Sunday, June 07, 2009

From Ellie's Journal 5/8


I'm nearly as tired as when i went to bed. 15 miles ahead today. everyone's stopping at at Roan Mt. Shelter - at 6255 ft, the highest shelter on the AT.

EVENING Well, we didn't make it to Roan Mountain. It rained all morning, with thunder, though no actual storms. Until the rain and thunder stopped, that is. Then a true windstorm blew in. It was foggy and drizzling (we were in the clouds) with straight-line winds that I'd estimate at 40-45 mph steady with higher gusts. It was horrendous and we were struggling against it going up the steep climbs. The temperature suddenly dropped what must have been 15 degrees and my hands and face were freezing. I was watching and listening for falling trees, and I was short of breath from climbing, and all of a sudden I got one of those damn panic attacks. I rested in the hollow of a dead tree till I was breathing more easily, then started again, telling myself "This is not a heart attack. I've been to the hospital with this and it was a panic attack. I am not dying." Up ahead was a huge boulder with an overhang where several of us hunkered down out of the wind. I dug in my pack and fished out a Xanax tablet. It helped. Withing 15 minutes the panic was gone and I spent the rest of the day in slo-mo.
Gaia, Mossy Brown, and I decided to stop for the day at Clyde Smith shelter, for a nine-mile day. The wind has stopped and it's clearing up, actually turning really nice; but storms are expected to start again later and we'd just as soon not get caught out in it again.
I'm worried about my knee that I banged and scraped yesterday in the fall resulting from the twisted ankle. The ankle was my immediate concern and it didn't worry me that my knee was bleeding. I washed it off, then laced my boot tighter around my twisted ankle and continued on. now my ankle is fine but my knee is swollen, red and hot. damn. A couple of section-hikers, young girls who work in a health food store, gave me some Emergen-C, and i heated water and put hot bandages on it, as well as arnica gel (anti-inflammatory). I don't like the looks of it and neither do Gaia and Mossy Brown, both nurses.
today is sally's 63rd burthday. I taped birthday candles into the sign-in register this morning at Cherry Gap, with a note, gambling that she'll stay there tonight or at least stop in for lunch. I miss her but our goals and hiking styles have turned out to be too different for us to stay together.

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