I wake before everyone else. I have less than half a liter of water left. I shove everything in my pack and stumble out of camp. My leg sears with hot pain, but I ignore it. I'm still waking up while I walk, my vision still blurry. Then it hits me, I gotta poop something fierce and it's hard to find a place in such an exposed area. But I do, and I dig my hole and I pack out my paper.
I can feel my wound tingling and throbbing. I try not to worry about it, but it doesn't look good at all. For days, DG has been talking about visiting his grandma and possibly getting a ride from a public picnic area about 10 miles away. Everyone else wants to do it, but I was undecided. Now I am decided. I need to get off trail to care for this. It's bad.
I find the water source, it's a cool and gently running creek. I sit down to filter water, clean my leg and eat some food. I'm there for about an hour. I'm demoralized and feeling slow. Slowly the rest of Team No Trust shows up. They check on me and we all do our morning chores together.
We set off into the growing heat. I feel relived that I've chosen to stay at grandmas with DG and everyone else. The trail grows more and more hot as the day progresses.
As I round a corner I find a huge rock wall that spooks me, it's another dam. I find everyone under some shade by a bridge. We sit there for a long time before pressing on into the heat again.
The climb out is so humid and hot. I begin pouring sweat and all the plants scrape and grab at my hurt leg. DG tells all of us his uncle will be picking us up at the picnic area tonight at 6pm. Yes!
Its only 5 miles to the picnic area, but it's the longest 5 miles of my life. A lake glitters nearby and people swim while we suffer. How is it so hot?
DG and I collapse into some shade, we both were feeling the edge of heat exhaustion. I sit with my pack still on, panting in a delirium and sipping my hot water.
"Why is this so hard?" I say to no one.
The others hang back, I decide to press on. I just want this to be over.
I make it. And I throw all my things on the cool concrete and collapse onto one of the picnic tables.
We lounge for several hours. Medicine Man, Meatloaf and Rocksteady show up. We all swat away black flies.
My leg throbs so painfully. I wince when I stay and move around.
Eventually his uncle arrives and we all load up in his big truck. The ride puts me into a daze.
We pull into a small community of fancy double wide trailers and DGs tiny grandma greets all of us as though we're he own grand children. We scatter on her living room floor, with sodas and water.
Everyone encourages me to be the first to shower, so I can fully clean my leg. It's terribly painful and it really brings my morale down.
Mince clean I curl up on the soft carpet and fall asleep. When I wake there's Chinese food and ice cream. We all sit and eat happily.
Slowly I am realizing I'm going to need to get off trail to stave off infection. I apply antibiotic cream and it weeps profusely. I bandage it before I crawl into my sleeping bag on the floor. Worry washes over me and then, I slip into black sleep.