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AT 2017: Day 116, Homes Road to Tom Leonard Shelter

So I asked my family doctor 'bout what I had

Hike with Gravity

If I were able to pick a time and place to get sick while on the trail, this would be it. No one wants to get sick, of course, but when I did, I was fortunate to be in a town and with some good friends. Good friends with a car.

Thanks to the hotel’s WiFi, I was able to research enough to know I should get checked out for Lyme disease.

I didn’t have all of the symptoms and I never saw a rash, but a rash isn’t always present with the disease. Nausea isn’t a common symptom, either, but it can be associated with some tick-borne illnesses.

Weather Cloudy, then becoming stormy most of the afternoon
Trail Conditions An ascent over wet rocks and roots
Today's Miles 3.6 miles
Trip Miles 1,527.0 miles

With the WiFi I was also able to find a walk-in clinic in nearby Pittsfield, and a plan began to be formed.

After eating breakfast at the hotel, John and Sherri took Stick and me to a Price Chopper grocery store so that we could resupply for the next few days.

Next, they dropped me off at the urgent care clinic, then John and Sherri took Stick back to the trailhead south of Great Barrington.

I was able to see a doctor soon after I arrived. She said a blood test would be needed to confirm Lyme disease, but the results would not be known for several days.

She also wrote for me a prescription for Doxycycline Hyclate, an antibiotic. I could start taking them now if I wished, she told me, or I could wait until the results of the test were known. I didn’t like the idea of taking medication without a diagnosis, so I decided to just fill the prescription and carry the pills with me, but not take them until I learned of the test results.

John and Sherri made the long drive back from dropping off Stick, arriving soon after a pharmacist filled my prescription.

By now it was nearly noon, so in order to not spend much more time off the trail, we stopped for a quick lunch at Subway in Great Barrington. Then John and Sherri returned me to the trail.

Rain began to fall while we were still in town, but it quit by the time we reached the trailhead.

I attempted to thank Sherri and John for their kindness and generosity, but that couldn’t be done adequately. Driving from Indiana to Massachusetts, putting Stick and me up in a nice hotel, buying dinner for us, as well as for Dory and Splat, then shuttling us around this morning. These extraordinary acts of caring from special friends were just what I needed at just the right time.

My return to the trail didn’t start well. The trail immediately made a steep climb up a rocky ledge.

Then the rain returned.

Then the rain became a thunderstorm.

All of this happened in the first mile.

I stopped at a rock ledge and soon some other hikers arrived. There wasn’t much of a view from here, thanks to low-hanging clouds, but at least the rain had stopped.

And then the rain returned.

This pattern repeated itself a couple more times, and all the while the temperature dropped.

The time wasn’t yet 4 p.m. when I arrived at Tom Leonard Shelter. I hadn’t even walked four miles today, but I decided I was done.

I tried to get my tent set up before the rain started again, but heavy rain began falling just as I was finishing.

With that I crawled into my tent to warm up, and only came out about an hour later to cook dinner and hang my bear bag.

I didn’t feel sick and was encouraged by my doctor visit to think I didn’t have Lyme disease.

All in all, it was a good day, but only hiking 3.6 miles was not a good result. I’ll have to do better tomorrow.

Well I was feelin' so bad
So I asked my family doctor 'bout what I had
I said now doc (doctor)
Mister MD (doctor)
Oh can you tell me (doctor)
What's ailing me (doctor)


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine." ref.