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  • Gillian Larson

Food poisoning


Another unexpected setback once again derailed my plans. On the 7th, I drove to Sisters, Oregon, to spend the night with Shyla at the Graham horse corral nearby and then start on the 8th from Santiam Pass and ride south back toward Crater Lake. My mom was driving on up to Washington to go to a family reunion near Wintrop (not too far from the PCT at Rainy Pass, near the Canadian border), a gathering that I was unfortunately going to miss. I had originally planned to take a break for a week and join everyone at the reunion, but the days that I had to lay Shyla up while she recovered from a minor injury in Redding in June had made we worried that if I took additional time off now I might lose any cushion of safety I had if some other problem slowed us down again. I know that I have to complete the trail before the possibility of snow closing the trail in Washington, and I just felt that I didn't have the luxury of taking a break now.

So after I got Shyla settled at the corral, I was happy to take the short drive into Sisters, where I was looking forward to a good meal. Anything that isn't dehydrated hiker food would have worked, but I had a particular craving for ribs, so I found what seemed to be a nice restaurant and got a seat at the bar and even watched some of the Olympics while I enjoyed my ribs. But not very long after I got back to the campsite, I wasn't enjoying them anymore. I got violently ill, and without going into too much clinical detail, let's just say that every pore of my body was determined to expel every morsel that I had consumed, one way or another. I was sick all night long, crawling out of my tent every 30 minutes or so, and by the morning I was weak and dizzy and dehydrated and still racked with stomach spasms. There was no way I could ride. In fact, I barely managed to drag myself into town that afternoon to try to get some medicine and fluids to help me recover. By the next day, I was no longer getting nauseous, but I was still very weak and not moving fast at all. Still, I knew I had to get on the trail, since I needed to complete this section by the time my mother came back from the reunion. She was going to pick me up by Crater Lake and then I had to take her to Redmond to catch a plane the next afternoon. If I didn't start riding today I would get done in time to meet her, and we didn't have any viable alternative plan. So I drove to the trailhead at Santiam Pass, later in the day than I would have liked, and started riding. I would have some very long days if I was going to get to where I needed to be in time.

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