Coming back home was hard. I didn't expect that. I expected to be happy to see friends and family again — and I was — but it's tinged with... grief? What?!
It's now three weeks since I left the trail and I miss it. I missed it the second I stepped off it for the last time. There were days that I hated the trail, loved the trail, forgot about the trail, remembered the trail, was indifferent to the trail, or was excited about the trail. Sometimes the trail scared me, and sometimes I whacked a bush with my trekking poles because I was so fed up with the direction the trail took when I could clearly see the objective right there!
I miss the trail, but even more so, I miss trail.
Now I'm at home with family and I've already had that moment that many long distance hikers seem to experience where you think to yourself "I don't want to be here." For me, it was a total shock when I had that thought and realized that I meant it. I texted Peanut shortly after and she mentioned that she had that thought too, which was a small comfort. At least I'm not the only crazy one in the room.
But is it really that crazy? I mean, I can remember looking out over a massive valley and seeing Mt. Rainier in the distance. Rainier is a mountain so grotesquely monstrous that it stands head and shoulders above the surrounding peaks and even the clouds, making it appear to be some frightening apparition of a mountain. I remember feeling exhilaration and awe just looking at it. And when I closed my eyes in that moment, I could still sense the mountain was there, and in a way, I sensed it even more so than when my eyes were wide open. I thought I could feel it's presence, even from far away.
I miss that feeling. And I guess it's not that crazy.
Before I left for the PCT, I had a feeling that I wasn't supposed to be here, that I was supposed to be somewhere else. I may have found, at least for the time being, where I want to be.