All I got for Christmas was this damn Giardia

It’s been two days since I attempted to summit San Gorgonio in five feet of snow and I’m still crying anytime I attempt to go up or down any amount of stairs. I honestly don’t remember the last time my quads hurt this bad but that could be what happens after you try to walk a thousand feet straight up a mountain in five feet of snow.Giardia

Also, I might have Giardia. Merry Christmas to me!

No this is not a horrible sounding Christmas fable. If there is one thing no one wants during the holiday season it is coming down with the flu or any major sickness. Nothing says happy holidays like crying on the toilet. Coming down with a raging case of Giardia would be way worse than any common cold or flu. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Santa does not deliver a case of Giardia to The Hungry Mountaineer this holiday season after I had to do the ultimate wilderness culture no-no yesterday and drink from a crystal clear creek on my seven hour-long trek up San Gorgonio, the highest mountain peak in Southern California.

I’m an expert hiker and I have no good excuse for not packing enough water for an eight hour day on my feet on the trail. It’s kind of embarrassing that I had to give in and drink from High Creek three miles below San Gorgonio’s summit.

I made an untrue assumption when planning this hike a few days back, that even if I packed light and didn’t bring my camelback two-liter bladder and just packed one Camelback water bottle I would be able to refill with melting snow as I hiked higher and higher into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The issue with this fantastic plan of mine was the temperature never got out of the 40s (The high was supposed to be 52) and as the overcast skies stuck around all day, threatening snow at any moment the ice and snow in my camelback refused to melt, nope not all. It was a gorgeous day out on the snowy trails under a grey overcast ski and my little dog and I had a blast hiking up and down the trails of the San Gorgonio Wilderness but I highly regret my choice not to pack more water for this trip.Giardia

Of course, I realized I was in a very bad and very thirsty water situation just past High Creek Camp after I hiked straight up about ten switchbacks that were completely buried in five feet of snow. I don’t think it counts as cutting switchbacks, which I never do if you can’t see them under the winter’s snowfall, right? Suffice to say after hiking straight uphill about a thousand feet, I chugged my remaining water because I was dying I was so exhausted and thirsty. This was when I had the great idea to use my vest as a sled to go back down the vertical section of the trail. Maybe I was just dehydrated and not thinking correctly, but this idea was not a great one. I tried sliding down the mountain on the snowshoe trail just below the ridgeline but my ass is so bony I felt like I was going to break my tailbone.

So its now day two after I drank the crystal clear creek water and as we sit here waiting for Santa and his reindeer this Christmas holiday season, I’m also waiting to see if I come down with Giardia anytime soon. Hopefully, this will be just like the time I thought I had bedbugs a few Christmas’s ago while traveling through India. So here is to a happy and healthy holiday season with no intestinal infections in sight!

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