[Cdt-l] A bit of CDT navel grazing.. ;)
pmags at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 16 12:05:45 CST 2007
We often talk about how to get ready FOR the trail. Rarely do we talk about AFTER the trail.
Here's some wool gathering about one person (that would be me) a year after the CDT.
Enjoy..or not. ;)
One year ago this month...
Here 's an e-mail I sent out to some CDT friends:
Hard to believe....
those of us in the CDT 2006 crew (and those who admit to knowing us..
;-) ), it has been about 1 year (give or take) since we finished the
Feeling a bit of CDT homesickness if you will, I watched Disco's Walkumentary again.
laughed at the many funny memories, thought wistfully of the time spent
in the Winds and think of what a great year 2006 turned out to be.
I don't think the time on the CDT would have been as memorable if it was not for all the great people we met on the trail. Safe
to say, I think many of us did the CDT expecting a solo experience and
not a social one. The CDT was mainly solo for me, but the moments spent
with other hikers were so memorable. There
were not many of us, but those of us out there seemed to really have
some great memories together. One crazy weekend in CB, marg night in
Rawlins (who ever knew a pit of a town could be so fun ?), walking
through some gorgeous country together and too many other memories to
One year later,
it is amazing how many of us still see each other. A bunch of us did
the 13er traverse outside of Berthoud Pass, D-low, Disco and I
experienced CDT-like brutality (questionable boundaries, old and
vanishing trails, road walking and snow drifts included!) around Pikes Peak,
we continue to hook up for beers, a few of us hooked up at the ALDHA
West Gathering (sigh. not d-low or I), and one crazy and unexpected
night, Speedo was in Denver at a mainly thru-hiker get together. Many
of the people on this e-mail list were there. The energy was high and
made for a memorable night.
is there to say? The CDT last year was awesome. And I think part of the
reason was because of the shared experience we all had. So
here's to the CDT in 2006. Here's to a great 2007 that we are about to
finish. And here's continuing to staying in touch for 2008 and beyond.
The replies back from my trail buddies were in a similar vein.
I have said many times in the past, balancing a sense of wanderlust
with an equally strong sense of wanting some stability and community in
my life has been difficult.
I enjoy my community here in
Boulder. But, I look at photos, I read my journals and I watch the
videos. My mind wanders to the backpack hanging on the garage wall. I
just want to grab the pack and go.
Next year it will be ten years since I've done the Appalachian Trail.
Hiking the AT, frankly, ruined me. It was hard to go back to my
previous life in Rhode Island. And it left me with the desire to
continue to wander. The intellectual part of me thinks "You are going to be 34 in a few months. You should grow up and settle down!" My gut tells me "When can I get out again??!?!" I readily admit to not knowing how to strike a balance.
For those cursed and blessed with wanderlust, you are in good company. Steinbeck wrote a wonderful book called TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE.
In this travelogue, Steinbeck (along with his dog Charlie) travels the
roads and off-the-beaten path areas of early 1960s America. A chance to
reconnect with the common people he wrote so eloquently about in the
Some of the first lines Steinbeck wrote set the tone of the book:
I was very young and the urge to be someplace was on me, I was assured
by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years
described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle
age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I
am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. .
. In other words, I don't improve, in further words, once a bum always
a bum. I fear the disease is incurable.
A (now former) girlfriend once told me that "The outdoors for you is not a hobby, it is a lifestyle".
She's right. But more importantly, my outdoor TRAVELS are a lifestyle
for me. A lifestyle I am finding difficult to give up; a yearning that
never goes away.
Even if I am not on the trail, or planning to
be on long journey, the urge to get out there never goes away. Day
hikes are nice, overnighters are fantastic...but nothing replaces the
sheer joy and bliss of being on a journey. The simple act of putting
one foot in front of another. Getting from Point A to Point B under my
own power. Living out of my pack. Having the country all round me and
being discovered one step at a time.
Once a bum. Always a bum.
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
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