View Full Version : Sad or Glad?
THru Hikers only: Were you sad or glad when it was over?
Happy to accomplish the thru-hike. Sad that I'm back at work - when is the next 2000+ mile hike?
Sad. I wish it could have gone on and on. Time stood still for 6 months and it was great. The friendships and the family that was created in the woods was like no other.When I reached Katahdin and touched the sign I instantly became a has been. I wasnt a Thru-Hiker anymore.
My favorite AT picture is from last year. One thruhuker is clutching the sign, while another has his feet off the ground and is attempting to pull him away. The caption is "NOOOOOOOO". Many hikers ask me why I keep hiking the AT when there are so many other trails. I consider that question to be like asking a happily married man why he keeps making love to the same woman.
Here's a related question: you've been hiking for months with the goal of Katahdin ahead of you. Suddenly you reach your goal, and your future is wide open, goal-less. Was it easy to come to terms with that openness? Is it something you planned for (do you think or know ahead of time what you'll do when you finish your hike)? I'm hiking next year, and I'm going to just quit my job and leave my apartment, so when I finish I'll have a completely blank slate. I don't know yet (nor am I planning ahead) even where I'll resettle after finishing my hike. Just wondering how much of a shock reentry is.
I've been up Katahdin over 10 times when folks were finishing. MOST were glad they were done.
The shock of reentry is vastly different for different people, directly proportional to, how much you loved your hike and inversly proportional to, how many loved ones you have left when you get back. In some ways I've never come back. Sometimes I feel like I'm just taking a large number of Zero Days, with no other reason than to make money to escape again. Whatever you DO NOT watch Corporate News.
We were glad it was over, and anxious to be going home...we haven't really been hiking since we got back, last August...just seems pointless to go out for the afternoon..but it did help get us in shape to do all the other stuff we like to do, so I guess it's not all bad :) We also haven't managed to get back to the 'real world" yet (ie: full time jobs, paying the bills consistently, etc..) so maybe that has something to do with it :)
August 3, 1973 - extreme relief and satisfaction
Labor Day weekend 1975, 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000 - euphoric! the sheer joy of perfected achievement!
Labor Day weekend 1977 - bittersweet (a mixture of elation and hope with betrayal).
End of my section hikes of the ENTIRE trail - satisfied completeness!