Campfire stories with Garrett – Part 6

Botulism and backpacking

Remember how I mentioned in a previous post food poisoning would rear its ugly head again in this series? Well, this time it was Garrett who was the tragic victim of tainted food. I want to say that this particular story shows just how gutsy Perks can be, and I’m not just referring to the troubles he had after a fateful dining experience in a small town in southwestern Idaho. Garrett was the only one who opted for the salad, though I’m not sure why. He’s not granola, hipster or otherwise kooky in any other way. But, alas, salad it was, with a side of botulism.

We were planning to leave around 0400 hours the following morning for a 12-mile hike into the Sawtooth Mountains, with a planned wake-up of 0300 hours. When I woke up, I heard Garrett stirring, which was more than I’d hoped for considering he was a night owl and it would not have been the first time I’d have to wake him up to leave for a trip. “Great to see you’re up!” I said when we crossed paths in the hallway. “Dude, I’ve been up in the bathroom all night. I’m going to try to get some sleep now.” I asked him if he was joking, which he insisted he wasn’t. This was not going to do. Garrett had flown all the way to Idaho and I taken time off work, and we were going to hike! Thankfully, he was of the same mind, but needed as he said “a solid hour of not needing to use the bathroom” before we could make an attempt at the mountain. About 0800 we hit the road, but were not on it for more than 15 minutes before I was pulling over for Garrett. Nevertheless, he told me to press on with our four-hour drive and see if he’d improve enough over that time. A few stops later, including one roadside “in the woods” experience, we made it to the trailhead.

Again, Garrett is gutsy. He pounded a couple Gatorades to get the electrolytes his body craved and we were off. I was in awe. We hiked 12 miles up and down more than 2,000 feet of elevation over Sand Pass and still set up camp before dark. Garrett spent the next three days rehydrating with high alpine lake water and MRE sports drink mix. All in all, it was one our best trips that included driving through the flames of a roadside wildfire then getting pulled over by an angry trooper, food-borne illness, swarms of mosquitos that rivaled the plague of flies in Egypt, ignorantly camping and making fires illegally and topping it off with an in-depth discussion of feminine hair products on the ride home (ask Garrett).

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