It was abrupt, to put it mildly, to go from arising to the sound of birdsong in rural Maine to being jolted awake by car horns and traffic outside of my Brooklyn window. After the utter appreciation and joy that a daily shower and on-demand electricity could bring began to wear off, the reality of needing a job and having to pay the bills set in. Had my natural pace slowed too much for city life? What did I really want out of life? My now husband was thankfully and eternally patient as I found myself yearning for that sense of calm, clarity and inexpressible metaphysical connection to nature that I had achieved on the trail.
But, like the miles on the AT, I muddled through the rough stuff. Step by step, I’ve regrouped, reconnected, made new connections and perhaps am finally learning that I have the ability to create my own career path. It will be a long journey, but you don’t get to Maine in one day either. It took LongTime longer to get back to work than he would have liked, but the trail taught him how to roll with it too, toting his new mantra, “I can handle it, I’m a thru-hiker. We can get through anything.” He temporarily relocated for a job, only to get a better offer back at home two months later. When you learn to resign to the hard stuff, the reward becomes that much sweeter.
It’s amazing how much my time on the Appalachian Trail has changed and continues to change me. Not a day goes by without me thinking about it, sometimes swelling with pride in thinking about the fact that I actually finished it, or sometimes it’s just a funny memory — like the time in Virginia when LongTime fell in a creek, or when we spent a whole morning coming up with a song about pizza, or when every word out of our mouth for the day was said in a mock Nebraskan (or was it Indiana?) accent of a fellow thru-hiker….
So much more than a physical feat, my journey on the Appalachian Trail was the ultimate test of will and determination, often bringing me beyond what I thought were my emotional limits, in glory, in pain and in love. I’m super grateful for my time on the Appalachian Trail, the associated friendships I continue to cultivate and the desire I have to introduce and share that joy with others. The time I spent with my dad will only become more meaningful and special as the years press on. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family at home, on the web and on the trail, and I certainly couldn’t have done it without Doni.
Thanks for joining in our experience!
~ Click! 2011 Nobo
Below are some pics of some hiking trips from this year: Harriman State Park, a trip with section hiker “Whim” to Fahnestock State Park to give trail magic, Big Slide Mt in the Adirondacks with our nephews, Grayson & Parker, The Devil’s Path in the Catskills with new friends Adrienne and Katherine and pics from Trail Days 2012, an annual thru-hiker reunion in Damascus, Virginia. I’m so happy when I can share my love of the outdoors with others!