I wake, turn my foot, and pain shoots up my leg. WTF??!! I inspect my ankle and it’s bruised and swollen. I have a 4G connection, so I start Googling. It’s either a sprain, tendentious, or gout.


My Google MD recommends rest. If I have to rest anywhere, at least I’m at the club med of the PCT. It’s beautiful and lush with wild mint scenting the air. There is plenty of water, up the trail are bathrooms, and I have a phone signal. I spend the day dipping my leg into the cold creek.


Resting under my umbrella

It’s about 4pm and my leg is not having a miraculous recovery. I consider living at the creek for the next 5 days and then get concerned that I’m also losing my mind a bit. This spot has a lot of day hikers and I flag down three guys on their way to their car and ask for a ride. They are heading to Big Bear after they stop for a snack at a nearby malt shop and are happy to take me with them. Perfect!


I get to Big Bear in one piece (I was white knuckling it as the driver was cutting through the curves on the edge of a cliff) and have them deposit me at the health clinic, which is closed, so I hobble over to the ER. I get an x-ray and an ultrasound. They don’t know what the problem is, but want to give me crutches and hydrocodone… and tell me they are sorry my hike is over. Huh? My hike isn’t over.


I get a cab to Motel 6. I get a room, ice, and elevate my foot.