It’s been almost a month since I have summited Katahdin and being that it is the 100th birthday of the National Parks, I figured it was time to attempt and organize my highly disordered thoughts about finishing the trail and being off trail.
Before I start please let me be clear – I am internally struggling with what it means to be off trail and what it means that I have hiked the trail, so any writing that you may read might seem discombobulated and scatterbrained – my apologies.
Let’s begin with the end – what did it feel like to finish? People often ask me this and I can’t help but respond by telling them that it was every emotion you could possibly have at one time – it was like being a middle schooler all over again. When I reached the summit with my brother I was overwhelmed and also really confused on what to feel and do. Instead of posting a picture of how excited I was to be on the top of Katahdin, I opted to post a picture of me looking rather stunned. I felt it reflected my current emotions and feelings much better than the overly happy pictures I also took.
After making a short vacation of our trip back to Michigan, I was home. When we were driving through my hometown everything looked the same, nothing had changed. My room was left basically the same way when I left. My car looked the same. My parents even looked and sounded the same. Nothing had changed. I felt like going home I was entering back into this universe after spending 150 days in an alternate universe where the only proof I have that I was there is some pictures, videos, and journals. The AT really felt like a dream.
More on that. Of course, when people see me they ask, “how was your adventure?” I still don’t know how to answer this. Usually I say, “good”, mostly because it’s about all I can come up with. How else would you summarize something that feels like it was one of the most crazy experiences of your life that didn’t happen and was all a dream?
I also don’t want to go back – as of now. Although the trail was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I don’t think I could ever do it all again. Maybe this is the post-trail depression beginning in a very strange way or maybe it is from the emotional, physical, and spiritual exhaustion that I still feel. Either way, I have no desire to spend 5 months in the wilderness for a long time…
Saturday I leave for Seminary and like when I left for the AT I am both excited and apprehensive. I know that no one will be able to understand or relate to my all of my experiences in the last 5 months, but as a great friend reminded me last night, “God doesn’t waste anything.” So even though part of me wonders how God will take the experiences that I had on trail and use them for good, I know that in the end all is working together for my good.
Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for me. Gave me a ride into town. Though of me. Laughed at my writing. Provided so I could walk. Gave yourself so I could live.
Until Next Time,
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