The Hiker Plague (Days 28-30)

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Starting from day one, I’ve been hearing rumors about an outbreak of norovirus on the trail. The outbreak was supposed to be centered at Hot Springs and extending into the area between Hot Springs, North Carolina and Erwin, Tennessee.

By the time I got to Hot Springs there was no sign of the norovirus there, but I was still hearing rumors that it was running rampant on the section of the trail between there and Erwin. I decided that I would try to avoid the shelters and other people in that section just to be safe. However, as I mentioned in the last post, the rains came, and I ended up deciding to stay in the nice dry shelters to get out of the rain.

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After the rain cleared out, I had some beautiful trail and I forgot about the nasty rumors about norovirus. When I pulled into the next shelter, however, I found a hiker curled up in his sleeping bag recovering from the norovirus. Luckily, it was a nice and sunny afternoon and I isolated myself out in my tent and set everything out to dry.

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The closer and closer to Erwin I’ve gotten, the more people I’ve encountered that are suffering or recovering from the norovirus. Two people at the hostel I stayed at last night seemingly had noro and spent the night puking in the men’s bathroom.

At this point I’m crossing my fingers, getting lots of sleep, and taking a few easy days in the hopes that I’ll manage to get through this hike without getting the hiker plague!

I’ve heard that the current issue of backpacker magazine has an article about noro and this year’s thru-hikers, and the link below is to an article that talks a bit more about it:

Info about the Norovirus on the AT.

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