of the drainage where I had been stung. And then 16 years passed and I was stung on the ankle again on a long distance trail with NEMO there.
I stopped, yelled for NEMO, chewed a Benedryl, swallowed another whole, and dug the stinger out (which means it was a bee we think, and has different venom from a wasp…good for me). I was having some PTSD, but overall kept my calm. (Now I carry Benedryl in my pocket, an epi in my phanny pack and one in my backpack). We slowly walked away from the area, and nothing more happened, so continued another 10 minutes to the next gravel road where we sat down and surveyed the damage.
My ankle was swelling a lot, but that was all. We put wet mud on the ballooning area (the cool felt good) and I lay down to eat lunch.
I was ok!
We walked on that afternoon, and I was surprised I wasn’t more sleepy from the Benedryl. We had one more instance of trail magic when we came upon a bucket at a creek that had some cold sodas in it (I just can’t with all this trail magic! Wow!).
Camp is a open hemlock forest, and NEMO and I tuck ourselves out of sight down a small swell in the earth.
I didn’t die today!