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!