Surviving the Trail While Sick
Let's face it, when you're out for weeks/months at a time, odds are at some point you may get sick. In 2015 when my husband and I were on the Appalachian Trail in February, I ended up with the flu in 10 degree weather... in a blizzard! My husband and I thought it would be romantic to go out for Valentine's Day and his birthday, the day after (poor guy), and have a brisk week-long trek. The trail was stunning, mountains and trees covered in snow, and we were making good distance (about 10 miles a day). Unfortunately, the last two days of the trip took an unwelcoming turn, I got the flu. Not just cough and cold, I'm talking full on fever and flu... I'm trying to spare you some of the details.
Of course, I had nothing packed for this situation. I felt great before leaving for the trek, so this wasn't a thought that had passed through my mind. So I put together a list of things to do to help while you're in the woods and under the weather.
Stay hydrated! The last thing I wanted to do was to be drinking anything. I felt like bundling up and sleeping forever. Especially being up in the mountains and the amount of activity we were doing, it was very important to focus on my water intake.
Stay warm! We were out in a blizzard in 10 degree weather, so I bundled up in my sleeping bag and try to stay as warm as possible. We did start a fire, but I found being in the tent out of the cold air was best. I put layers of clothes on and used hot hands for my hands and feet. I also put one in my hat to keep my head and ears warm.
Get rest - as much as humanly possible! The only time I got up was to drink water and to stretch a bit.
Keep stretched! I was already sore from hiking, but on top of it my joints were extremely sore from being sick. I took time for chest openers and general stretches to try and work out some of the knots.
Stay positive/meditate. I was really having a rough time, thinking the worst through the night. Taking time to clear my head not only helped me get rest but took my mind off of getting sick.
If you do have the chance to stay put, try to rest the next couple days and get well before hiking out or continuing. We had to hike back to the car the next day because of the blizzard, so if you don't have another option, stay warm!
A once very sick,
Back Country Momma