The 24-Hour Bug (Norovirus as some would call it)
May 15, 2017

I woke feeling nauseous. It had escalated from tossing and turning throughout the night, to running for the nearest tree.  I had no choice but to dig a post emergency cat-hole. Despite my inability to move and complete lack of hunger (the 10-foot-tall, neon light in the world of bad signs), I decided it would pass and began hiking with the group. I made it one mile before I realized this was not going to pass delicately. 

At two miles, I downplayed my discomfort and told the group I would meet them on top of Big Bald for lunch.  This was a landmark I had been looking forward to enjoying with my trail family.  I staggered up one hill and puked from exhaustion.  Then, I plodded downhill and dug cat-holes for the unspeakable.  Every time I saw a rock I leaned against in and closed my eyes. Quick power naps were all I needed. Just get to the top of the next climb. Just around that bend. This pattern persisted, and the landmarks I sought seemed endless. 

I rounded one more of those bends and caught a glimpse of the top of a mountain. Oh no, that can be Big Bald, way up there, in the distance. Sure enough, there were little, tiny people up there. I phoned my hiking partner, Christine, "Hi," I mumbled through sharp breaths. 

"Dude, where are you, how are you doing, we're worried," she fired back.

"Is that Big Bald? Way the hell up there?"

"Yes, I think I know where you are, you're not far you just have a big climb ahead of you." 

"Ya, I can see that," I said with defeat. Christine wanted to back track and set up camp with me at the base of this climb, so I could do it in the morning if I had more energy. This wasn't an option. There's no way I would make her do that kind of a climb twice. After I made clear my plan to join her at the top I pocketed my phone and used both trekking poles to stand from the rock where I rested. 

It wasn't long before I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I saw the camp site she hinted at and I paused, debating setting up camp and encouraging the group to move forward. I'd be able to catch them the next day, or maybe the following day in town…

As if on cue, I heard the familiar sound of boots on trail. I looked up to find Christine heroically bounding down the hillside without her pack. She not only came back down the mountain, she carried my pack back up it. 

I made it to the summit. It was a clear day, but I couldn't tell you about the view. I sat motionless and stared at my feet for hours, attempting to keep down one sip of water at a time. Another gallant friend, Phil, carried my pack the last mile to the shelter. I was exhausted and severely dehydrated for obvious reasons. After a period of rehydration and rest I gradually returned to life. I was extremely lucky to be surrounded by such great friends. 

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