Many of you displayed your modern-day internet stalking skills by informing me that you had noticed that my blog ran a few days behind. There were a few reasons for the lag. First, it takes a while to type with your thumbs. Second, I liked to read the I wrote entries again a day or two later before I posted them just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. Third, I didn’t always have cell reception when I finished writing so leaving a buffer allowed time to find reception and upload before the entry was supposed to post to the blog. And finally, but perhaps least importantly, it was partly an issue of safety. This is a public blog so I had no idea who was reading. It was safer for myself but more importantly for those who I was hiking with and writing about to not post real-time.
Why do I mention this now? Because my final post was on August 29 but my actual summit date was on August 21. That means I was on the trail for 5 months from March 21 to August 21. By the time I had posted the last entry I was back in Virginia and was preparing for my first day back at work. Here’s a quick summary of what transpired between my summit and now.
After I summited Christy and I spent a few days in Maine at a B&B in Millinocket. It was a great transition back from being a dirty hiker to being a civilized person. We sampled a few of the restaurants there and I attempted to start eating normal amounts of food. On the first day we hung out with Yellowtail and Sunroof before they left to go back home. The next day we visited with the APE team and the Noodleheads who were all renting a cabin so they could stick around for another week. We also went canoeing on one of the lakes in the area and we did a little shopping for souvenirs, gifts for family, etc.
Flying back home was an experience. First, I lost my hiker wallet (ziploc bag with my license, health insurance card, etc) when we went canoeing. I assume it is at the bottom of the lake. After calling to cancel my credit card we had to figure out how I could fly home without an ID. It turns out a photo ID isn’t needed to fly. I was able to go online to request a new driver’s license and I took a printout of the temporary driver’s license with me. I also printed some other forms, bills, etc that had my name on them to prove I was who I said I was. I got through security without any real problem.
We flew out of Bangor airport which is rather small but we had a connection in LaGuardia which is much larger. I’ve heard a lot of hikers talk about how after being out in the woods for a while they have a hard time adjusting to being around crowds again. I didn’t have that trouble. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything that really bothered me, and I think that was the biggest change for me. When I lost my hiker wallet my pre-hike self would have been stressed about it but as it was my reaction was simply, “Alright, let’s make some phone calls.” Going through the airport we had to take a bus to get to another terminal. As we arrived at the bus loading area a worker cut the line off just in front of us so we had to wait for the next bus. The people behind us started freaking out about missing their flight. They spent the next three minutes tapping their feet, checking their watches, and huffing while they waited. I spent the whole time trying not to inform them that all of their antics and stress wouldn’t change whether they ended up being on-time or not. I know before my hike I would have behaved similarly, but with a simplified perspective I simply didn’t see the point.
Christy had arranged a surprise party for me a couple days after we arrived home. It was great to see all kinds of family and friends again, and they got to see my beard before it got trimmed up. By the way, I never got around to posting about it, but I ended up naming the beard Keith because of this Family Guy clip. Credit goes to my brother-in-law Mike for the idea!
And finally some stats. I tallied the stats for my hike versus those of the three thru-hikers that I used to plan my hike. The numbers are actually surprisingly similar. The story behind Portrait is actually a bit more complicated because he went really fast on the first half of his hike and then slowed down on the second half, but overall my hiking pace appears to have been closest to his.
|Portrait||Rusty Bumper||Ghost||Nitrous Oxide|
|Number of zeroes||11||11||8||14|
|Number of hiking days||142||144||131||140|
I have already updated all of my posts with where I slept that night for anyone who is interested, and I’ve uploaded pictures for the last few weeks when I slacked on that due to cell signal and battery issues. I’m going to try to do some additional analysis on my hiking pace in the next few weeks, but for now that gives some info to anybody that is planning their own hike. Also I plan to post a gear review so you can find out what worked well, what didn’t, and what I would change if I were to do it again. For now for those of you who miss the daily fix, try reading Portrait’s PCT blog.