Thoughts After The Long Trail

“Here I am, safely returned over those peaks for a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined. How is it that this safe return brings such regret?”- Peter Mathessien

I had a big experience yesterday that I plan to write more about soon in a longer piece. I received a most beautiful multimedia painting/collage from my good friend Joe,   who spent over 100 hours on an image that I had of Mt. Shasta.  The photo does not do it justice, but here it is.


It’s been almost two weeks since I came back from a month of backpacking the Long Trail in Vermont.
I reached for Ray Jardine’s Beyond Backpacking last night where the book  opened to a brief, three page section entitled Re-Entry.  I swear I don’t remember ever reading, or even seeing this chapter before.  A lot of hiker are cynical about the Ray-Way, but I have slowly come to the place where I consider the guy a genius.
Jardine writes, “How does someone who has just come out of the woods after several months on the trail adjust back to the ‘real’ world ? My answer is: only superficially.”
Yep.  The best I have worked out so far is this : one foot in and one foot out of this world.

I’ve come back from these long walks in different states, the worse being after my 2007 AT thru hike, where I plunged into a depression that scared me silly.  I was much better after the 2010 PCT thru hike, and this time I actually feel closer to the” new improved version” I joke about.
I love my life, my, wife, my varied jobs, my family, my motorcycles, my neighbors, my friends-  its a long, long list.  I feel it all today, and am very grateful.

I am highly motivated and finally able to to simplify my life right now-
So far, Auntie Mame has helped me rid my room of over 50 pounds of clothing dating back decades.
I cleaned out the garage and the porch since I came back.
I took a big box of books to the Rockland library.  More to come.
I am eating much better after consuming vast quantities of nutritional trash for the past month ( But it tasted so good!). I take great pleasure in harvesting vegetables from the weed-choked garden that greeting me back. I am gorging daily on tomatoes with mayonnaise/salt/pepper.  I made a borscht last week where everything but the beef, broth, and sour cream came from the garden.

I have planned some hikes. I got out last Saturday and hiked over 11 miles in the Camden Hills.
I have a day hike up to the Bigelows scheduled for this weekend with Auntie Mame and Clarkie.  Next weekend we do a backpacking overnight in the Whites with V8 joining us as well.
In October I plan to attend the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s Gathering in North Adams, MA.
Rolling out the wheelbarrow and stacking wood helps.

Real fuel

3 thoughts on “Thoughts After The Long Trail

  1. If you run out of things to do, come on down to GA and I’ll let you work on putting in new field fencing – about a 1/2 miles worth. LOL!
    Glads to see re-entry is moving along. It helps to have a backlog of things to tackle – at least that’s my theory.


    1. Joe, I can and have initiated my own contacts with Woopie Pie. Back off! Uncle Tom “In everyones life, at some time, our inner flame goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the human spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer


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