We’re still in Andover, ME at the Pine Ellis Hostel. Yesterday, we decided to slackpack ten miles (carry only the necessities of the day because a shuttle would pick us up at the end of the day and we would return to the hostel.) Six miles into our hike, I started getting diareaha. We descended into Sawyer’s Notch and I took by backpack off to splash water on my face. At this point I was fighting off throwing up and the cool water offered some relief, but as I stood up I tweaked my back and could not stand upright. So here we are at the lowest point of the trail staring a steep climb out of the notch and I can’t straighten my back and I’m drooling ready to throw-up. Paula asked whether we should press the button on our emergency beacon for a helicopter pick-up but said I wanted to try to make it out. We had four miles to go including that monstrous climb. I prayed for God’s strength and was finally able to stand upright in pain. We started climbing and every step was painful and my energy was so drained that I literally would take one step and stop, another stop and drool, another step and wince. Well we made it out and back to the hostel where I collapsed in bed and proceeded to throw-up repeatedly. I have never felt so weak. Later in the evening, Paula got the bug and started throwing up in bed. Apparentely, there is a bug that hikers are getting somewhere between Gorham, NH and Andover, ME. Many have been sick and we were no exception. Today, I’m starting to feel better. I still have the sweats, but I’m eating. Paula has started to eat dry toast but isn’t moving much from bed. We’ll take tomorrow off as well and try to hit the trail again on Thursday. My back is still tender and I’m concerned about carrying a full pack on Thursday. We only have about 230 miles to go so we’re close but we need strength. Paula lost so much weight during this hike that she is quite frail and she just lost another five pounds going through the Whites. I had hoped that by slackpacking we could have a light day of hiking and then eat well to put on some weight, but instead we’re doing the opposite. Please pray for strength and perseverence. We’re determined to make it.
Note: While Paula and I are out on the trail, several volunteers are helping me post content here. We thank you for the support you're expressing in the comments, although our sporadic Internet access doesn't allow us to reply immediately to everyone.