There Are No White Blazes in Life.
I’ve been back from the trail for over two weeks now and I’m slowly adjusting to life back in what hikers call “the real world.” It’s been so helpful to have Facebook (never did I ever think those words would escape my mouth) to be able to talk to my trail friends and see that I’m not the only one having trouble adjusting. Now that all my NOBO friends have finished, I only have a few connections still left on trail going south and I feel further and further away from the life I lead for the last six months.
Some things have been easy to adjust to, running water (HOT AND COLD!), air conditioning, being back around my pets, cooking. All the things I enjoyed before I left I’m finding have been an easy adjustment. It’s so great having fresh fruit and vegetables in all of my meals. It’s been amazing to just head over to the store and have my choice of anything in there as I have no restrictions on what I can and cannot eat. It’s really all the simple things like cooking and seeing my friends again that have really made me happy.
Some other things, however, have been a really tough adjustment. Rush hour traffic has been my least favorite so far. Listening to people complain in restaurants, having to witness everything going on in the election campaigns, having too much idle time on my hands, and just missing being on the trail in general have all been major downers. I’m afraid I’ll start gaining a lot of weight soon since my metabolism is still pretty high and the thought that I’ll balloon up to the weight I was years ago is always in the back of my head. Is it a rational thought? Of course not. I exercise a lot more now that my knee is in good shape again, so it’s not really feasible. Missing all my trail friends is the hardest part of all. Sure, we can all call, text, and Facebook chat, but it isn’t nearly the same thing. My best friend is 14 hours away from me instead of less than 100 feet away from me and so far, that’s been the hardest adjustment of all.
While I’m sure that one day things will get back to normal for me, I fear that I’ll have a white blaze-sized hole in my heart. I’m already itching for a new adventure and looking for some other goal to focus on, which has been a big surprise to me. When I finished my thru hike I announced on Katahdin I never wanted to hike again! Yet, here I am, yearning for more time with the trail and the community that accompanies it. I’m so glad I had the experience of my thru hike and that I got to meet so many wonderful people who I will consider friends for so many years. I’m thankful I had the time and knowledge to make it the entire 2,184 miles. I’m grateful that I found someone to hike with me and share the journey, as well as open my eyes to new ideas and test my patience by working with me as a team.
I had a dream last night that I was hiking (every single night since I’ve been home I have a dream about being on the trail, and that’s starting to really get to me!) and that we came to a trail intersection with both trails being blazed white. There were no signs and we had no idea which way to go. It occured to me that it isn’t always about following the blazes. Sometimes, you have to blaze your own trail. When I woke up I was deeply affected by this and I am going to try to remember that and apply it to the rest of my life. We don’t always have to choose the path laid out in front of us. Sometimes, you just go with the flow and do your own thing. The trail taught me that things always have a way of working themselves out.