Jelly's final notes:
Trying to look back as well
Searching for balance
Thankful for security
Missing peeing in the woods
Finding it hard to relate
Attention span of a teenager
Still floating in waves of emotional up and down
Impatient line standers
Tired body and mind
I know a secret now
Forever changed for the better
More mindful of waste
Still addicted to the newest technology
Easier to slow down even on a busy day
Love fresh clean food more than ever
Love fresh clean sheets more than ever
Same for fresh towels after a shower
Thankful for normal sized feet
Self-conscious in social settings more than before
Grateful for family and friends
Trust my fiancé more than I know
Love more than I can describe
Flossy's final notes:
We've been done hiking 2 weeks now, but the trail feels a million miles away.
For me, there's no regret in stopping - at least not now. The monotony of trail life was wearing me down in a way that felt unnecessary, considering this was a voluntary and un$pon$ored activity.
We had reached a point where the food was almost unbearable in its high sugar & grain content and generally repetitive nature. Knowing what we know now, we could plan food for a trip with more precision. We would leave ourselves room for the ebbs and flows of trail cravings and the space to avoid what's currently gross. (Vs. packing all of our boxes almost identically in advance... OOPS!)
Even the audiobooks (which we started listing to almost daily) were becoming less engaging - although the luxury of listening to books for hours on end is one I will certainly miss. Anybody read Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins? It was definitely a trail highlight for me.
We were tired. Physically and emotionally. And that combination brought on more and more tears as the days passed. I missed family and friends. And the future loomed ahead with all of its excitement and uncertainty.
I never hated being outside though. I love sleeping in our tent; I love our thermarest NeoAirs. I love getting water from a spring or creek. I love the feeling of walking 15 miles with no concern for time.
I look forward to doing more backpacking and more trails in the future. Possibly even finishing the PCT! Considering, I'd only been "on the trail" a total of 3 nights before this trip, I feel like an expert now - which I'm not. But I do know a heck of a lot more. And I can be days into the backcountry with confidence. How cool.
We were gone 16 weeks in total. Probably 12-13 of those weeks were spent in the wilderness. That's a gift I'm still processing the meaning of as we are currently enjoying the luxuries of city life... Like showers and the ease of peeing in the middle of the night.
1517. After some rough calculations, I believe that's how many miles we walked. It's hard to really say what that amounts to in something other than numbers, even as someone who hiked that far. Results TBD
One awesome aspect of the hiking process is that I feel more physically empowered than ever. I've never been one with the mental stamina to push beyond the pain of an activity to the point where I actually see improvement, i.e. Running. But after walking for 3 months, I went from barely being able to hike 13 miles on mountainous terrain to hiking 25+ miles with little trouble. It's amazing! Our bodies are capable of incredible tasks and they're working in our favor daily - we just have to help them along the way.
As I mentioned though, our trail diet left me feeling lacking in many ways. Post-trail, we are on a fun food journey to rebuild our bodies and minds. Through research, personal experience, and the help of Nigel's mom - we are exploring the "paleo" diet. I hate to mention it, because of the stigma I'm sure it is raising in your mind. BUT whole foods and plants are what we've missed the most, and I'm excited to see how I can feel if I'm exercising more and eating "life." Maybe there's a food focused post in the future!
Thanks to everyone for your support along the way. The comments and messages were always inspirational and truly kept us going. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories. Looking forward to seeing you all in person over the coming months!
Also - we are happy to give any backpacking tips and tricks. Actually, maybe we will do a blog post about that too!
n + c