The Winds of Change

They say, “You can never go home again”, and I guess there’s some truth in that. I decided I had had enough of the trail, and was looking forward to going home, but it wasn’t what I expected.

Close readers will remember I mentioned that my car was involved in an accident while I was on the trail (when it was supposed to be parked in my backyard, but we won’t go there). The insurance appraiser came out last week and my car is “totaled”. That’s fun to come home to.

But my apartment! Oh my God. It was such a mess I could barely put my pack down. Mess in the front room, laundry on the hallway floor, kitchen full of dirty dishes and surfaces, fridge smelled like something died in there, ants, fleas. I paid a friend who needed money to clean my place while I was gone, but I guess that didn’t work!

But she was indeed industrious because she rearranged my furniture, moved all my stuff around, took down all my wall decorations, took my house plants, and after living here for 25 years, I can’t find anything. She was “just trying to help”, but it’s still extremely frustrating.

Also, my long term neighbor of 15 years or so and one of my best friends is moving. Looks like my friend Christine who is cat-sitting for me will move in next door, so that’s kind of cool. My neighbor leaving means I lose my wifi, but my computer has a bad virus anyway. Still posting from my phone.

And the “cleaner” wants money for her efforts. With the money I spent on my adventure combined with not working for four months, I’m pretty much broke. No new car for me. I could liquidate my savings, I suppose, but I really don’t want to do that.

So, I suppose it’s good news that I went back to work today and that my Forest (Six Rivers National Forest) is on fire. Ironically, or cosmically, a bunch of lightning came through the night I got home and now we have several fires over 10,000 acres, most of which are only 10-20 percent contained. I’ve been dispatched for a 14-day fire assignment beginning Thursday. The first of many, I’m sure. I’ll probably be eating smoke until it snows around Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, my toe is still bothering me. I’m back on antibiotics (infection in the bone?) and I’m back limping. I have a doctors appointment on Wednesday and hopefully the X-rays I got last week will inform the diagnosis. My fire boots kind of bend in the wrong spot.

So, I might be scarce after this post.

I added up my PCT mileage: 1275 miles. Not quite half. I thought I made a good showing until my infection. Everyone tells me I should be proud of my accomplishment, but it still feels like failure. The analogy I use is attempting to run a marathon and only making it 18 or 20 miles. Yeah, that’s great, but it’s not what I set out to do.

Not that I had much choice. Hell, my toe is still not right. As much as I wish I was still on the trail, I have to admit that’s not really one of my choices when I’m limping around town.

I tried. I guess that’s something. In time, I’m sure I’ll feel better about how cool my adventure was and how I pushed myself to my limits for weeks on end with glorious results.

It was certainly a  different world I entered, and I’m grateful for the experience, good and bad. Live!

This isn’t my last post. I would like to do a gear/strategy post before I go. With all my experimentation, I did learn a few things. I know gear posts are really useful to future hikers and I’d like to give back.

Might be a while if I’m on fires. You want to hear about that?

And to circle back to the theme of this blog, yes, I have had lots of dreams about the trail. It’s another world that may take the rest of my life to process.

Thanks for reading and all your comments!

9 thoughts on “The Winds of Change

  1. Yes, I would like to hear about your gear.

    I also would not mind if you cared to post about local hikes you take around your home town. I am always researching areas to hike and this is how I go about doing that..first hand stories and pics from other hikers.

    Stay safe and I will pray for some fast healing of that toe.

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  2. Adam, love to hear you share knowledge about gear. You’re a good writer. I’m sure some folks will enjoy reading whatever you may write down. 1,275 miles is one long hike! I’ve been “section hiking” for over a decade and am only at “Ziggy and the Bears” place (mile 105?). “Completion” is an arbitrary concept. Some lady “skipped” Southern California, the Sierra and Washington and became a best selling author. 🙂 1.3 billion Chinese couldn’t give a rats ass. You’ve logged a hellish amount of trail time. That’s experience. Please do share more, about the trail, firefighting, whatever. Thanks again and good luck getting with all you do.

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  3. Adam, welcome home. All part of the adventure, I suppose. What kinda friends you keeping these days?

    Failure comes in many forms. You’ll come to terms with it in your own way. But truth of it is, is that shit happens and much of life is not in our control. If science and a distinction for reality has taught us anything, is that we are all in the hands of entropy and chaos. That’s not such a bad thing. I find it comforting that I’m part of the universe and that for all my own shit going on, its all insignificant. You coming home early was out of your control. I’m fairly confident that you’ed still be on the trail were it not for your toe. You’re LUCKY you didn’t loose it all together.

    Hey, keep writing. I would like to hear about fire camp. And besides, I get to soap-box here too.

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  4. Adam
    I enjoyed your writing immensely. You gave us a second hand experience of hiking the PCT; something I dream about but will probably never do. I think you should be proud of what you accomplished. You were stopped by bacteria, not because you wimped out. Go back next year and pick up where you left off!
    Please keep writing. I would like to know about the firefighting efforts – and I hope to read about you completing your thru hike some time.
    Best wishes, Reader

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  5. Hi Adam,

    I’m sorry to hear about the misadventures that took place whilst you were on the trail. Perhaps as you already know from your PCT hiking, the story is not over.

    I would love to read about your gear recommendations, as well as about your work on the fires. You have a great way of sharing experiences with us in a way that both educates and entertains. That is challenging to do, yet a gift that you possess. Please keep the posts coming. Thanks!

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  6. Hey Adam,

    Sorry about the bad stuff that happened in your home and your car getting totaled while you were gone. 1275 miles is a lot! You should definitely be proud of that. Will you be able to do work on the fires with your toe as it is? Hopefully you’ll be able to get that taken care of. I’d like to hear about your gear suggestions. This blog seems like it’s been a great introspective journey for you. Love to read more! Warm regards…

    Bruce

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  7. How’re you now? I need to call you but been processing my recent hell week and trying to figure out a job. Let me know if there’s a specific good time to chat!!! Miss talking to you

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