Arrrrg! Returning to the city is hard, really hard. I have read about the difficult post trail adjustments but you can’t really prepare yourself when you have no idea how it’s gonna feel. Well it feels lonely, crowded and purposeless.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I finished and I have been meaning to write about the experience but I have been pretty unmotivated. The shock of finishing something I have been dreaming of for over 4 years was bittersweet. I still can’t really fathom how far I walked and i am really glad we kept the blog to remind me of all the small details I have forgotten. I really needed a break mentally and physically by the end, but as soon as I spent a few days in Seattle there was nothing that I wanted more than to hop back on trial and head south. I miss the simplicity of trail life, the community and my family (Turkey D and Mushy) and sincerity of hikers, sleeping under the stars and the exercise and endorphins (I regularly perve on my leg muscles, very proud of them, but they are deflating).
I tried to help myself out by going to the Olympic Peninsula and hitching/busing around the beautiful beaches and rainforest. I camped on La Push beach and went for dayhikes in the Hoh Rainforest and still did not feel satisfied. It was an exciting adventure but hiking without an end destination and getting close to the towering Olympic Mountains but never going into them bugged me and I spent most of my time them yearning to go deeper into the forest.
I’m now in Portland and have been catching up with many PCT friends, it’s been lovely and many of them feel similarly to me. It’s getting easier, I’m starting to get this tourist business and not awkwardly make small everyday mistakes in how to order coffee or make small talk, but I’m still missing how powerful I felt while hiking. There are some nice residual trail traits that I am enjoying, like going with the flow and trusting that whatever you are doing will work out, self-confidence enabling hitching and yogi-ing rides from strangers, being able to walk all around town without breaking a sweat. One thing i am going crazy for is music, i really missed music on trial and now I find I am less picky and am very happy to listen to anything that is catchy and has good hook or beat. I’m sure my old pickiness will return but for now I’m bopping my head at every available opportunity.