It has been a week and a half since I’ve finished the hike. I have
been busy adjusting to life back in Portland and didn’t have time to
post about my return home, so I thought I’d do it now. The day after we
got to Manning Park, I took a bus to Vancouver where my friend Brian
hosted me, Yankee, and Bookworm. Brian had two amazing, homemade,
chocolate chip cookie cakes waiting for us. So wonderful!
The next morning, the three of us rode the Cascadia Amtrak to Seattle (Bookworm & Yankee) and Portland(me!). If you ever get a chance to ride that train after the hike, go for it! It was the perfect, relaxing and scenic way to return home. Here is a photo I took as the train rode along the coast.
When I got to Portland, my dad and step mom were at an afternoon play, so I decided to walk the 3.5mi home. I loved every moment of it and was so happy to be back home and in Portland. It was a perfect day for walking too!
Just as I turned the corner to the house, my dad and step mom were returning home. They jumped out of the car and had a welcome home sign for me! So great!
Then, to top it all off, my sister had sent me a PCT hoodie! Baggy hoodies are my favorite thing to wear and I’ve worn this almost everyday since I’ve been home.
Many people are interested to hear about my adjustment back into regular life. I was warned that it would be rough. I’ve heard that many hikers experience a post hike withdrawal or depression. I was told that I’d ache to be back on the trail. I’d be overwhelmed by the stimuli of people and sounds in a city. I’d be unable to sleep inside. Driving would be stressful. Work would be unbearable and countless other things…Well, I have to say that, for me, it hasn’t been too bad.
My body was pretty tired when I finished and my friends behind me finished in rain and up to 4in of SNOW, so I can’t say that I wished I was on the trail. I felt like the timing was perfect and I was ready to move on and back to regular life. Plus, I was very happy to be warm and dry at home. I also started working on Tuesday after getting home on Sunday. I figured that, for me, it would be a good distraction. I’ve had plenty to do to settle in after being gone for 5mo (mainly finding a place to live and catching up on shows!), so I don’t think I’ve had enough time to stop and let it sink in yet. The main adjustment problem I’ve had is that I need fresh air to sleep. I’ve been sleeping with the window open and that has helped a lot. Another thing I can say is that I’ve been home for a week and a half and I haven’t seen anyone yet. I’ve just felt like not talking much and just being alone. I don’t think that’s really a result of the trail though. Social engagements can wear me out more than physical stuff, so I know that’s the best way for me to conserve my energy in this transition phase. I am slowly starting to see people this week. Many of us on the trail have facebooked each other and it’s been fun to reconnect through there, see their photos, and have some support from others going through the same transition. I’m sure there are many who I will keep in touch with for years to come.
Speaking of conserving energy, before the hike, I signed up to run the Portland Marathon, which is this weekend. I naively thought that it would be an easy way to avoid a summer of marathon training(which I hate) and also run my new hometown’s marathon…that was a horrible idea! I ran a few days ago and my body hated me for it. My muscles are not accustomed to running and my body definitely let me know it. Unfortunately for my body, my mind is telling me I still might give it a shot, so I’ll let you all know how that train wreck goes if I actually go through with it on Sunday. I know I can walk it, but being a marathoner, I have too much pride and want to at least jog it out if it’s possible.
One thing that I do miss about the trail, is the adventure and challenge each day brought. I had never been on most of the PCT, so I was discovering something new all day everyday. That was exciting and I miss that feeling of adventure. The trail has been in the forefront of my mind a lot over the past week. It seems that almost everything I see or hear makes me think about the trail. Right now, I’m too tired to miss it too much. Usually, the thought or memory goes through my mind and just I feel really happy. I’ve never had such an extended period in my life when everything aligned and I was doing exactly what I hoped to do at exactly the right moment. It felt great! Once I’m rested, I’m sure I’ll miss it more and I’ll be more motivated to take mini trips to fill that hole. I’m glad I live in Portland where it will be easy to get an outdoor fix when I need it. I’ve gotten many emails from people who are going through “PCT journal withdrawal.” I know it well and went through it last year when I got hooked on journals. I’ll do my best to keep you all entertained with more posts coming over the next couple months. Hopefully, this lengthy one helped a bit!