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Pinky - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Lisa "Pinky" Curry
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 27, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Jan 1st, 2012
Trip Distance: 739.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,137
Journal Visits: 110,355
Guestbook Views: 7,226
Guestbook Entrys: 136

Gear list Training

Pacific Crest Trail Map

Returning Home

Again I find that I needed time to sort through my thoughts and emotions before I could write about them. I was hoping with time I could find a way to capture these swirling feelings inside of me, explore, understand and explain them. I have come to accept that I may not be able to sort out these emotions. I would love to be able to examine each thought and feeling, smooth over the wrinkles of sadness and longing, unclench the lump that squeezes on my throat, plug the tear ducts that well up uncontrollably, explain the secret smile that plays on my lips, tell the stories behind the faraway sparkle in my eye, and share the quiet calmness that has settled inside of me. Yet these and so many other feelings that I cannot put into words are just out of my reach. I might be able to grab them for a moment, turn them over once or twice in my head, but before I can get any kind of understanding of the feeling it slips out of my grasp and runs wild in my head and heart again.

Since I cannot understand or explain all of my emotions why don’t I start with something a bit easier and back up to the day that I got off trail. Stix, Not Ryan and I spent a couple of days in Portland. We wandered around the city, visited Occupy Portland, spent time bumming around in the park (literally we were mistaken as homeless multiple times and were offered food, socks, shelter and more…there are many generous, kind people in that city) and visited with hikers All or Nothing, Good Karma and Boy Scout who all live in Portland. After a couple of days at Stix’s cousins house we then went to my Uncle’s home just outside of Portland. It was the perfect place for a few more days of settling into the environment outside of the woods. We slept late, lounged around, ate lots, walked the dogs and sampled many of the fine Oregon beers of the area. Later in the week, after staying up all night talking and sharing photos, Stix packed up his gear and caught a bus home. This was the day I finally had to accept that my hike for this year was over. Up until this point I had held onto the small hope that the weather might clear and I could convince my hiking buddy to join me on several more weeks of northbound adventure together. Once he left I had to let my brain take over the decision making rather than follow my heart which would have led me alone into the woods and the snow.

Not Ryan and I stayed with my family for a couple of more days and then were dropped off at the coast to start our travels southbound. We hitch hiked down the Oregon/California coast, continued our plan to make no plans, spent time at the beach and in the redwoods and enjoyed the adventure. In Arcata we stayed at the home of Suzanne and Greg, a couple that we found on couchsurfing.com. Suzanne is an Appalachian Trail section hiker, she and her husband were an extension of the amazing trail angel experiences that we had on the PCT and were so kind and understanding with us two hikers who were still lost in the transition of woods to street life. After a couple of days in Arcata my best friend, Jaspreet, came to play with us for the weekend and then drove us back to Napa, my hometown, officially concluding my adventure for the year.

Walking into my home for the first time in seven months was an odd experience. I knew this place, these things, but..…..hmmmmmmm, okay here is where I lose the words to explain, but I will try.

I would look around as if this was the first time seeing my home, yet knowing it so well. I could slip back into it so easily if I could only figure out where I fit. Part of me wanted to sink into it, let it hide and comfort me in its familiarity but the other part of me held back, wrapping my arms around myself feeling lost where I once knew my surroundings so well. I spent time hiding out in my quiet home in the mountains while I slowly adjusted. My family and friends were wonderfully patient with me allowing me to take things at my pace. As the days and weeks went on I reconnected with the people at home in small ways. I know many people wanted to get together immediately to hear about my hike, but the thought of a large gathering, especially one focused on me was more that I could handle. Instead I just quietly snuck back into some of the old routines; disc golf, holiday gatherings, poker night, hiking, kayaking, etc. and reconnected with those from home as I quietly appeared for these activities and get togethers. I also spent a lot of time alone, walking and jogging around the hills at my home, reading by the fire in my backyard, sleeping in my tent by my back deck, feeding the birds and watching the wildlife in my yard.

After living in the woods for seven months my senses were raw and exposed. Noises, lights and smells bombarded me, overwhelmed me. I have noticed that with time my senses have dulled a bit, I know this is a necessary adjustment to be able to cope with this busy environment but it saddens me, another part of the trail life that seems to be fading. I appreciate aspects of returning home, mainly being with my husband, family and friends, but I miss the simplicity of the trail SO MUCH. I miss the routine, I miss the way my body felt, I miss the fresh air and the cold, I miss the smell of the earth and the sounds of nature, I miss the challenge of climbing to the top of a mountain and the feeling of accomplishment when I look back at where I just came from. I miss the community of people who I could recognize as "one of us" from the clothes, gear, smell and facial hair...I find myself smiling that knowing smile to these hippie van driving people on the streets and my heart sinks when the knowing smile is not returned, when I am not recognized as “one of them.” I miss the breathtaking scenery, the deep friendships that were formed so quickly, the unexpected moments of each unplanned day. I miss singing silly made up songs out loud with the rhythm of my feet acting as my band, the simple games played to pass the miles, the sounds of my echo as it bounces around a small tree lined lake, I miss seeing and appreciating the world with the innocent wonder of a child. I miss the deep red of the sky when the sun rises and the depths of blue and purple that set in when it sinks, I miss the stars that blur from my sight as my eyelids drooped closed at the end of each night and the beauty that overtook me as I first opened my eyes and saw the earth each morning. Most of all I miss the time that I had to enjoy, savor and appreciate all of these moments.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail has changed me. Some of these changes are apparent while some are hidden and will reveal themselves in time. Some of these changes may fade away, but I know that some never will. No matter how difficult the transition from one of my worlds into the other may be I am so incredibly grateful for my experience. I now know what it feels like to have a dream and then live that dream. I will forever spend my life following my dreams and my heart, for now I know there is truly no other way that life should be lived.

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Journal Photo

Pacific Crest Trail - 2011

~Lisa

It's time to move on, time to get going. What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, baby, grass is growing. It's time to move on, it's time to get going. ~Tom Petty

 

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