Dulcigal updated her journal on June 29th. She really enjoyed her hike halfway through the Shenandoah National Park. The mountain terrain was easier, the views were different, and lots of camp stores along the way made food options more appealing. She began to pick up the pace, averaging from 18 to 22 miles a day, She especially loved the wildlife including deer and bears.
Unfortunately, the hike took a different turn at 4:00 Sunday morning, June 19th. Dulci was safely tenting near the Pinnacles Picnic Area (around mile 936 on the Appalachian Trail) when she began to feel very ill. In her journal she write:
“I was awakened by a horrible pain in my back. Fortunately nearby, another hiker was tenting who had a car. He took me to Page Memorial Hospital ER in Luray, VA – the closest hospital. The doctor confirmed it was a kidney stone, prescribed pain medicine and I was on my way to hiking again. I took Sunday off and rested at a local hotel. By Tuesday, June 21st, my conditioned worsened and was shuttled back to the ER. The stone had blocked my kidney causing kidney and liver failure and septic shock. Page Memorial sent me via ambulance to Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (45 minutes away to Harrisburg, VA). I was in ICU for 2 days and then a med/surge floor for 3 days. I was one very sick hiker. Family was able to come and be with me during those difficult days.”
Dulcigal was discharged from the hospital and has made her way back to her home in Georgia. She seems to be in such good spirits, reflecting a positive response to the trauma on the trail. She concludes her post with a perspective of hope and faith.
“It was a long 2 day ride back to GA after being discharged on Sunday, June 26th. I am slowly recovering, but daily getting stronger. I met with my Doctor today, who is an avid hiker and plans to hike the PCT some day, who believes I can finish the hike…but only after 2 to 3 weeks of proper rest and recovery. The CAT scan shows I have 2 kidneys full of stones, so I will have to be careful, but life goes on and with God’s blessings, the hike will continue. Thank you to all of you who have been praying.
Throughout the entire ordeal, I could feel God’s presence and knew that I was in His care. The fervent prayers of the Saints…God is so good. ….. I will keep you all posted as to when, where and how the hike will continue!!!”
As Dulci continues to post in her online journal, I will keep you abreast of her decision making. Meanwhile, join me in praying for her complete recovery and a time of reflection with her friends and family.