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Begins: Apr 23, 2012
Date: Mon, Aug 11th, 2014
Trip Distance: 176.0
Entry Visits: 1,103
Journal Visits: 13,280
Guestbook Views: 495
Guestbook Entrys: 10
Pacific Crest Trail Map
The T-shirt which lay on my shoulders for five months on the trail is now in a landfill somewhere, its stench drowned in the effluence of tons of detritus. The sweatstains and dirt ground into its fabric, the holes worn into the shoulders, are now forgotten and left behind. And slowly, steadily, each of the relics of the trail has left.
My trail-eating gait slowly fell apart after a few days of walking awkwardly on pavement, my feet scarping against the rough concrete rather than gliding over smooth dirt. Confined in jeans and jacket, I shifted my gait and composure to reintegrate into city life.
Time next turned its attention to my body, slowly scraping off the calluses and horny skin from the trail, thick rough leather chipping off from my soft new skin. The deep bruises on my feet slowly came to the surface as skin regenerated, and then also fell off. For a while, I held onto one of those tough little scabs after it came off, a reminder of the miles which caused it and the pain which it had returned, the stabbing pain which accompanied my thoughts for weeks and months. Then I one day lost it, the macabre reminder of the trail lost in the dirt of downtown.
The sunglass tan was smoothed out, the farmers' tan faded into the pale of winter, the sun-bleached hair grew out and was cut off. The turn of seasons left my body reborn, brought back a bit of protective fat and took off the edges honed by the trail.
I slowly retired the gear which had accompanied me through the thousands of miles- the groundcloth on which I had slept for so many nights, the platypus bladder which had accompanied me from border to border, the cell phone which had been my connection to reality through the trail. I wore out my old toothbrush which had seen so many sunsets and sunrises, I ran out of the roll of dental floss which had stitched each pair of shoes and repaired pack and gear through the trip.
I've been on two backpacking trips since the PCT, and have found myself more occupied with climbing and mountaineering adventures. But my spirit still soars when my feet hit a smooth dirt trail, and even though the PCT is now little more than a memory, it is one which brings a smile to my lips and a sparkle to my eyes. It has forever changed me in profound ways, and for that I will always be grateful. Hike your own hike, and you will never leave the trail.
My feet travel, my mind wanders.