Reminising

I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face having just watched the video of my arrival at the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m not sure what made me do it. I was scrolling through the videos from that final treacherous day, finding it hard to believe that the person walking through the snow was actually me. Maybe it’s because I spoke to Fuller tonight and he mentioned that final thrilling day, and just how frightening those videos were. I guess I had to see them again for myself, which naturally brought back so many emotions and encouraged me to go the whole hog and watch the one I knew would bring a tear to my eye.

Speaking to Fuller brought back the reality of the trail. We both agreed that sometimes it’s hard to believe it really happened, that we did in fact walk from Mexico to Canada. We’ve both reached a point where it’s hard to talk about now. I think I’m in the process of filing away the memories and emotions, and each time I bring them up, I need to repack them neatly away again. Fuller came up with a good analogy about the trail being a little like an ex-lover. The experiences you share with the trail will never be known or understood by other people and it will forever hold a place in your heart.

I’ve obviously had too much solo time on my hands today because I was also reading some of the notes I wrote on my return to Sydney before I started this new blog. I definitely hit a few low points in those first few days readjusting to ‘home’ life again. I remember many people encouraging me to write about ‘life after the trail’. I think this is a topic that will continue to resurface for me and every other thru-hiker as the post-trail experience runs its course. Although the piece below sounds incredibly depressing, re-reading it made me feel it was worthwhile to share so that others feeling a bit of the same will realise you’re not alone:

I feel like I’m suffocating. I have an incredible knot in my stomach knowing that my life will never be the same. I will never again be preparing to embark on the most exciting adventure of my life. I’ve just lived it. From extraordinary to ordinary. I’m short of breath. The physical effects of this feeling of loss are breathtaking. The trail is no longer a looming mystery filled with longing and excitement. The story is complete, and I must find a new beginning without repeating the past. How can I top that? Haven’t I had enough excitement for one year? Shouldn’t I be satisfied and fall back into society’s groove like all the other players? I’m sliding down a plughole into the dark tunnel of my own thoughts. Flashbacks of a time that was haunt me. Even the bad feels good. I want it back, I wish it wasn’t over. I’m not ready to move on. The highs and lows that were magnified on the trail have followed me into this world. I want to crawl up and sleep, or escape into the wilderness. 

 

The roller coaster of emotions has certainly steadied from that day. I did struggle a lot getting back in the groove of this reality, but continuing to move forward and staying active has definitely been the key.

9 thoughts on “Reminising”

  1. I find the best way to get over one phase of my life is to plan for another. There’s nothing in the world that will bring the same satisfaction as hiking in the wilderness. How can you top the PCT hike? Attempt the triple crown. After that there’s Europe with the Alps and Pyrenees. Then Nepal, Patagonia, etc. There are endless challenges to take on in the world and you are very young. Start making new plans.

  2. Thanks for putting in words what I feel about another phase of life. Guess you just can’t escape those phases (don’t know if I’d want to).

  3. I found your blog on the PCT website and found your story to be very inspirational. I’ve dreamed of thru hiking for several years now and plan to when my youngest graduates from high school. The emotions you have post hike are just how I would imagine. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Mike in Benicia, CA

  4. Hello Rozanne,

    This post is amazing in your willingness to continue to share yourself and experiences with others. Also the timing is interesting in that I was just one week from the end of you PCT trek re-read! I started reading about 4 days ago. It’s amazing how much more detail you pick up when reading a second time, straight through. I watched all of the videos as well and spot read the comments.

    You have much going through your head but not to worry. The inspiration for new challenges will strike you in due time, you just need to let them come to YOU. You are young enough to accomplish a lot more, and old enough and have accomplished much, much more than most do in a lifetime. You have touched so many by sharing and were touched yourself by others you met on the trail and through the blog. You have acknowledged and expressed the reward of these contacts and must feel a fullness from that.

    If you were ever back in Vancouver (in the summer) and had the desire to hike some sections in Washington when it’s warm and not raining/snowing I would be honored to backpack with you. Not sure if this is considered revisiting the past but maybe knowing you can revisit helps to let go at the same time. Consider it an open invitation.

    I am contemplating hiking a section solo next summer with the intent of hiking Oregon the year after, solo. I never would have considered doing that alone before reading your blog. You have inspired many.

    By the way, did Fuller finish the trail? Also, I mailed that print to the address in Vancouver. If you don’t happen to get to Vancouver in the near future I can email the graphic to you.

    Glad to hear your outlook is improving. Thanks for sharing.

    Tim

    1. Hey Tim, thanks for your wonderful kind words and I look forward to receiving your print when I finally do get back to Vancouver. Hiking Washington in warmer weather providing there’s no mosquitos would be great! Fuller did finish the trail, what a trooper! Thanks for continuing to follow the adventure! Muk

  5. One word: origami. It’s pretty clear that’s what your soul is yearning for. 🙂

    I agree with TimV whole heartedly.

    Your situation reminds me of men who landed on the moon. After accomplishing the goal of their life, what next? You also make my worry about my friend, Denny.There’s more to his story than I’ve talked about. I appreciate your being so forthright; it gives me insight to be a better friend. Thank you.

    Take care, Sleeps with Lions.

  6. Well I seem to arrive at your blogs a year late, but they all resonate within me. I’m planning my PCT thru hike for a few years from now, when I retire (weird word retire, don’t like it). My dream for this hike started when I was 19..I researched it and my two friends dropped on me…and I was forced to realize I wasn’t mentally able to go it on my own at that time. Now I see the PCT as a metamorphism to the next phase of my life, one free of bonds of career path and family crisis, etc.
    Your vids from your last day are epic. It seemed your camera was your support to steady your nerve to go on. I actually cried with you at the monument, not even sure why. Imagine I was mixing your completion and seeing this as my dream too. Anyway Muk, you are an inspiration, and when the going gets tough I think I will picture your final day..and I will make it through…mind, body, trail oh my!
    A part of you will always be on the that trail, and a part of it will always be within you.

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