I almost forgot the token video! Get out your violin. My food is in a tree.

Prepare for the most pathetic 1:27 minutes of my hike. I forgot I had filmed it until today and about died watching how whiny, cold, and wet I was…and obviously wanted my coffee.

I knew I was safe and ok, but geeeesh. Give that girl some cheese.

Rest of days: 11-24

I know, I know…I got way behind in my post-toe-drama. And honestly I loved being off-grid.

The toe-visit: My beastie retrieved me after two days of trying to heal on my own, dragged me kicking and screaming out of the woods (cough *cabin*) to Valley Urgent Care, where I tried to convince a PA that I was perfectly sane, duct tape was acceptable medical care, and could he please just save my toes. He had a PA student with him who failed to see any humor in my hilarity. So when he decide to cauterize through my-infected detached toenails hanging on by skin only- I was confused, but figured he was the pro, not me. I asked if he was going to knock me out and he actually laughed.  THAT WAS NOT A JOKE THAT TIME! Geesh.  Anyhow, no sedative, NO anesthetic, topical or local. Nope, None.

*warning, I’m going to cuss*

He burned through my first toenail into my oozing swollen toe, and I almost threw up it hurt so bad. I pulled my foot back, and the PA assistant, a pasty blonde girl/kid that wouldn’t crack a smile, looked over and said in the most condescending voice: “You shouldn’t move your foot back, it can get burned worse”.

Now…have you seen the Exorcist? You know when her head turns all the way around and a demon voice comes out…ok, so normally super-nice, funny, perky me did just that that. “Did you SERIOUSLY just FUCKING say that to ME?! You don’t talk to people like that!!”

She did not make eye contact with me for the rest of the visit. I did apologize on the way out for swearing, but did remind her empathy can go a long way.

Now that I am already in semi-shock, he did another toenail, the bad one, and tried to make me feel better by giving me the cauterizing weapon, I mean tool. Just for the record, my Dad (72) wanted it to work on nano-particles or something so I gave it to him.

I was given antibiotics and told to not let anything touch my toes until they were healed.

Me ” But, I want to finish hiking”

Him ” As long as nothing touches your toes”

Me ” So wrap them in duct-tape?”

Him looking at me blankly ” No, that would be touching them”.

Me ” What about hiking sandals”

Him  *glowers a little*

Me ” Listen, I am fine with the pain, just tell me what to do to not lose my toes”

Him ” Stop doing surgery on the trail with duct tape”

Me “I’m going to go buy sandals then”

Good day to you. And I went and bought some Tevas!!

After two/ten days on antibiotics, I packed everything back up and went back up into the woods. I knew I couldn’t hike much, but I could still commune with nature and make fires. I dragged my beastie up with me, and we actually ran into some hikers we had previously met who were skirting some health conditions and weather/trail concerns. I spent a few nights by myself and near the end of my trip with my toes as healed as they were going to get before I left, I went back onto the PCT and completed another small section I had intended to cover.

During conversations with other hikers, it came up (when I had to take my meds with green fuzzy water) that I have a (non dramatic) heart condition that makes my heart beat fast if I don’t stay drugged up every 8 hours. So my trail name became ” Hummingbird”. It was funny because the next day when I went into convalescent care in the cabin, my friend pointed out the hummingbird stained glass over the sink. Haha, nice.  Now of course I was anti-trail-name, but when you are with a group of people all making fun of your own experience and they give you a trail name, it is bonding and sweet. I will totally dump it next year for a non congenital-defected trail-name, LOLOLOL.

In summary for this year’s attempt, my first and definitely not my last:

I had the time of my life. I cannot WAIT to go again and complete all of section B at least, and maybe with a Fellowship, er…I mean some hiker buddies (at least to meet up and camp and be scared of bears together).  I did exactly what I set out to do, and learned what I needed to learn. I have a lot of adjustments to make in gear and preparation for next time. Let the countdown begin, again.

Saying goodbye to the mountains I walked through.

My Beastie who became a trail angel to many!

Beastie and I decided after a few drinks to roast baby Goudas. They melt.

Dammit. Can’t get enough of this. I’m in love with this trail.

When you forget your trekking pole.

What DEET does to Big Agnes 😦

Room with a view.

Medicine for my toes. Oral dose.

My very own cauterization tool.




Day 8-10. Meet my amoebae.

I needed a good reason to say anything amoeba related and this is my one shot. When I woke up and went to make camp-stove coffee my water bladders had turned brown and green overnight! What the everloving eff happened? This was water I got from a spigot at Howard Prairie and had been drinking. Doom. Doomeeee doom doom. Fortunately, I didn’t even get a slight gurgle in the ol’ lower 40, but of course explaining it later to my Dad, he assured me I could still be potentially crawling with internal parasites, bacteria, and quite possibly alien babies that don’t spawn for months. Thanks paternal unit.

I knew it was time for the great toe-reveal, and my bestie was on her way up with bandages, soaks, etc. I really, really, really, wanted them to be okay and was willing to take a couple days off trail to see if they would settle down. My camp mate Sally and I decided to do the whole section through next year together! So, although I knew this could be a turning point I was already excited for my next attempt.

Sally loaned me her camp shoes after seeing my feet, and I relented and got a cabin for that night and the next. I did everything I thought I could to avoid having to leave the woods.

I won’t post the pictures because they are gross. But over the next two days my toes festered and when the red/purple/ooze/heat/swelling set in I had to go ahead and go find a doctor.

Just for fun I was also tell you my Gorilla Tape fail, which is equally disturbing. (This started a few days back if you recall) I had a nice, normal blister on my foot. I did as instructed by blister experts: cleaned, applied Neosporin, covered with bandage…THEN, in my brilliance I used Gorilla Tape instead of regular duct tape to hold it together. While it protected my blister just fine, it literally pulled the skin off of my ankle where it was attached. My ankle was open meat. Yum.

Doctor visit, diagnosis, etc will be next time. But I will say, the first thing I told him was: I don’t care about the pain, I just need to get where I can get back on the trail. Rawr.

Oh, and despite my protests, I acquired a trail name. Next post also 😉


Hand washing the smelliest clothes ever.


The shit the grew overnight in my water bladders. Trees excluded.


Plotting our next moves at morning camp. Kristy (trail Mom), Jessie, Sally.


Of COURSE this book was in the cabin!