I’ve been home a couple days now, or I guess 36 hours since the car pulled up to curb and I looked at my house and thought “Is that my beautiful house?” and I looked at my goats and thought “Are those my beautiful goats?” (They are, much to my amusement, both shorter and wider than I remembered. Sid is haughty as usual, and Myshkin is angry. In that, nothing seems different.) If you’ve ever come back from a long backpacking or bikepacking trip, you know the disorientation that attends stepping back into your life. You adapt faster than you ever thought you would. At the same time, something ineffable is different.
I unpacked my gear and that process definitely is interesting. While on the trail, every single thing I had mattered the world to me. I carried it all on my back some 1200 miles. That’s love. That’s a relationship. Now that I’ve undone the tight organization of my pack, each of those precious items has been tossed into bins in the basement where I won’t be handling them daily anymore. I now have lots and lots of things, clothes and a kitchen full of pots and a chest full of blankets, and none of them matter to me in quite the same way. None are so critical to my survival.
But but but. I’m so happy to be home and to watch the rain drum on the window from the dry side. I lucked out with weather crossing the peninsula, as it started to rain day after finishing, but the rain is no longer my concern, at least not with quite the same intensity. Therein lies the real difference: the life of hiking is one of grit, survival, intensity of experience, with soaring highs and treacherous lows. Home is more mild across the spectrum of experience, and the mildness is easier to sustain over the long term I think, but also easier to sleep through. Hiking makes you pay attention. It breaks you down a little bit, or at least those parts of you that are less awake to the world.
This will be my last post to the blog. I’m so grateful for all the comments of interest and support. Maintaining this blog was one of the real joys of this hike for me. Thank you for reading! Also, in the next week or so I’ll be putting up a page on the website for future PNT hikers with more detailed information about the trail. I chose to leave much of that out of the blog because I was writing for a more general audience, but I want to give some summary information that might be useful for those planning a PNT hike. So, if you are interested in a thru-hike of the trail or a section hike, check back soon!