Adam called me from the trail one night, I think about a week ago already (I’m so behind on here, sorry!) and was going to find a hitch to the nearest town. He was thinking about getting off the trail. Like, for good. We had a nice talk, and he did end up making his way into town, got a hotel room and called the next day to confirm he was done hiking the PCT.
Disappointment was not a feeling I experienced from this news, but sadness was. It’s really hard to put into words. He made this decision because the hiking day after day just wasn’t his thing. There was a lot he did enjoy, and a lot he got from the experiences he’s had up to that point, but the thought of doing it day after day after day just didn’t appeal to him. I honestly can’t say I can quite understand because that is SO my thing, but I do know not everybody has the same level of interests, so, well, I guess I understand in a way. I certainly don’t blame him.
In fact, I give him a lot of credit for taking such a leap into the unknown in the first place and giving this a fair shot. So I’m in no way disappointed in him or his decision – at all. But I am sad – but I think mostly for selfish reasons. I was enjoying his stories, photos, emotions, blisters, smiles, tears, and seeing him crave that social interaction that comes with thru-hiking (I think he was on trail just a few days too early – he kept missing epic trail magic like grill-outs and cold beers, and the bulk of hikers hadn’t caught up to him yet).
Making trail friends!
I was enjoying sending him resupply boxes with little surprises and fun notes. I looked forward to hearing stories about him dancing at Casa de Luna, climbing into the Sierras, drinking from fresh snow-melted streams, growing that amazing beard, and maybe even glissading down a mountainside. And I was hoping to maybe visit him in June and hike with him and steal a taste of a thru-hike once again.
Also, on my end of things – I was just starting to get into a routine here at home. I’m running a lot when I can, and on my day off each week, I food prep for the next week in the truck, do my laundry, take care of the bills, tick off little things on my to-do list – I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping myself busy.
One of my staple food prep items – duck egg muffins (the green ones are spinach and jalepeno)
I’ve really been enjoying having the car to myself when I get done with work. A perfect example (along with a little side-story) – last week Wednesday I got done with work a day earlier than I’d expected. So I parked my truck, threw my stuff into the car, speed-grocery-shopped and drove an hour to a trailhead to go for a long trail run before the sun set. I had no one else’s schedule to consider. I just did my thing and it was so awesome.
Quick side-story: I ran in my sandals because I’m trying to train for running a 50k in them. But winter won’t give up in Wisconsin, so I said to heck with it and ran in them anyway. I encountered snowy slush, freezing water and mud and thought my toes would freeze off. As it turns out, I was able to tolerate the cold feet. I made it six miles into my planned out-and-back run when I fell – running down a rocky hill – and caught myself with my left hand. A rock pierced my hand causing a large enough gash that resulted in my getting two stitches later that night. When I first saw the hole in my hand I immediately turned around and began the six-mile run back to my car with a buff tied tightly around the wound so the bleeding would stop. Once at the car I Googled the nearest urgent care clinic and rushed there, arriving 10 minutes before they closed. And got some stitches. It was quite exciting.
You see, the logistics of planning big training runs like this are easy when your only scheduling concern is your own. And to be honest, I’ve always felt a twinge of guilt going out for long runs or hikes on my own when I could be spending that time with Adam. I love the hell out of both things, so it’s a constant struggle for me.
And so during that run? I felt amazing. And free. Running is keeping me grounded while he’s gone – it’s keeping me focused, sane, healthy and happy. When I can’t thru-hike? I run. And now I’m getting to the point where I can run up some of the hills again. And five miles is comfy. I have energy to be out there, on the trail, in the woods, for hours at a time. It feels good. I want to keep going. And going… and going.
I miss Adam. I truly do. I miss his company and I miss his comfort – and his warm cuddles. But I’m just making the most of the additional time his being gone has provided me, and it’s felt kind of freeing. It’s time that I think I’ve needed, to be honest. So it feels like it might be a hard transition with this hard stop when he gets home. So much constant adjusting!
But then we talked some more, and it doesn’t sound like he’s done yet! And I’m so, so glad for him (and me, for now). Not just because I can go on my selfish way and run when I want and watch whatever I want on the TV when I’m home, and take the car wherever – and whenever – I want, but because he still has adventures to have, people to meet up with, experiences to experience, and thinking to do. And me, too.
One of the things I really hope he gets out of this time is a sense of freedom to make his own decisions and do some things he wants to do without feeling like he needs justification for them, or worrying about being judged or ridiculed or someone trying to talk him out of it all. He’s never really had a chance to do that, and now just feels like the right time for him.
So me? I’m just going to keep working for now and that gives me some time to think about where I’m going with all of this, too. Life is a pretty crazy thing. Who knows how long we’re going to be here, and that is another one of the reasons I am so happy that Adam is out there exploring himself and having this kind of freedom that I don’t think he’s ever experienced before. And I feel content working to support him at the moment, just hoping it’ll be enough to keep us going for a while. And in the meantime, I can drive down the road for miles and miles, watch the white lines fly by and dream about what my next adventure might be. I don’t know what and I don’t know when, but for now, it’s this. But I can guarantee you I’m not done. No way.
Before his decision to discontinue his thru-hike attempt on the PCT, he did have some pretty interesting experiences. He had a super-happy moment and recorded it, which makes me smile whenever I watch it.
And then a raccoon got at his food bag and sampled a little of everything, which forced Adam to throw any leftovers away. And then he hiked 40 miles, mostly uphill until he got to Onyx Summit and a ride into the town of Big Bear.
He has some videos he took during those few days – with no food – and you can tell it was a struggle. But he made it. He’s so strong. He’s stronger that I thought he was. And I think he’s stronger than he thought he was. And that experience and many others on the trail (just look at some of the foot pictures!) prove that he can do anything he sets his mind to. There’s no doubt in my mind that if he wanted to hike that whole trail, he could. If you can hike over 150 miles, you can hike 2,650. But if it’s just not your “thing,” then it’s not. And that’s okay. That’s what doing these things is all about. Learning stuff about yourself. I’m just so proud of him.
He’s got a couple of ideas of where to go from here, and he’s already planning some of his next adventures – like camping and dayhiking, visiting a friend to do some gardening (which he is actually doing now, as I write this – hanging out with an amazing friend we met on the PCT in 2013 – Lion Heart), and even being a part of a movie filming (which at this point is an exciting for sure thing, too.) In fact, I think you can like the FB page, I’ll throw a link below for you so you can follow it! This movie is being put together (produced? I have no idea what movie-maker, script-writer, etc titles are correct, so I apologise for my ignorance here) by our friend Lion King (who Adam spent a lot of time with in 2013, and I knew of because he’d also hiked the American Discovery Trail.) So – lots of stuff going on!
Link to the FB for “Get Gone” the movie: https://www.facebook.com/GETGONETHEMOVIE/
But for now, we’re both just gonna’ keep moving.
Go Aloha, Go!
Tonight I love the band Cigarettes After Sex. It’s just been on repeat lately. Can’t get enough.
A rare on-trail soda!