Tolmie Peak, Mt. Rainier National Park
Being prepared comes in many shapes and forms. When you are outdoors all the time, you learn what it takes to be both comfortable and safe. Eventually you learn to do things better. This past weekend was one of those learning experiences.
What Led to Illness
Day 1~ We had just spent the day at the Crystal Lakes area of Mt. Rainier on the park boundary where it meets up with the PCT. The temperatures were climbing as we hiked over 6 miles and at least 3000′ of elevation gain. The lakes, just being melted out, were a welcome relief to our feet. We replenished our water at Upper Crystal Lakes using a pump filtration system.
Day 2~ Heading over to Mowich Lake at the NW boundary of Rainier, we set-up our camp and decided on a lovely evening hike to have dinner. Again, the lake was a fun spot to dip our feet, take in some evening stretches and a few fun Pilate moves and Yoga. We filtered more water at lovely Eunice Lake before heading out for a spectacular sunset using a gravity filtration system and then boiled water before using it to soak our dehydrated meals.
Day 3~ Overnight things were a bit windy. As I shook off my morning, thinking that my sleepiness had more to do with a flapping tent than illness. As we headed to Spray Park we decided to have lunch at a small tarn. Again, a great place to soak our feet. We had a few hard boiled eggs that were left in ice overnight in the bear locker. Also filtered water using a pump system opting for a small creek rather than the tarn that had some sediment floating on the water.
After lunch, it was truly a struggle for me to get back to camp. I felt like I was pushing myself and not really fully enjoying all that surrounded me. I hardly spoke and I felt I was turning inward and shutting down mentally.
We arrived home some time around 3 pm, said our goodbyes, holding back my internal cranky mode as it was in full tilt by then. My husband and I had had chicken skewers and salad for dinner.
The next day still feeling unsettled, with no energy I went to bed early only to be shook awake by horrible stomach cramps.
Food Poisoning or Drinking Water?
I spent the next 6 hours vomiting with diarrhea. At some point it was so uncontrollable and unstoppable. My husband contemplated taking me to the hospital but I couldn’t get up off the bathroom floor long enough before I had to rid my body both ends. I couldn’t crawl or walk.
After that night, I had little to eat for 3 days. I drank only soda water with ice, later some pudding and jello.
Yesterday I went to the doctor after finally being able to keep fluids down and feeling somewhat recovered. I honestly was looking for answers more than anything. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary that myself or my friends ate or that we all drank or shared. I wanted to know if I needed further tests if it could be something else. She assured me if I was getting better to continue to rest and drink plenty of water. She thought it was probably tied to the egg.
Recovery Day 5 and Research
Today I feel better but I am still unsure about my filtration system. I’ve researched cleaning and bleaching before storage and I feel I may have gotten a little sloppy with the care but I’ve hiked for 14 days in succession before with having no ill effects and not bleaching or drying. Knowing I am just filtering bacteria is one thing and I do understand to fully be safe the use of a viral treatment such tablets or a Steripen is optimal.
This leads up to the egg. Research says eggs do not last at room temperature past two hours.
You decide. Was it the egg or the water?