PCT Mile 77.3
I dreamed I was at Urgent Care with my mom, and I had poison oak on the bottoms of my feet. How did we get here, I asked her.
It doesn’t matter honey, she said, we’re here now.
I woke up in agony, crying. My toes hurt so much. I willed my toenails to just fall off already.
We slept in fits and spurts until 6. We were on trail by 7:17. We’ve decided that’s our new get-up time. We’ve been getting up a 5 and pooping out around 3, so we may as well get up as 6 and poop out around 4 instead. Seems reasonable.
We moved slowly and carefully down the trail, my toes screaming with every step. We were almost out of water but we were okay. I bit my tongue, in a literal sense, to focus on something other than my feet. I felt the juices flowing and swallowed.
The valley opened up below us, wide expanses of desert, peppered with swirls of green and trees and suddenly back to bare earth. When we got to the valley floor, the trail was flat and mostly smooth and we were grateful. So many cacti, perfectly groomed into a lovely giant cactus garden, everywhere we looked. The ghosts of garden landscapers just build valleys of cactus gardens when they die.
After a learning curve, we finally hitched a ride from Scissors Crossing with some fantastic guys in a work truck. They took us all the way to the Urgent Care in Ramona where I was diagnosed, unsurprisingly, with an infection in my toes and in my poison oak arm. They gave me antibiotic ointment, oral antibiotics, steroids, and advised I continue Benadryl. They want me to soak my feet at least once a day. They gave us a lightweight plastic bucket. Anji promptly put a hole in the side with her pocketknife and attached it to her pack.
You’ll feel much better in 48 hours. Have a great hike!, the RN said.
And off we went. We walked another 3 miles to a pharmacy, Big 5 to get some braces for Anji’s knees, to get a salad, back to Big 5 to return the braces that didn’t fit, back to the pharmacy for clarification on directions on how to take the steroids, and finally to a hotel to clean up and take care of all of my wounds. We arranged a ride for tomorrow morning to get back to Julian.
Now we are clean and bandaged and antibiotic-ed and feeling content.