It is time to resume walking. Two weeks ago, Mountain Goat and I hitchhiked to Washington D.C. taking a break from the Appalachian Trail. Mountain Goat flew to Italy for a few weeks with family while I went to Pittsburgh with my brother. We hung out for a day in D.C. before deciding to drive back to the Burgh. Leaving at midnight wasn’t the best idea. My brother drove for less than an hour before pulling into a lot where we slept in the car until morning.
Being in Pittsburgh was weird. It is my hometown; though, it no longer feels like home. There, I am lost in a former self. Returning home is never easy after a long journey. I struggle every time but, I’ve learned a lot about dealing with post “trail” depression. I’ll write an article on the subject. It will be good for me as well because this trip will not be easy to recover from.
Why have I not updated the blog in so long?! Well, now there is a question. I began with the intent to record every day of this Appalachian Trail thru hike, but quickly fell behind. Walking consumes most of my time and the day’s chores consume the rest: eating, setting up camp, hanging bear bags, sleeping. What little time remains, I socialize with friends and I make new ones. The AT is all about the people. Blogging daily is also expensive requiring more time in towns using wifi. My budget is broken.
Then, as I set about to catch up on posts, I became depressed! Looking through photos of the month before I realized that those moments are already memories. It became harder and harder to relive those wonderful moments when everything is so different now. One month ago, we were still in the honeymoon phase of the journey. Everything was fun and exciting. Then, we entered Virginia and the infamous “Virginia Blues” took hold splitting up our trail family and nearly my soul.
Now though, I am ready to finish this thing so I can get back on my bike! I’m enjoying the hike, but travel on a bike is true freedom. Walking requires more planning and just consumes more time.
So, this being said, I am changing the format of the blog. This will no longer be a daily journal of a thru-hike, but random Tales of Wandering from wherever I may be, the Appalachian Trail for now.
How did I spend my time in Pittsburgh? Well now. You’d think I’d crave rest and the luxurious sleep of a soft bed. Nope. I drug my bikes from my mom’s basement. I pedaled. And I camped. When I did stay at my mom’s, I slept on the porch or the couch rather than the empty bed upstairs.
Thanks Mom for letting me crash at your house while I was in Pittsburgh!
A major reason for leaving trail was the need for a new backpack. My Osprey Exos, while comfortable with no food or water, was hell to carry with a full resupply. The pack is designed for ultralight backpacking. Not for a travel blogger carrying ten pounds of electronics… My new pack? A Gregory Baltoro 65. This pack is referred to as the Cadilac. It does seem to be as comfortable as they say.
What else did I do? I pedaled and I pedaled a lot. Staying active is most important in staying sane. I visited with friends and family. I read and I rested.
And I ate LOTS of goodies.
Monday evening, Dr. Kool-aid (who went home for a couple weeks as well) picked me up on his way back to the trail and dropped me off in Waynsboro, Va. I skipped over a hundred miles of trail to continue walking with Firecracker I’ll walk this section after Katahdin. Purists be damned! I’ll still be walking the entire trail even if not in complete sequence. Life is the journey, not the destination and the journey is more enjoyable with Firecracker. Most days =)
So where are we now? Sitting in a library in Waynseboro, Virginia about to walk into Shenandoah National Park. Our next resupply is in 80 miles in the town of Luray, Va. We plan on five days. See ya’ll then!