View Full Version : Too Sick to Hike

2006-03-21, 15:25
So there I was Sunday night getting the kids ready for bed when it hit me. Bang! Chills, headache and sore joints. Couldn't get warm. Went to bed a bit early, coughs, sore, basically felt like schitt. Monday all day propped up in a chair in front of the TV. Tuesday aswell. Starting to feel a bit better, thought I would post this question...

Have you ever been on the trail and been clobbered by a nasty flu, cold or other nasty?

I felt bad enough that I am not sure I could have hiked out of any distance into the backcountry. I read one article about a guy who woke up to a (gulp) twisted testicle...not a fun hike down eh'?

2006-03-21, 15:59
yeah... it's happened to me a couple times, in a small way... mostly due to dehydration and thinking my 41 year old body is still 19, not a bug... i end up 10 miles from anywhere with a killer headache and puking my guts out... last time it happened was about a month ago... a headache hit me when i stopped for lunch. i have tolerance for a lot, but not for any head pain... that's just me. but dumbass that i am, i kept going for another half hour or so, which was actually only a couple miles short of my day's goal anyway. so i drank some water, set up my hammock and laid down for a couple hours. got up and puked. laid down again. got up and drank the rest of my water. laid down again, then got up and treated a couple more quarts... basically, i just took it real easy the rest of the day... took about 4 hours from initial stop to treating the water... i felt really bad... in the morning, i felt better but was still really weak. i walked back out a couple miles, and lo and behold, at a road intersection, was lucky enough to find some horse campers. stranger still, i knew one of them! she gave me a ride back to my car. i could have made it back under my own power, but it would have been a long, miserable day... even though i felt a lot better having slept as much as i did, i thought it prudent to get a ride vs falling over sick again... the bad thing about that area (a national forest service piece of land) is that there's always a lot of people around... but i've discovered that's a good thing sometimes...

i've been WAY back in the smokies when it happened too (about 7 years ago)... i just treated the symptoms, drank a lot, gritted my teeth, and reached down into my intestinal fortitude for the strength to go on... and made it...

if i did more exercise in the off season, that would probably help... i'm not overweight, i just don't run 5 miles a day anymore... i work at a desk. nice enough job, but not good for my health... the army was healthier...

i think you have to make your decision based on how you feel... if i was that bad off, i'd sit tight... you won't starve to death, and chances are you don't feel much like eating anyway... water is the biggie, and i learned that purifying is WAY easier than pumping... i'm not sure i could have pumped a gallon of water that day one day... but i damn sure could lay there while my couple quarts purified themselves... if you feel just a little bad, you can try walking out until you feel worse... then hole up...

still wouldn't want to go through a torsed nut though... wife went through that with an ovary about 18 years ago... looked like it really sucked... can only imagine how bad it would have been to have to walk...

i did a research paper in military school once, about 25 years ago... lots of my instructors were vietnam vets... i was studying battlefield stress for ROTC class. they all said adrenalin takes over and you do what you need to do in a crisis... being physically fit helps, but it isn't the end-all... sometimes, the adrenalin just kicks in and enables you to survive things (like one SF guy, a MSG in 1983/84... shot down and severely burned in a chopper crash... pulled himself out of the wreckage while somewhat on fire, killed the guys who were shooting at him and further wounded him, but himself out, and then walked/crawled 5 miles to safety with a couple AK rounds in his legs...)

so, hole up if you have to, crawl when you can...

2006-03-21, 16:33
Before I was finally diagnosed with Malaria in 1971, I came down with it about 7-8 miles up in the Los Padres Nat forest. One moment I was fine; 80+degrees out, sweaty from hiking uphill all day, poured a hatfull of spring water over my head and got chills and a psychedelic headache so bad I couldn't stand up. Alternated chills and soaking in sweat all that night. The only time I actually got inside and zipped up my 0 degree down bag the whole time I lived in Califionia.
My hiking buddies packed out my bag, kitchen gear and water. I carried my empty pack. It was a good thing it was all down hill back to the car.

2006-03-21, 18:03
Yeah, I picked up a case of Giardia somewhere in Quebec during my IAT southbound hike. Not pleasant at all, and I didn't have a severe case. Nasty Flu like symptoms and of course, the screaming runs. I walked about 20 miles that day in very hot and humid conditions. At the time I was convinced I had West Nile or Lyme. I actually recovered in a couple of days, but the nature of Giardia is that it is a recurring thing. So I had a couple of weeks where I was able to hike, but was only functioning at around 70 per cent, never feeling really horrible, but certainly never feeling good either. It wasn't diagnosed until I'd been home two months.



2006-03-21, 21:07
On the Drakensberg in Lesotho, on top of the range, I discovered that there is a problem with the cartilage of my knees, and my pack was divided between the group so that I could hobble out from a four-day trip.

On Lake Texoma, TX, in summer last year, I came down with something akin to heat exhaustion, despite drinking water (Elete-treated) steadily. It was about 100F even in the shade. I have NO idea what we were thinking. We aborted that trip, my pack was carried for me, and I hiked out two miles in the evening - and even the wind felt hot.

Those were outstanding failures.

2006-03-22, 01:58
A few years back, as my buddy and I were attempting a steep side hill approach thru forest to a lake which doesn't really have a trail, we got stuck on the sidehill. Couldn't go forward, up, down... Should have been a two to three hour trek...No water on the steep hill. We ran out of water. I had hydrated to the maximum for the last hour of our car ride approach. I am always sure to drink as much as possible prior to any hike. My buddy did not. We thought we would be at our destination lake, fishing, and purifying water. Instead we were stuck on the side of a mountain, very steep, a 90degree day.

It took us twelve hours to find a route out, and physically get back to our car. The last four hours, my buddy collapsed atleast a dozen times from dehydration. He was majorly dehydrated. I had to basically lift him up each time, he could walk, but couldnt get up... The car never looked so good in the moonlight. I always keep lots of water and gatorade in the car. We never made it to the lake. This last summer, I took a day to start cutting a trail into the lake, my friend said he didnt want to go on this trip again...

2006-03-22, 03:01
I have been very lucky to avoid diseases and dehydration during hikes.
But I have had multiple occurences of
Tibial stress syndrom.
Metatarsal Stress Fractures.
And these nuisances only hurts

I never hiked any longer distance without water. Sometimes our water has run out and therefore I've suffered minor dehydration. But I have never collapsed. Even when hiking where water is plenty we always carry at least 2L of drinking water because we have often experienced that there is good water and there is bad water and I would not like to get sick due to bad water if I'm already dehydrated.

I've had a lot of fellow hikers collapsing on me, mostly due to dehydration or pain. Dehydration is a huge danger since the patient, if it's hot, also very easily contracts heatstroke.
In 1994 we hiked in 42C and a humidity of 96%, a teammember collapsed due to dehydration. We couldn't get him to hold any water since he also had heatstroke and puked up the water as fast as we got it in him. Fortunately there were at team of medics 1-2km ahead and they had ice-bags and IVs.
He survived, but he were so very close . . . . .

2006-03-22, 20:05
While I've never had a dehydration problem while hiking (I normally carry 3 liters) I have been in situations where it would have been easy to become dehydrated or succum to heat stroke.

When I was working in Atlanta for a fiber optic company I would go out with the trucks sometimes to help run cable. The trucks normally had a 3 man crew.

In the summer the temperatures would go over 100 F and the humidity would be in the high 90's. Working over top the city streets it would be hotter.

In the morning I would fill a 15 gal. cooler with ice water. By noon we would have drunk the entire cooler. We would go to lunch cool down and drink a sports drink. After lunch we would refill the cooler and go back to work. We would empty the cooler at least once during the afternoon, sometimes we would refill it and nearly empty it again.
We would normally stop for another sports drink on the way in.

This made at least 10 gal. of water each man would drink during the day.
We wouldn't need to use the restroom during the day.
We sweated it out.
I don't want to do that anymore.

2006-04-03, 02:15
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Woods Walker
2006-04-10, 01:14
I was camping last winter and got sick. Felt like a goose if you know what I mean. Was lucky in that I had a heated shelter and could curl up by the wood stove and wait for the next time nature called. One of the few times I felt happy that the hammock was not used. But still the freezing rain on my back side was just no fun.