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Begins: Jul 6, 2011
Date: Tue, Nov 22nd, 2011
Trip Distance: 2,181.0
Entry Visits: 1,486
Journal Visits: 18,877
Guestbook Views: 769
Guestbook Entrys: 17
Appalachian Trail Map
It's been over two weeks since I stepped off of the trail. It's been interesting trying to get back into "normal" life, whatever that is, which I guess by popular definition means getting a job and driving around in a car, which I suppose are my two most primary goals at the moment even though I haven't driven a car in two years. It's hard not to think about the trail every day. These thoughts are usually about the very best moments, such as sunny 65 degree days and beautiful mountain top views. Sometimes a different thought creeps in through the backdoor such as getting rained on all day and having to put on freezing wet shoes on a crisp 25 degree morning. When these thoughts invade my mind I am reminded how amazing home is: where it is always warm, has running water, and the cabinets are filled with delicious food. Oh, and all of these amenities are only a few feet apart and instantly available for use. Amazing.
Still, "normal" life is proving to be very complex. A dirt and rock path has turned into paved roads and highways. A hammock has turned into a queen sized bed. A single pair of clothes has turned into a wardrobe. A pair of trail runners has turned into...well, I still wear them so I guess that's one thing that hasn't changed. A single water bottle has turned into an assortment of glasses and plastic cups. A titanium spork has turned into actual silverware. (This is quite a new experience because when I was in grad school I ate with my titanium spork every night). A privy for a morning bowel movement (or in some cases a 6-inch radius tree (the optimal radius) to hang off of for a full on woods dump) has turned into a porcelain toilet for use whenever I damn well please. A headlamp has turned into a variety of lighting fixtures that have seemingly infinite battery power and turn on with only a flip of a switch. A fire has turned into a television set with too many channels. And on and on it goes. I have traded complete simplicity for ultimate complexity. The choices I have to make on a daily bases have increased dramatically. But I'm slowly beginning to get back into the swing of things. I even started putting on deodorant again, and showering every day. I shaved my beard and got a haircut. I even started wearing clean underwear on a daily bases. Im slowly catching on.
The most difficult thing Im finding is talking about my trip to people. Some people usually say, Why the hell did you do THAT? And the most common question I get asked is, Whats the craziest thing that happened to you? There must have been some crazy stuff that happened! The first question is a difficult question to answer since everyone that has completed or attempted a long distance hike does it for all different types of reasons. There is some commonality I found, and that is people that like this kind of thing have an appreciation for nature and adventure, and everyone is stubborn in one way or another. But more often than not, my answer to that question would be in a form of another question: Why do you like doing (insert most favorite activity in the world here, i.e. watching Desperate Housewives). Your answer will probably be, Because I like it. Then there you go. People that do this kind of thing usually do it because they like to do it. Its the simplest answer I can give.
And if you ask the second question, I honestly dont remember anything super crazy happening, mainly because the trip was not crazy at all, at least to me. I usually say that I walked a real lot and saw amazing sights and met amazing people. If you are looking for a story about how I got attacked by a bear and had to fend it off with my hiking poles, I will be a huge disappointment to you. The whole trip was crazy by conventional terms. Every day was a different adventure with new challenges to overcome. It was also immensely fun and rewarding.
I could go on and on about the trip. But I wont. I will leave with Part 2 of my thru-hike video series. It explains much better what the trip was like than what I could explain here in writing. This is my last post. It was fun. But now I have to start being a normal person and get a job! The AT is a break from the complex world we live in. There are many lessons to be learned and nothing to learn at all, just by walking a little bit on the AT. I learned nothing but also learned everything. Take care and I hope you enjoy the video.
Safety Officer Out
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more: www.appalachiantrail.org