Bed bugs and the Bates Motel
Appalachian Trail – August 31st, 1013
I failed to mention that one of the highlights of the Eliza Brook experience was the discovery of my bed bug bights. At least I think they were bed bugs, according to reader input I received later. I had been itching all the way out of town, and lifted my shirt at the shelter to ask if there was a bite on my back. The gasps of horror immediately resulted in the request that a picture be taken by me, and below is the result. That little bad bug had a feast! I was asked not to include the picture in my blog, but I could not resist. It was a memorable part of the hike.
The rash really itched when I got up the next morning, but I basically just ignored it. I had vast amounts of experience in Poison Ivy, and these little bites paled in comparison to the itch from Evil Ivy. The difference with the bites was that I had never gotten poison ivy on my back, under a pack, while hiking. Thirty minutes into hiking, I was squirming and trying to shift the pack off the bites. The burning sensation was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, so I decided to change plans and head for relief.
I continued on down to Kinsman Notch, passing at least 15 NOBO's slack packing up the mountain. They were all in good spirits, and wearing interesting outfits. My personal favorite was the fella with the water cannon, wearing the pink furry hat. He grinned and winked at me as he practically ran up the mountain. I decided he was either a lot of fun, or very obnoxious to hike with. My guess was probably a little of both.
I made it down to the road in Kinsman Notch, where I waited for a shuttle I had called. Getting dropped off in town, I made my way down to the Rite-Aid. I walked back to the pharmacy and asked for something for my bites/rash. The pharmacist asked what kind of rash I had, and I twirled around, while lifting my shirt at the same time. “Good gosh girl,” she said. I felt this a rash appropriate response, and just said “yeah, it itches.” I could tell the other customers were trying to sneak a peek, and quickly dropped the shirt. The pharmacist recommended Allegra and Calamine lotion. I grabbed both and headed to get my pack, paid, and stuffed all the medication in my pack pockets. I could actually feel the extra ounces. I was already debating the need to keep the Calamine lotion. Any extra ounces to carry had to be an absolute emergency. Weight is critical on these hikes, and I began to obsess over the weight as I began the search for food.
I finally found Gypsy Cafe, and the lunch menu looked good, so I entered and asked to bring in my pack. Some establishments had no pack issues, but others could sometimes be a little prickly. The backpack was a little large, and a little stinky. I ordered two lunches and sat eating while I watched it absolutely pour outside. It was definitely not weather I wanted to hike back out in, and it was getting late.
I could not stay at the bedbug motel again, so I began calling around for another motel. Being Labor Day Weekend, there was not much vacancy, but I finally found a room at the Parker's Motel, very similar to the Bate's Motel in both name and ambiance. But it was empty, clean, and on the way back out to the trail.
I settled in for the evening, ordered more food, and watched TV while flash flood warnings ran across the top of the TV screen. It was good to not be back out in the rain on the mountain. It was also good to be able to shower and try and apply my medicine to my back, with strange, awkward yoga moves. I packed and relaxed for the evening. Everything was ready to go, and I would be heading out early.