I've been looking up some fun facts about the AT that answer many of the questions I've gotten this week.
- The 2014 mileage, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, is 2185.3 miles.
- The total elevation gain of the AT is approximately 515,000 feet.
- The total elevation gain is the numerical equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest 16 times
Sooooo as it turns out, it's really difficult adjusting back to everyday life. (Duh.) I knew to expect this, but seriously, I didn't think it would be this hard. I finished the AT one week and two days ago and my mind and body are finally starting to understand that I haven't been just taking a couple of days off. It's actually over. You'd think this would be a relief, right? Surprisingly it's not. I miss the trail really badly. It's hard being inside so much now and the sounds and smells of Denver are overwhelming my senses. Getting back home was quite the ordeal, too with delayed and canceled flights and over 14 hours spent in transit.
On the plus side, it is good to be back in the presence of friends and family. I enjoyed much needed down time at Mom and Dad's last week. I saw some friends in Roanoke and went to Raleigh to see my sister's new house. Back in Denver, the open house for Chad's LoveBaum Bicycle Company was a HUGE success and I am SO proud of the work he has accomplished. Check out their website! (lovebaumbicycles.com)
I went back to work at REI yesterday with a very warm welcome. I really missed that place! Of all the jobs to return to coming off the trail, it's probably one of the absolute best.
So now that I'm back I am mustering up the motivation to work hard and save up for the next big adventure. I'm starting to research other long trails with much interest and excitement. The Pacific Crest Trail is definitely on my to-do list. Five years ago a long trail called the Te Araroa opened up in New Zealand, extending through both islands. As my friend Bobby put it, you hike straight through Middle Earth. (Or "tramp" through Middle Earth as they say there. I would like to be a "tramper".) I am also very interested in The Great Outdoor Challenge. It's a 15-day coast to coast hike across Scotland. There is not set path so participants of this challenge have to map their own routes and rely on their map and compass skills to get them across. Mountains, dangerous peat bogs and wet weather add to the adventure.
So those are a few of the things occupying my thoughts at the moment while I'm not reminiscing the events of the past five months. On my days off from work while the weather is still favorable I plan to summit Long's Peak (14,259 feet) and some of the other "local" 14'ers. Maybe I'll start a new adventuring blog.