I apologize in advance for the length of this entry, but I have been reflecting on the hike a lot recently, and five months is a pretty long time over which to reflect!
Wow. I can't believe it's over. At the beginning I didn't really know what to expect since I had not previously attempted a thru-hike. I should have been expecting a lot of fun and great people! Now, five amazing months have passed and I wonder where the time has gone. I'm glad I took so many pictures to help me remember all the good stuff that happened, and the people who made those times so great.
Now that I'm back in Portland, I can't decide which would be better: jumping straight back into work and my previous life, or having these two weeks to attempt to readjust before starting work again. It's probably good to have this time to do nothing for a while, but sometimes I'm not very good at doing nothing and my mind has too much time to wander back to trail life.
Lifestyle is certainly going to be different, but I think the hardest part is going to be adjusting to life without the awesome people I met and spent a lot of time with on the trail, especially 12 Ounce. Hiking partners are not friends that you see every now and then, or even a roommate that you see everyday. It's like being roommates who carpool to work, work all day together, carpool home, and then sleep in the same tiny bedroom together. Needless to say, it's not all that easy to find a person or group of people that you can live this lifestyle with everyday. I was lucky to have met many people who fell into this category. The first group, that I hiked with for 450 miles, included Wiz and Jimbrick, who I thoroughly enjoyed talking to, as well as hiking and camping with everyday. As that group split and scattered, I began to hike with Gangsta Rap, Timex/Kick/Colin, and 12 Ounce. For the next 500 miles the four of us hiked together through the Sierras to Yosemite, before splitting into twosomes. The remaining 1700 miles from Yosemite to the Canadian border I hiked with 12 Ounce, with a few other people every now and then. Best time of my life. Thanks to all of you for being so much fun and sharing your time/hike with me! I already miss you guys.
As far as my transition back to "real life", I'm taking my time with that one. Today I ran the Portland Marathon, which I signed up for prior to starting the PCT, and otherwise wouldn't have run. When I signed up for the marathon I thought I would finish the hike mid-September and have more time to prepare, but as it turned out, I was having too much fun hiking and didn't finish until September 30. I got in one 6-mile run two days ago, and then just went for it today. After getting through the first half in just under 90 minutes, the wheels came off and it was a painful run, but I still made it to the finish line with a smile and in a fairly respectable 3:23:30. My body isn't all that happy with me at the moment.
Once my legs have had a chance to recover from the pavement pounding I put them through today, I will work on moving into my new home in Vancouver. I am renting a room in my friends house and looking forward to having a roommate again after living alone the past few years. Once settled in there I will go back to work on October 24. I guess it's back to reality...soon enough at least.
As for future adventures, I am working on putting together a list for 2012. I plan to find something adventurous to do each month next year. It could be as simple as running a marathon (check!), or something more intense like circumnavigating the 30+ miles around Crater Lake on skis and touring Mt Scott along the way. I also plan to ski as much as possible this winter/spring at Mt Hood, and possibly elsewhere. Now that I'm done hiking, bring on the snow! Perhaps I will go on another grand adventure (CDT?) in a few years, only time will tell.