Thru-hikers talk about “re-entry”, how to find a place for yourself in the everyday world now that hundreds of miles of blisters, trail food, friendship, and moving through stunning landscapes have (de)formed you into a different version of yourself.
My own re-entry has been turbulent though I seem to be taking the approach of observer to this disorder. I liken it to moving through any kind of landscape. Sometimes the trail is clear, other times you’re looking everywhere for a cairn. Sooner or later I’ll end up somewhere and the path behind me will, retrospectively at least, come into focus.
In late April of this year, almost a year to the day since I embarked on Wild Times and my own thru-hike, I travelled back to the beginning of my adventure, to the PCT kickoff at Lake Morena. I did a little trail magic, visited with some angels, and met with some hiking buddies.
Gizmo, whom you may recall was part of Team Whiskers, has been smoothing her own re-entry by creating Sounds of the Trail, a podcast exploring the world of thru-hiking via interviews with thru-hikers. I met up with Gizmo at this year’s Kickoff where we hid from the wind and rain in the cab of her pick-up and had a chat about how our thru-hiking experience is effecting our post-PCT lives. If you want to skip ahead to our conversation, it begins at 27:30, but then you’d be missing some great stuff with Kim Chi/Tic Toc and Saina/The Real Hiking Viking.