GDT – Post GDT; why we didn’t tag Section D

We keep talking about tagging Section D in our blog posts. This means we meant to go back at the end and hike what we missed of Section D due to my injury.

In the end, we did not do this. We started and hiked a day on the highway between Mistaya River Trailhead and Owen Creek Trailhead (and back) but didn’t hike the rest of Section D.


Well, I learned afterwards that we all had COVID19. In the moment I just thought I was having a rough time with allergies.

How could I get allergies and COVID mixed up? Aren’t I vaccinated? How or where did I get COVID? Is Toothless going to be okay?

These are all questions that ran through my mind and I’m sure you might be wondering the same things.

Hayfever that wasn’t

On our second to last day in Section F I got slammed with hayfever. I just accepted this. It corresponded to when we started hiking through burn and the fireweed was fluffy and filling the air.

For me this meant I had a runny and itchy nose that barely was relieved by antihistamines.

This is totally normal for me.

That night I slept really poorly.

This also is kind of normal for me. When allergies flare up, you get congested and the histamines run wild and keep you awake.

So then on the last day I had been run down, tired and still dealing with hayfever. So feeling tired with a runny nose didn’t make me worried.

I was so exhausted. I carried Toothless half the last day and we pushed so hard, on no sleep, feeling the way I did. We then didn’t get into town and to bed until late. So this feeling stuck with me 1-2 more days.

I did check my temperature and I felt hot with a bit of an elevated temperature. But again, this is normal. When I travel and I am all jetlagged I tend to get a very low fever. After the sleep I had on our last night on trail this is normal.

After I caught up on sleep I was feeling better. No more elevated temperature. No more sniffles. I had energy again. Maybe I had a slight tickle in my throat but that was it.

Except all of the above would have been COVID and not hayfever.

I still didn’t know this.

We took a couple days off to rest and wait out the weather before starting Section D again. By the time we started Section D I was feeling pretty good and so we took off on the first day, which was planned to be a day hike on the highway between Owen Creek Trailhead and Mistaya River Trailhead. After that we planned on staying at Golden and then starting at Blaeberry Road at the Cairnes Creek Rec Site, hiking NOBO then turning around and hiking back to our car.

At the half way of the first day, I had to call it. I guess I was a bit grumpy but mostly I noticed my breathing was a little limited and more shallow than usual. I just finished a thru hike and really know how my breathing should be and this wasn’t right.

Natasha started getting the sniffles when we were almost home. So this was a good sign we needed to get tested.

We got home, got tested the next day and the test came back positive for everyone.

Since then my breathing has improved and I feel alright overall.

Wait, aren’t I vaccinated?

Yes, we both are fully vaccinated. We got vaccinated before we started the GDT. Natasha got her second shot on our zero day in Coleman.

We actually thought this would be a lower risk activity than just spending the summer at home. We had less contact all summer hiking than just going out and getting groceries or having to go indoors during heat waves.

During all of this, it’s a good sign that I mistook my symptoms for allergies for so long.

How or where did I get COVID?

It looks like I got it in Jasper on our zero.

I have no idea where I got it but I do think through it and wonder.

Much of Jasper is really good about physical distancing and mask use. We ate on patios as much as possible and Jasper has a good system of keeping patios separate. We also tend to avoid the main strip and busy sidewalks, we wear masks everywhere and had a private room in the hostel.

There were only a couple businesses that did not embrace or enforce masks or physical distancing. One outdoors store we went to did not have employees wearing masks and I saw a lot of MAGA gear in the managers office. We are indoors at two restaurants and we ate (outdoors) at one buffet which had a fairly cramped and busy lineup indoors.

Is Toothless okay?

Yea he’s fine, thankfully.

The little guy had a few rough nights and a rough cough. Thankfully no fever or other symptoms.

It broke my heart seeing him, a kid with so much energy usually, get sad and tired and put his head down on my lap because he was feeling unwell.

What’s next?

We are in self isolation and are going through the process with contact tracing.

As soon as we had a positive result we told everyone we knew personally that we had contact with that we had Thankfully one couple we know got a test right away and that came back negative.

So now, after finishing a thru hike, we are stuck in our home isolating and going a little stir crazy.

Once we are cleared and allowed to go out we will go out of town and visit family as we originally planned.

When will we tag Section D?

While it frustrates us to miss doing it this year we can do it next year. We already were planning on taking Toothless to hike the Berg Lake Trail in 2022 since it was closed this year and cut out hike shorter than planned. We can easily wrap up Section D in 2022 at the same time. So I guess that needs to be what happens.

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