We have been off the AT for more than a week and you would think now that I have easy access to cell service and computers, I would be blogging more often. Clearly not the case. I’ve been so busy … doing practically nothing!
Well, we did have the wedding, which was not just a wedding, but a whole, exhausting (yet fun) weekend of events!
First, Deal & I had to clean up. It took hedge clippers to tame Deal’s beard. But after many hours of labor and much manpower, we both came out presentable.Anyways, the wedding was beautiful. We had great weather in Chicago on Oct. 28, unlike the East coast. The bride and groom looked gorgeous and were on cloud 9 all day long.On Saturday night, the newlyweds hosted a very fun Halloween party. We had a good time, but were sleepy by 11pm … I think we were still trying to adjust to a more normal bedtime as opposed to 7:30pm!Since the wedding, though, we have been house and cat sitting Deal’s sister’s place and will be until Sunday. It is good to stay in one place for more than 1 day. We’ve been nomads for several months and most likely will be for several more, so one week of normalcy is a gift.So now the big question. How do we feel now that the AT adventure is over?? There’s no easy way to answer this, so get ready for a stream of consciousness type of post.
Do we miss the trail? Yes. Deep down, we are both glad the arduous task of hiking into winter is over, but we miss many things about the trail—the serenity, the simplicity, the people (especially Fire Marshall!), nature … But we realize we can’t live on the trail forever (although, we met many people who thought they could). What we miss most, though, is having a purpose and a goal. I remember many days when I woke up and had to force myself to be excited about hiking 20 miles. But after I did those 20 miles, I always felt good and accomplished.
These days, our purpose is a little unclear. At the end of the day, we both look at each other and say, “what did we do today?” Yes, we have so much catching up to do, but don’t really know where to begin. We are both spending lots of hours on the computer—between job searching, returning e-mails and organizing photos—but I long for the days when we had no computer access. By the way, I’ve uploaded all our photos to Flckr, so if you feel like looking through 1,000+ photos, check out the sidebar of the blog!
I will say, it is quite amazing how quickly we fall back into old routines. We are cooking, staying up late and sleeping in … it did take us 3 days to learn how to turn on the TV, but now we are back to watching some TV. I almost feel like we never left, but then I realize that we took a break from a lot of “life.” The last 4.5 months were not just a dream.
We are walking everyday in Chicago. Thankfully, since driving in Chicago makes us break out in hives. But walking 4 miles on sidewalks is not the same as hiking in the woods up and over mountains with packs on. And so many people!!! I know the worldwide population just hit 7 billion, but holy granola, I think a quarter of those people roam the streets of Chicago.Anyways, despite the walking, our bodies are so stiff and in a lot of pain. I believe it’s pain from inactivity. We went from constant movement to sedentary, especially given the fact that we spent the first 24 hours after finishing the trail on a train and in a vehicle. I wake up with charlie horses in my calves at night (although I’ve been drinking tonic water and I think that helps) and Deal’s feet wake him up. We have to gingerly walk up steps because our knees hurt like they did in Maine! From what I hear from past thru hikers, the wear and tear of walking 2,181 miles will not subside for awhile.
We went grocery shopping at the beginning of the week and were a little overwhelmed. On the trail, our trips to the grocery store had one goal – buy items with as many calories as possible that were as light & easy to carry as possible. But now we have to ween ourselves off the intense amounts of sugar we were inhaling on a daily basis. Detox is not an easy thing!
I hope I don’t sound too manic-depressive about post-trail life. I’m sure we will adjust more and more as the days go by. I just want to point out that we are SLOWLY making the transition back to being responsible adults and re-entering the hustle and bustle of real life.
As for what’s next, we are looking for suggestions …