PCT Day 120 – Friday August 11
Ashland Mile 1716.7 to Pilot Rock Viewpoint Tentsite Mile 1721.9
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 5.1
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1271.7
Feet Ascended Today: 1432
Feet Descended Today: 615
Current Elevation: 5181
I planned to hike out of Ashland around mid-morning after spending some time updating my blog. But my body had other plans for me. When I woke up I found that my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms had returned. They were mild symptoms, but I knew that I had to take fast action to prevent them from getting worse. Damn! There went my plans for the morning.
If you recall from this blog post, I was prescribed 3 medications from my gastroenterologist to help control the symptoms of my most recent flare-up. The most obnoxious of the medications, the enemas, I only had to take for a couple of weeks until my acute symptoms improved. I had stopped taking the enemas two nights ago because the two weeks were up. The doctor warned me, however, that if the symptoms returned I’d have to go back on the enemas. Boo.
The medication is not one that is typically stocked by pharmacies. My local pharmacy in Seattle has to special order it for me, which usually takes a few days. So I was worried that I’d be stuck in Ashland for a couple of days waiting for the medication. Blarg! I was pretty bummed out by this prospect.
I was on the phone with RiteAid at 8:00 am, which was the closest pharmacy and, coincidentally, the one that opened earliest. And, oh happy day, they actually had the medication in stock! Apparently someone else had ordered it and never picked it up. I’ve never been so happy about having to put medicine into my butt. It’s what’s allowing me to continue hiking the PCT.
I took a cab over to RiteAid in the early afternoon to pick up the medication. I got 4 weeks worth of enemas. Whew! That’s a lot of unpleasantness. I could only carry 1 week’s worth of medication at a time, so I spent the next couple of hours figuring out where I should mail the 3 other boxes of medication to myself. This is tricky, as there are several forest fires raging in Oregon right now that are closing sections of the trail. Now I will be locked into arriving at certain places by specific dates. That makes me nervous but I don’t have much of a choice.
I was about to call a cab again when a lady walked up to me. “Are you a through hiker?” she asked.
“Yes ma’am,” I said.
“Would you like a ride back to the trailhead?”
I couldn’t believe my luck. Soon I was headed back to the trailhead in her car. She was super nice, the quintessential mom, and told me about her son who hiked the PCT last year. Now she is a Trail Angel for PCT hikers.
It was about 4:00 pm when I hit the trail. I planned to hike 8 or 9 miles but I stopped at 5.1 miles. There was a lovely vista of Pilot Rock and, if it wasn’t so smoky from forest fires, the vista would’ve extended to the mountains beyond. I’m pretty sure Mt. Shasta was hiding behind the haze. I settled in with some other hikers and enjoyed the evening.
What a great end to my day. I was so bummed out in the morning, convinced I’d be stuck in Ashland for a couple of days. But everything turned out ok and now I’m back on the trail. Onward to Canada!