Home Sweet New York City
It’s true what they say: Being a writer in New York is difficult. Actually, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever half-ass attempted and if you ask creative New Yorkers, they’ll most likely tell you it’s because of the competition; the difficulty of being published. Then there is the low pay and the lack of jobs. Those shouldn’t be problems for a New Yorker who is a third of the way through a thru-hike though, right? Right. But still, I am walking down a street many of us call writers block, where the green tunnel is just a walk through the scaffolding and where square iron fences surround the strategically planted sidewalk trees. As a New Yorker, I should be used to this. What causes many people culture shock, I saw as a source of inspiration that stimulated my writing process. Two months later, I came back to a feeling of of displacement. Luckily, it did fade, but we’ll get to that in a bit. While I’m slightly disappointed in my lack of desire to write, there’s more to write about. There’s this hike we need to talk about.
I am genuinely excited to share what we have been up to, and not even in an ‘I’m trying to find creative ways to talk about walking all day’ kind of way. For those of you who found yourself here for the first time (hello!), my boyfriend – trail name Rooster — and I are hiking southbound together. Over the course of this adventure, particularly this past week, we went through a period of extreme closeness and growth in our relationship. While I personally don’t find a blog to be the right place to air our dirty laundry (mainly because we don’t really do laundry), I will say this: Being a couple on the trail can get tough. There never seems to be privacy when you feel you really need it, and trying to talk things out when you’re both out of breath is down right exhausting. However, when we carved out time to be together and swim in a river, our communication became clear and healthy.
We also discovered that identifying and foraging wild edibles, particularly mushrooms, was a fun way to learn together and jazz up our meals. We collect wood sorrel almost everyday, and have passed countless blueberry, wineberry, and raspberry bushes recently. We’ve found coral, oyster, and chicken of the woods mushrooms on our foraging breaks. We read about other wild edibles that grow in our surrounding environment and region. We now carry a pocket size Mycology book. In other words, between emotional chats and deep discussions about life, we seriously chat about fungus. It’s cute, you guys, and it works for us. It really does! And it’s becoming a new kind of familiar that I can get used to.
The trail itself became more familiar, as well. The massive white birch trees in New England have shrunk and become farther in-between, and the trails have narrowed and become filled with mountain laurel. The summits are no longer bald, but covered with pitch pine and low bush blueberries. Now, we’re in our home territory and the grounds hold memories from earlier in our relationship. We got to know each other on these trails. We first discussed spending Thanksgiving together at my parents’ house on Bear Mountain. We’ve walked countless times across the Bear Mountain Bridge; But as it goes, new memories are created, as well. Feeling silly and enthusiastic, I danced forth on the bridge when a truck driver started giving me a beat with his horn. I was immediately reminded of the phrase “only in New York” and why I love this place so damn much.
That day ended at 26.2 miles. We hiked a marathon and as if that wasn’t exciting enough, our best friends Kelly and Adam picked us up and brought us to their place (our second home). Our time here has gone by in a New York minute. We ran errands in the city the next morning, and met up with Henri’s sister, Emily, her boyfriend, Martin, and two of our other wonderful friends Nikki and Grant for THE BEST sushi buffet in K-town. Last night, a bunch of our friends came out for what turned out to be a 10 hour long happy hour. My mom even came in from New Jersey. Not only was I overjoyed, but finally felt like I was home. Everything that initially evoked panic and displacement was replaced with contentment. Rooster and I are now on our last night in New York, enjoying Kelly and Adam’s apartment while they are out. We ate dinner from the pizzeria conveniently located right downstairs, baked cookies (errr… ate cookie dough), and will only get off this couch to go to the bathroom. We keep talking about what great friends and family we have. We keep talking how we’ve proudly surrounded ourselves with such solid of a support group. We keep talking how lucky we are to be in the city and also how excited we are to get back on the trail. Thank you, New York(ers) for making us feel all of the things. See you back home!
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