I still can’t believe we are home. It feels so strange and normal all at once. I wake up in a soft bed, it feels like a warm marshmallow after sleeping on the ground. The realization that I don’t have to hike today hits me with a wave of excitement and depression all at once. I stretch my still stiff legs and sore feet before getting up to make coffee. Running water and fresh coffee, how quickly I forget that I don’t have to filter any water or drink instant coffee. It’s strange how normal “normal” is and how quickly I settle back into it. I keep asking myself if I actually hiked on a trail for the last 40 days. Did I really walk over 600 miles across the state of Arizona? Or was it just a dream. I look down at my wrecked feet that still bare the marks of healing blisters just to be sure it was real. I am beyond exhausted, how strange it feels to have finished such a hard physical feat just to feel more tired now then on trail.
Perspective is such a funny thing and I know I will never be satisfied. On trail I was reminded how amazing it is to have modern-day luxuries. I dreamed about a fridges full of food, and not having to get out of a tent at night to pee. I spent the last 40 days outside in the elements, subject to the extreme weather changes of first snow, and then desert. Each day I had the same goal, find water hike until dark. The relentless physical exertion day in and day out, oh the pounding my knees would take. Suddenly going to the “gym” sounded easy, only a couple hours a day, sign me up.
Now as I wake back home the perspective is switched to the reverse. I miss the mountains, and the singleminded goal that had to be accomplished each day. I appreciate that crawling in and out of tent, and squatting over a hole kept me constantly flexible. The house feels too far from the sun and I find myself resenting being inside. I struggle with the motivation to actually go exercise, the depression like a heavy blanket. I feel more alone at home than I did in middle of the Arizona mountains. These feelings of depression are not difficult to explain, it’s hard to move forward after spending so much time working towards a specific goal. To accept that the goal was accomplished and now it is over.
The perspective I gained over miles and miles of trail is one of my greatest teachers, I remind myself and hold it close. I make myself a silent vow to not get soft with all these modern-day luxuries. I sit down and begin to plan my next challenge, the accomplishments from the Arizona trail all but forgotten. A new excitement begins to bubble up inside me and I feel myself slowly letting of The Arizona trail. My depression slowly being replaced by a new hunger. Good bye Arizona, the mountains are calling elsewhere.