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Ouachita Trail Day 7 – Allergic reaction and the Bluebell

I had been having a mile allergic reaction so something in Trail, and when I woke up it had just blown up. My entire face was swollen and my eyes were extremely puffy. It was a bad look for me. I do a lot better when people can see my full eyes instead of a thin window of visibility between the puffiness of the top and bottom eyelid. I looked real bad. While hiking Maggie and I equated it to a character in Harry Potter when a spell goes wrong and their face explodes. I guess today my trail name is Dudley Dursley.

We hiked in the morning under clear skies. The terrain was mild and we saw two other thru hikers getting water at one of the many streams and rivers we crossed. Our goal was Story, Arkansas and with my new face configuration, I was leaning toward a hotel room and trying to figure out my malady. The Ouachita Trail is an amazingly constructed trail and even more so when the creativity is acknowledged. Every spot where a bridge crossing of a stream or river is needed, the trail joins a road for a quarter mile and uses the already constructed bridge. I am sure this saved time and money in building the trail.

Now my less pretty face was not the only thing wrong with our duo. Maggie could barely walk on the bloody blisters that leaked puss with every step. We were a sad group for being an aspiring power couple in the outdoor industry. I could barely see and Maggie could barely walk. I swear that hiking is glamorous! We stopped twice on our 17 miles for the day, called ahead to the Bluebell Cafe and had a ride waiting for us! I swear I have impressed Maggie so much between the cooking at night, coffee in the morning, arranging rides, and even finding her a new sleeping bag. I fear I may have set the bar too high.

We got a ride with a nice older gentleman to the Bluebell cafe and had a burger and tots. It was the old fashion grease dripping burger that you dream about. One of the best burgers I have had any where on the trail! By this point my face had gotten so bad that Maggie was taking photos of it to show to all her friends, so I made the executive decision to stay in Mt. Ida for the night. A hot shower couldn’t hurt my ailment, and her feet likely needed to be cleaned. The same older gentleman shuttled us into town and Maggie quickly ran for the shower. That left me on my own to wander around town with diminishing eyesight under swollen eyelids to find us nearly every item in the first aid section to aid with her feet and my allergic reaction. Once I had visited three stores I had enough to contemplate opening a pop up pharmacy in our hotel room and headed back. As soon as I got there Maggie filled the garbage can with hot water and epsom salt and started soaking her feet. I popped allergy meds and took a hot shower. Way too early to feel good about I swallowed benedryl and felt sleepy. This tiny down didn’t have the non drowsy kind. It was another perfect day if thru hiking (minus all the above stated ailments).

Allergic reaction on the Ouachita Trail
Allergic reaction on the Ouachita Trail

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