Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day 99 - August 29: The End of My Hike!

So close but yet so far....2,000 miles!! (Dirt Diva's Report)

I made it all the way to Sisters having Giardia since Ashland. I woke up last Thursday with a pain in my knee. It hurt really, really bad. I've never felt anything like this before. I decided to ignore it and took 9 Advil that day. I didn't notice my knee the next day, maybe because I was too busy being sick from Giardia.

So I ended up at the clinic in Sisters on Monday. The doctor looked at my knee and said "stay off it for a week". She gave me an antibiotic to treat my Giardia and some other parasite she thinks I have. The antibiotic seemed to be making things worse but she told me that it could make me feel sick.

My knee was worse on Tuesday. I had to go back in to drop off my stool samples (sorry, I know that sounds gross). I showed her my knee again and it was a lot more swollen. She told me the best thing for me to do is to go home and get a MRI from my doctor. She said the worst thing to do at this point would to hike another 500 miles.
I decided to sleep on it and ask my Mom to show me a sign of what to do. I woke up in pain. I believed this was the sign.

I asked myself over and over what to do. My answer kept coming back saying "do you want to finish and risk never running or hiking again?" I would be devastated if I messed myself up, caused permanent damage, and was never able to run again.
It's clear to me the trail will always be there.
I started thinking, if anything, I could come back next year and finish where I left off. I am sad about having to stop. I called some of my friends to get advise and they all said I should not risk damaging my knee further.

So I made my final decision to stop. I will write a list of all the wonderful things I learned while hiking 2,000 miles. I will write about all the positive experiences so when I'm sad about leaving the trail I can look back and know it's not really a bad thing. I will stay positive. It's going to be a big shock to go back home and be around all the "normal" things - cars, TVs, radios, people and just general city life.

I already miss the trail!

In making it this far I have learned so much about me - who I am and what I want.
Will I be back next year???? I will - and I will start from the beginning, not just from where I left off. I will make it work so I can do the whole thing. Next time I will be wiser and will know what works and how to move faster while still having fun.

Thanks to all of you who followed and encouraged me on my journey. Without all of you I think I would not have made it this far. To tell the truth, I didn't think I could make it through the desert so I am so happy with how far I made it.

Thanks again for all the positive vibes and thoughts along the way.

Let's hope the knee thing isn't super serious and let's hope this damn Giardia goes away soon.

Love to all of you.

Catra AKA Dirt Diva
Mex-Oregon PCT 2007


Ronnie said...

Catra you have made the right choice. You'r Mum gave you a message. Don't be sad. You are an inspiration to many. You have done what many would think you are nuts for doing. I think you are awesome.


Jo Lynn said...

You did great Girlie! You have endured a lot. I look forward to talking to you in person and hearing even more stories. Thanks for taking us along on your marvelous 99 days journey. You rock Catra.
Much love and many hugs,
~Jo Lynn
P.S. Boomer is EXCITED to see you and Rocky :)

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed reading about your adventure this summer. I'm sorry to not see you finish, but I think you have made the right choice.
Get better fast!

Rick said...

Catra, you're a giant among women! Heck, guys, too.

miki said...

I'm so in awe of you Catra. From what you've done and what I'm sure you will do in the future. I learned the hard way this year that the smartest thing to do with an injury is to actually take care of it. :p I was bad. You are smart. Thanks for letting me share in your adventures online. It was the one thing I checked everyday. Rock on girl. ~Miki

dan said...

Let me think of all the positive things that can be said of your accomplishment...

* 2,000 miles, that's approximately 2,000 miles more than the average American will hike in their lifetime, let alone a few months.

* 2,000 miles in 99 days is an average of 20.2 miles per day...approximately 20.2 miles farther than the average American will hike in their lifetime even just once.

* In a twist on an old is better to have hiked and had to stop then to have never hiked at all.

* Not only did you cover 2,000 miles but you were wise enough to know that you have to live to fight another day, not an easy decision but a smart one and clearly the right one.

* Everything in life is a lesson...what an awesome class you've had over the last 99 days.

I am not alone in being very impressed with your accomplishment...congratulations!!!


Bigun said...

Still an epic, life changing journey - good to fight another day!

sr in tx said...

The fact that you went out and braved that trail is amazing to me. Whatever adventure you decide to do next year, be it the PCT or some other amazing adventure, you will continue to inspire. Your thoughts and decision to stop to save your knee is very rational....and smart.

Anonymous said...

You have shared, discovered much and above all inspired many.....thank you for giving of yourself on this and all your adventures.
peace be with you in your recovery & transition back into the everyday.

positive vibes,

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed following your adventure. Thanks for sharing!. I hope you get better soon and I know "Rocky" and friends will be glad when your home and healthy again.

Charlie T

Laura H said...

You are an amazing woman and a HUGE inspiration!! And you did the right thing listening to your mom and your body. You will be back and all the wiser. Take very good care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

I'm bummed you didn't get up to WA but I couldn't have joined you anyway (like I had wanted) - I'm bouncing back from some surgery. So, selfishly speaking, I'm glad we both have another chance. Next year we'll both be stronger and I can come meet you on the trail! Take care!

Anonymous said...


I've followed you from the beginning... I'm overweight and you have helped me make better choices about what to eat and, generally, started taking better care of my body... I want to thank you for having the courage to go through with all you've been through... you've given me the extra boost I needed to do the right thing... take care of the only vessel I have..!

God Bless!!
Imperial Beach

Andy said...

Catra -- you made a smart choice. Looking forward to watching your attempt at the record next time. Take care, and get well soon.

runrgrrl7 said...

You did the right decision. You are very right, the trail will always be there. Plus, you did an awesome job. You will always be an inspiration! Takecare.


ikes said...

Yes, better to be disappointed now and recover than to screw things up permanently. Thanks for keeping us up to date during this whole trip. It's been great!

Jen said...

Your a wise Strong women. My thoughts are with you while you recover!

Anonymous said...


So sorry to hear your knee and that little parasite forced an end to your epic trek, but I definitely think you made the right decision. No goal is worth risking a permanent end to the lifestyle that is quite obviously your "joie de vivre". Go home, relax and recuperate!

I have always been considering a thru trip on the PCT, and following you over the past few months has convinced me to take a leave of absence next year and "just do it". It would be a real treat to run in to you and your perma-smile somewhere on the trail (you have Beaver Fever and a bum knee in your last set of photos and you're STILL smiling!! ;))

Congratulations on making it so far! You are an inspiration!!


Vancouver, Canada

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful "trip" this summer. Though work has carried me all over the place, every morning I've spent a little time on the PCT checking in with your progress. Where we physically start and end any journey is irrelevant, the important thing is simply to begin. Your courage and strength are much admired and greatly valued.

pinkfloyd said...

Hi Catra

congratulation for your decision to stop. You could finish from where you stopped this year and cross over to the CDT. Whatever you do I wish you luck, and whenever yu want to hike in the swiss alpes let me be your guide.


Anonymous said...


You did an awesome job, living your dream and some of ours too. You made the right decision for now. you will be back.

Now go spend some time with your dog. That will heal any wound.

Love ya, and take care.
Roanoke, VA

Ultra Okie said...

Catra, You are making the right choice, but of course you know that. Your journey has been so much fun to follow, and so inspirational to all of us. Thank you for being kind and caring enough to take the time and trouble to share your PCT adventure with us all.

I admire you and am proud to call you my friend.


King Arthur said...

Wow, I'm so sad for you. I think you did the right thing by not pushing through the injury. I can't even begin to imagine had hard that decision was for you. I know you did the right thing. I’ll see you on the PCT in Washington next year. Maybe even on the CCC course!

litsl said...

Hi Catra

I'm sorry to hear you are off the trail. I've been off for just a week and I've been missing it.

I'm surprised you got Giardia. I guess I have been lucky since I have not treated water for the last 800 miles after my filter broke. Mind you, there are other ways to get it than through water.

Sorry too about your knee. A wise choice to get off it for a while I'm sure. 2,000 miles through that terrain is quite something.

Having hiked 250 miles in the desert with you I'm convinced that you are strong enough to get the record on this route when you come back, especially now you know all the ins and outs of it.

Have fun looking back on the photos and planning your return.

If you are nearby I can highly recommend Portland as a place to chill out. There are lots of ex thru-hikers here (and even Squatch was here last night).

Take care and recover fast.

PS I'm hoping to jump back on in Cascade Locks today

Christina said...

Congratulations, Catra! I have been home recovering from surgery all summer and your journey has been an inspiration to me. It's been great to read about you out there when I couldn't even walk or go outside. I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

Pinkcorker said...

Thanks for sharing your 99 day journey with us! I have been following you all summer and will switch over to your other blog now to follow your ultra running pursuits! Thanks for the inspiration (literally, I bought the skirt!) :)

Anonymous said...

I have been inspired by you all summer and you definitely made the right choice. The trail will still be there but our knees are tough to replace.
Thank-you so much for taking me on your journey. So much freely given.

JeffO said...

We're all behind you, Catra. You've always been about healthy living and set the bar very high for us. It would go against everything you stand for if you went on. You're still setting the great example by stopping now.

I DNF'd at Leadville after 84 miles. I know how hard it is to stop when your mindset is so geared towards finishing - with no room to quit. Sometiems, though, it's just wrong to go on. There's always the next thing. We have to look forward. Everything we do is just preparation for the next thing, right?

You're awesome. Rest-up and think of what's next.

mer said...


Dearest Catra ~

Two days ago, I sprained my ankle leaping over a rock on my run. I ran yesterday and made it worse. I woke up in pain last night and cried knowing I had to make the choice not to run this morning or face something worse. I came to the laptop an hour ago and read you had ended your hike. I cried. But the tears passed and these feelings came . . .

For me, going with you in spirit for the past 99 Days makes this one unforgettable summer. Inspiration hardly gets at what you've gifted me with. The real truth is that I discovered something untapped and wonderous about myself because you allowed me a glimpse into what is possible.

Thank you for every moment of your magic.


All love.

Anonymous said...

Catra, every day I've look forward to reading your reports, I really enjoyed them. You are awesome. I am proud of you for making the right decision for your health. Do no permanent damage.

I LOVED spending the past 4 months with you.

Cathy B

WDC said...

Catra, Congratulations on reaching 2,000 miles. When you reach for the stars, it is an accomplishment to touch the planets - which you did with your journey.

You have a good sense of intuition and drive which makes for a good balance.


Heath said...

I just wanted to tell you I have enjoyed your blog. I come to work in the morning and your blog is on my list of daily website visits. I live in San Diego and love the PCT. I hope to hike it all some day. I recently became interested in long distance running after finishing my first marathon last year. I'm going to be a spectator at the San Diego 100. Hope to see you there. Good luck with your ailments. I'm sure you'll recover and come back even stronger.

prez said...

catra, am so sorry about your knee. you are doing the right thing. hopefully i can be there again to help you out at walkers pass. remember i just went thru knee surgery. am glad i got the surgery and will be back to run anohter day.
love you girl,

michelle said...

My heart went out to you when I read this and it brought tears to my eyes, but you did the right thing. YOu have been places and done things that very few will ever accomplish. YOu are a true inspiriration to me and one day I hope to see you aon the trail land say rock. Rocky will be very happy mom is home.

Jill said...


Sorry to hear you had to cut your trip short, but now you will have the time to get healthy and get ready for the big push next year.
We can't always do everything we want to on the first try. But the journey is the most important part.

Anonymous said...

Catra, a big thanks for taking all of us along on your journey. i followed you as i traveled around the country working this summer. as a father of seven children i would never be able to do the PCT. then again as a father of seven everyday is an adventure. welcome back and thanks again. jerry

Inca Princess said...

Catra -

Congratulations on your wonderful trail journey. You will return and finish the whole trail next year - I'm certain.

Thank you for 99 days of wonderful stories and photos. You have inspired me to keep running. I'll be running my first half on 9/29/07 - gotta start somewhere!

Jason said...

Congratulations, 2000 miles is a awesome effort. Thanks for blogging your journey, it has been very entertaining and motivational. I've enjoyed following your journey which in anyone's book has been a success.

Anonymous said...

Hi Catra, I used to chat w/ you at Whole Foods in PA about all-things Adventure. I've followed your posts with great interest and look forward to reading more in the future when your knee's healed and your northward bound.

Many cheers,

Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog everyday. I used to run 30 to 60 miles a week, until I wore my hips out at a very young age! A very entertaining, and inspiring journey. I will miss seeing updates of your hike. Take care of the knee!

Caren said...


You definitely made the right choice and the trail will always be there. Congratulations on what you've accomplished. You're an amazing, amazing person and I've truly enjoyed being along on your journey. Rest up and I look forward to hearing more from you.

I'm in awe.


P.S. Almost forgot! Rocky is going to be so happy to see you!

christine said...

hmm, no doubt you have mixed feelings about it all. the right thing to do isn't always the fact it seldomn is. what an amazing amazing journey you have led. thanks so much for the letting us all tag along. we are all the be better for it. love and wellness to you girlie!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Oh Catra! Sorry it didn't work out the way you planned, but you have plenty of time, and you learned a ton this time! Think of it as a dry run.

Next year, eh? Give yourself lots of time to heal - You're still awesome, and you done good!

Anonymous said...

You are awesome!!! It's so hard to go so far and be so strong, it takes even a stronger person to truley know themselves and be comfortable with their choices. I think you made a good one- you will come back wiser and stronger to another challenge!! You are a true inspiration!

Anonymous said...

you have inspired me to keep working at that thing that drives me, you know, that thing that helps shape a person into the who you become.

You've no idea, Catra, how you've helped motivate me to run that extra mile or even tie on my running shoes some days. Just because I knew know you were out there doing your thing, joyfully, painfully, unconditionally.

So, you're a huge inspiration. Your heart, your soul, your smile and all.

I can't count the number of days where I've said to myself, well, i can do this little bit if Catra can do her thing. Your PC Adventture has been my PC Adventure and for that I thank you. I learned much about a lot of things, including myself because of the adventure you set off on, your adventure.

Much thanks. Much in awe. You are some woman. Amazing. An inspiration. But something else. You endured. From the start with Suicide Boy through the thirsty deserts and lonely trails to Oregon and a siezing knee. You endured. And know you've certainly made the right choice to bank today for tomorrow. Heal. Be srong. You are brave and true.

You're fantastic, really. Now, get back home safely. And let us know.

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure.

Get some rest. You're the best.

David near harriman state park ny

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry your adventure came to a screeching halt. You don't know me but this blog has been on my reading list for weeks now.

I did the WA section in 1992 and still dream about those days. Your trip has been inspirational to follow. It has also brought out of dormancy my need for movement and the freedom of the hills.

Let the knee heal; the mountians are timeless and will be waiting. You are doing the right thing. Take care of yourself and stay strong. You've accomplished something remarkable.

Thanks for the trip. Love.

Jo Lynn said...

Wow Catra, you are one loved girl. And, an inspiration to too many to count. You are truly blessed!

Jurek said...

I am so proud of you! I knew you would make the right decision! Yes, the trail will be there when you are ready again.

Big hugs for you!

Anonymous said...

Catra, I've been following your adventure all along and am sorry to hear of the latest developements. You have been awesome.
I was hoping to meet up with you in Oregon, along the "Siskiyou crest" area. However, just as I calculated you would be coming through I was handed a horrible work schedule that took me out of the area for a couple of days (right when you went through here). I tried to leave a message on your cell phone,but with the nonexistent reception I don't believe you received it.
I read where you had gone off track trying to get to Ashland, then I wasn't sure if you were going to restart where you got off track, or pick up the trail where it intersects Hwy 99/ Interstate 5. Not knowing this I was at a loss as to where you would be that weekend you left Ashland and sadly I decided I wouldn't be able to find you.
I had often ran sections of the PCT here, thinking of how you would soon be traveling this very spot and how much beauty you would get to see. The views from Siskiyou crest area are awesome as you can look back into Calif as far as Mt Shasta and in other spots look forward into Oregon.
I worried alot when I thought of you taking off from Etna on your own. That is very much back country with no aid anywhere close. I have heard the trail from Northern Calif, up to the Oregon border is quite overgrown with head high brush in areas. I was delight that Erik and Bull had caught back up to you at Seiad Valley and therfore could not have been far behind you as you went alone.
I hope to have better luck meeting up with you when you come back next time.
Heal and rest now. You are AWESOME!


joe(runner) said...

There was only one right decision but I bet it was hard to make anyway. Good healing Catra and congrats on an epic adventure.

GB said...

Catra you're a wonderful human being and God bless you for your positive outlook on this. You're not a quitter, you're a wise woman, a gifted athlete and you KNOW how to listen to your body. And as you said, the trail will always be there. And as long as you get back to good health, you have your whole life to get back on that trail again and again and again. Thanks so much for always inspiring me, and everyone else. You rock!

jennyray said...

Catra, I feel so bad for you, but I know you made the right choice! I've always marveled at how strong your body is and thought you were lucky that it lets you do so many awesome things. I've dealt with an injury all year, and by trying to keep running I've only made it that much worse. It's just really hard psychologically to accept the fact that sometimes we need to stop doing the things we love for a short while - no injury lasts forever, and the trails will be there when we come back - you're so right about that!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a smooth adjustment back into the real world. (Mikey P. knows a great knee doctor, as you probably know!) Your blog about the PCT adventure has been such an inspiration to me, and you've really broadened my horizons about what I want to do in the future. Thanks for sharing it all.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if taking the cipro with your UTI affected your knee. Any of the quinolones, cipro, levaquin, etc can cause tendon, cartilage damage. All runners should avoid this type of antibiotic. I have seen other runners rupture their achilles after cipro during a race. It seems a lot of MDs don't know about this side effect. It might be worth mentioning to your MD. Congratulations on your journey!

Paul Milander said...

You did the right thing and you have nothing to be ashamed of, only things to be proud of!

Cassie said...


Good choice about the knee, that thing has to last you the rest of your life. 2000 miles is nothing to scoff at for sure! Incredible! You live to hike another day :-) Get better!