As the calendar turned to 2017 the buzz for this season’s upcoming thru-hike began. A few e-mails have filtered in to me asking for advice and for general affirmation of thru-hike encouragement.
For those of you who are sitting at home reading blog after blog, trying to decide if a hike is right for you, if you can do it, if you can afford it, if this and if that, I say do it. It will be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you’ll ever do. Why?
The trail still haunts me.
It lives inside of me as everything that’s honest, free and pure. You will never feel like you did on the trail, you will never know your limits until you push them, you will never feel so alive and so broken, you will never feel so overwhelmed and intimidated about the un-walked miles ahead, yet the inexplicable feeling of the accomplishment and the achievement of leaving all those miles behind and standing there at the end (wherever it may be) feeling fitter than ever, invincible as always and smugly knowing you overcame.
It is hard to leave the trail and go back to the “normal” world. For months you only knew the trail and only talked with the other hikers, completely immersed in the adventure. When you leave, it’s shockingly hard to re-relate.
After the trail, I continued to travel, hike, camp & adventure. I traveled aimlessly across the US, stumbled through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Ireland, Italy and that’s just a few…
However, I eventually had to go back to a “real job”.
I received a call last July to return to my previous employer, however, the location would be Norway. What luck to receive an offer for return to a country as striking as Norway! I’ve now been here 6 months, braved the dark, rainy winter and I’m now looking forward to the better hiking/climbing weather of summer.
However, I’m restless. My legs need to hike, long distances for days on end, I need to forget about the day-to-day, the chains, the made up, pointless standards and responsibilities we adhere to and bring myself back to level. Back to the simple beauty and basic balance of Mother Nature. Absolute freedom. I need to unplug and forget.
I suppose I’d reach this stage of restlessness a lot sooner if my Norwegian surroundings were not as pleasant:
As of now, I’m not sure of my next step. My return to the Cotton World has left me lost in restlessness, torn between the accepted norm and my desire to run. Maybe a change is in order, I say, maybe another long-distance hike????