Sunday, October 9, 2011

back in the cotton club once more

Well, I guess it's about time that I write about how we've been adjusting to life after the PCT.

Most of me wishes October had never come, and that I had unlimited money to hike an unending PCT. I miss most aspects of trail life. I miss waking up in the forest, or in a meadow campsite, or on a ridge. I don't like looking up at the mountains from a car and wondering what road will take me to the trailhead, or what it's like to be in those hills. I remember what it's like to be in the wilderness but so close to society - I remember hearing the cars and wondering if there might, just maybe, be someone there to give us unexpected treats. Now I have those treats - an apple, a cookie, a coke, a chair - so close at hand and they are starting to loose their meaning. Like a friend said when she took a short hiatus from the trail, "I drank a coke and it didn't mean anything!"

I miss the endorphin rush and knowing that my body can do ridiculous amounts of work and only need short breaks and some sleep at night to be able to get up and do it all again. I miss being able to eat anything I want, and feeling obliged to my deprived body to eat as much of it as I can. Not eating too much food hurts.

I miss trail friends. They knew what we were going through. On trail, almost anyone around was a friend. Now, so many faces pass by unrecognized, not knowing me or caring to know me.

Yesterday we hiked Eagle Creek, the alternate route that on a normal year ends Oregon for the average thru-hiker. This year because of the Dollar Fire on Mount Hood, we were rerouted to the other side of the mountains and missed it. Chilidog and I have hiked it before, but we were in the area, so we decided to get some exercise - well, more than forty minutes of road running at least.

A few observations:
1. We were sore at the end. Strange, it was only 13.5 flat miles.
2. There were so many people, and we knew none of them, and most of them passed by without saying hello unless I said hello first. While hiking the PCT, we always said at least hello to every passerby, and most day hikers would ask us what we were doing. I miss that. Yesterday, in truth, we were just day hikers like everyone else. Strange.
3. We still felt like the trail was our home, more than the rest of the day hikers. Partly, when we said hi, we felt a little bit like we were welcoming them to our home, even though we don't live on the PCT anymore. We just felt like we belonged there, more than they did.

Anyway, I am enjoying hot tea every morning, seeing old friends, watching movies and sitting on the couch, going inside when it's raining, and generally not having a care in the world. It's nice to know we don't really have to go back to the other life for another couple of months.


  1. im glad to hear you made it safe and sound. have fun planning your next adventures and tell chris i say hi!

  2. Near Klamath Falls, where we met you on the trail (we saw you near Howard Prairie Lake, I think) everybody says hello on a the trail and stops and talks. I took photos of many of them. During the past season of trail running I only met one rude dude, an older gentleman dressed up sort of like the "Crocodile Hunter." I said, "nice day, huh?" as I passed and he mumbled something I didn't understand. I said, "what?" and he repeated, "keep hiking!" Evidently he wasn't from around here.

  3. Hillary, we have enjoyed your adventure blog so much! We were celebrating birthdays and an anniversary at Drakesbad when you came through. We enjoyed talking with the hikers and were so fascinated and impressed, when we got home we started researching the PCT. It was so exciting to find your blog as I am certain we crossed paths. We have been cheering for you as we have followed along, and yes, travelled vicariously. Such an amazing feat. Congratulations on your triumph. Best wishes and many blessings! Valeri and Robert