Hello awesome reader,
After a longer-than-expected hiatus, I am pleased to announce that your regularly scheduled HFD posts from the Eastern Continental Trail will resume shortly. Obviously, they are waaaay overdue at this point, but better late than never, right? (As a subscriber, you may have seen this coming. Sorry for the blank e-mails. I was doing some under-the-hood work and jiggled some things that I shouldn’t have.)
To say that it has been difficult to recapture my writing efficiency post-AT would be an understatement. After struggling to regain my mojo due to laziness, lack of motivation, and the complexities of non-trail life, I am in awe of what I was able to achieve with this blog while also hiking 20+ miles day after day. I feel like a scrub compared with the writer I was when I summited Katahdin, so many days and miles ago. But hey, here I am, a human with human problems. All things considered, I’m doing great and am slowly regaining my stride.
So What’s Been Going On?
Well, I won’t leave you hanging this time. After extracting Blackbird from the mud, SpiceRack and I completed the northern portion of the ECT by following the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) 700 miles north from Katahdin, through Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec. We reached the sea at Cap Gaspé on a bright and sunny day in July, exhausted and humbled. Happy, but ready for a rest. On the way, we endured a lot of roads, bugs, and rain, but also experienced several highlights that eclipsed even the best that the AT had to offer. A few diamonds in a massive pile of the rough.
After a few days at our friends’ lake house (where Tango had been living a life of luxury), Spice, Tango, and I headed back to Maine to commence the sobo portion of our adventure. Watching Spice disappear into the woods to start her own AT journey, leaving me behind with more errands and free time than I knew what to do with was a bittersweet moment. I certainly didn’t have it in me to relive the toughest, albeit most spectacular, portion of the trail, but I didn’t want to be left behind either. Forging my own path through endless possibilities and distractions seemed a lot harder than following the white blazes.
And that turned out to be true. Thru-hiking a long trail, as hard as it is, is simple. Get up and walk every day, and do the things that you need to do in order to keep doing that. Since moving into the van, I have often felt directionless, indecisive, and unproductive. Getting things done requires complex thought, which is something that I hadn’t practiced much during 2,900 miles of hiking. Y’all think that what I did is impressive? Give yourself some credit. Holding it together in the ‘real’ world is incredibly difficult. Good job.
Meanwhile, Spice has made tremendous progress south. She’s a pro, and I am in awe of her strength, grit, and ability to endure an endless stream of self-righteous nobos. I am grateful to her for keeping me connected to a trail that is already receding into the mental soup of the unremembered. She spoons out distinct memories like delicious chunks of potato while sharing each of her own experiences, giving my hike a second life. She also lovingly accepts my nostalgic whimsy when I look at a map and tell her that there is a ton of good stuff ahead of her (she hates that). And it is so true. She has a ton of good stuff ahead of her. I can’t wait to revisit some of it myself.
SpiceRack keeps hiking south while I follow with Tango in our home on wheels. As we leave New England and August behind, we hope for cooler weather and more frequent Taco Bell’s. I’m not sure if it is typically this hot and humid during the east coast summer, but it is a bummer. I am amazed that anyone besides a few uninitiated west-coasters chooses to thru-hike the AT at this time of year. I’m sweating when I wake up. I’m sweating when I go to bed. Spice, and everyone still hiking are total badasses. I’ll take the cold of my early-season nobo hike over the heat of the standard time window without hesitation.
So yeah, that’s what’s up. More posts are coming. You keep doing you (you’re crushing it, btw), and I’ll keep doing me. Thank you for your patience and understanding. I am thrilled to finally (finally, finally…) share the northern ECT with you lovely people.
Keep on rockin’,
Owen, AtHome, Threeve, The Flying Burrito