Monday, October 27, 2014

In Which I Don't Actually Miss the Trail

I’m pretty sure that Zach and I are the only thru-hikers who are actually happy to be back in real life. 

Zach, his sister Ivy, and I rolled into St. Charles, Missouri last Wednesday after an intense three-day road trip from Portland (I visited two states I’d never seen before: Montana and South Dakota!). Since then, we’ve been trying to spend time with everyone we haven’t seen in six months. There are still a lot of people left, but I’m trying not to burn myself out. Zach had his first day back at Walmart today and I’m about to start teaching classes online again. We’re crashing at my parents’ house until we figure out what we’re going to do about housing.

And the weird thing is, I don’t miss the PCT at all.

This may seem like a contradiction to the previous post. However, even though I miss certain aspects about the trail, I don't miss the experience itself. Sure, it was incredible. But I hold that the trail is more incredible, more beautiful, and more interesting in retrospect. 

Actually, at this point, the trail feels like a novel that I’ve revised a hundred times. I’m weary of it. I’m weary of talking about it. I want to talk about container gardening, and sourdough bread-making, and house-buying, and breast-feeding, and that awesome cold-syrup recipe I’ve been dying to make since last winter. I’m excited about life ahead, and what it might look like now that we have our jobs back and can see our friends and family again. For the first time in almost three years, our entire life doesn’t revolve around the trail. Sure, we’re broke and don’t really know what our next step is, but at least the next part of our life can begin!

The PCT was more than a trip— it was a phase of life. But unlike other phases of my life, I’m happy to let it go. I feel like we hiked the trail well, and hiked it according to our principles, and accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was to discover if we were really up to such a challenge. Don’t get me wrong: I’m really glad we hiked the trail.

But, in the end, I’m glad it’s over.


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