Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 15. What a day!

232.5 to 239.9

Hiking up Mission Creek, Pathfinder and Susan caught up with me at my first rest stop.  Apparently they had camped less than a mile away though I hadn't seen them at all the previous day.  Pathfinder was nearly in tears- she said she still wasn't feeling well, had been getting worse, and had just thrown up.  She said she might have a fever and was nauseous, but didn't know what it was.  Altitude, dehydration, a virus, something else?  It was hard to figure out, and the prospect that she could get even worse was scary.
Pathfinder resting in the shade.
We were in the middle of a long roadless section, lots of climbing and 20 miles behind us to the Whitewater Preserve.  But 6 miles and a 3000 foot climb to the Mission Springs Camp which our maps showed had water, parking, and picnic tables.  So we decided to keep going and maybe find some picnickers to give her a ride to town to see a doctor.

The climbing was slow but Pathfinder was very determined.  She was sweating a lot and the getting really chilled on the breaks.  She kept upbeat and moving forward which was great.

At Mission Springs, there were no people with cars as we'd hoped.  Pathfinder was looking worse and we were concerned because she was not getting better.  Pathfinder used her inreach satellite receiver to text her dad to see if trail angels Ziggy and the Bear knew anyone who could gve us a ride.  
Pathfinder wondering what to do.
But long story short, there was a miscommunication, rescue helicopters arrived and circled overhead, a rescuer belayed down, and two rescue vehicles also arrived.  Not what we'd asked for at all.  Yes we asked for a ride but helicopters were overkill.  
Helicopter and rescuer belaying down to assist.
With all the craziness, Pathfinder was scared and asked that I go with her to town, so we went down to Big Bear City with the county sheriff.  We apologized profusely, but they said the whole thing was good practice anyway for them and that these things happen with overly concerned parents and they were just glad everything was ok.
My first ride in the back of a police vehicle.  Crazy!
After getting Pathfinder to the hotel across the street from the doctors, I walked to the hostel since we didn't know if Pathfinder was contagious.  I was fortunate to get the last bed at the Big Beat Hostel, rooming with Granny- thank you Sarge for the room and thanks to Granny for sharing the room with me!

In the common area, the Professor and a couple were sitting around, and Sarge (the caretaker at the hostel) brought in a pie to thank the couple for helping out.  As we sat around sharing pie (gosh was I hungry!), they asked me about Pathfinder's illness, the rescue helicopters, and the communication problems in getting help. I was a bit reluctant to tell the story because it was so embarrassing that we needed to get rescued, but it also felt good to tell the story.  Especially since everyone was so familiar with the area and knew just what a remote place it was.  They kept asking me lots of questions- I guess I had a big story!

I asked everyone about how to get back to that location to pick up the PCT where I left off.  I sat there flipping through my maps as we spoke.  It was important to me to get back to the trail, but it was so remote I knew it would be a challenge to get there.  That road we took with the sheriff was long and bumpy.  I hoped someone at the hostel could help me with my logistical problem of getting to the trail.

At some point in the conversation, I realized I had forgotten to get everyone's name.  The woman introduced herself as Deb.  The guy I'd been talking to said his name was Halfmile.  WOW!!!!  I couldn't believe I'd been talking to Halfmile, the well-known hiker who provides the electronic maps of the PCT for free to the hiking community- the very maps I was nervously flipping through!  It was so incredibly amazing to be getting help with my route from Halfmile!  He pulled up the side trail I'd learned about from the Count at Mission Springs on Gaia GPS, and walked me through downloading the Halfmile tracks to load into Gaia GPS on my iPhone, so I would have those as well as the cached maps for the side trail that would take me to PCT mile 242.  I knew I could get back to the trail with those maps and tracks!  Thank you so much Halfmile!  
Using GaiaGPS to find a way back to the PCT.
Then I talked to Granny and she said she could give me a ride the next morning to the Heart Bar Campground to pick up the side trail.  I was so amazed at her generosity.  To top it off, Princess came in and we talked and she gave me her leftover pizza since I hadn't had dinner with all the excitement.  Thank you Princess!

What an adventure and I was so grateful everything had worked out with getting Pathfinder to safety and even though I had gotten off the trail unexpectedly, it gave me the opportunity to meet one of the incredible people in the hiking community.  WOW!!


  1. Wow is right! When you have an adventure you have an ADVENTURE. Hope everything works out for Pathfinder. Keep enjoying the journey!

    1. It sure was more adventure than we bargained for. Happy to say Patfinder is feeling better after the antibiotics kiced in- doctor said it was a nasty stomach bug.

  2. Wow, what a story! I hope Pathfinder gets better soon and can meet up with you again somewhere down the trail.

    1. It worked out well. I met up with her back in town for the snow storm.

  3. You did right to call in the troops! It could have been life threatening. Thanks for staying with Pathfinder. In the wilderness any physical distress might be an emergency.

    1. Thanks- yes it really was good that Pathfinder got off the mountain when she did. The hike out would have been really tough and I don't know if she would have had any energy the next day if we'd stayed up there because she couldn't eat anything....

  4. You did right to call in the troops! It could have been life threatening. Thanks for staying with her.