So long and thank you

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

One morning you’re camping in the mountains and the evening of the next day you’re in downtown Seattle. One day you’re in the US and the next you’re back home in Switzerland. It’s sad and scary how fast and easily you are off the trail. A sense of unreality has gripped us. Did it really happen? It’s good there’s the new silhouette, a few more scars, still sore legs and feet, about a thousand pictures and a dozen or so new Facebook friends that tell us, yes, it really existed.

I had read that hikers usually get Post-Hiking Depression once they go back to “normal” life. I had jokingly said that I might still get a PHD then 😉 But so far our spirits have been good. We stayed at Lucy and Larry’s home in Seattle, they have also spent the last 5 months hiking the PCT. Their hospitality and generosity were incredible. Tiny Dancer and Anchor, other PCT hikers, showed us around Seattle. Spending time with other hikers helped us to smoothly transition from the trail to “normal” life. We weren’t hiking anymore but we could talk at length about the trail with people that truly understand what we have lived and why the trail means so much to us. They have been to the same places, they have met the same people, we could share memories of the trail. Back home, we are still carried by the excitement of our return. We are going through pictures, we are telling stories to friends and family. We haven’t landed yet, we are still out there somehow. PHD might still catch up in a few days, weeks, months. We’ll see, it’s part of the experience.

We are hungry all the time. For a week we had cramps in our calves at night. We haven’t recovered fully normal sensations in our feet. Our knees are still giving us a hard time. We probably have an iron deficiency. Back to civilization life seems so complicated. We’re having trouble following schedules and being on time, we aren’t used anymore to keep track of the hours passing by. There are too many stimuli around, we can’t focus and think straight. We don’t know how to deal with stress anymore. A slight need to rush takes huge proportions, we’re almost on the verge of panic. Isabelle said the other day: “I can’t cope with the stress of daily life here. Can I just walk 20 miles please?”. Not to mention that jetlag has kicked in. We’re completely out of phase with society, we need to readapt.

I am stunned by how gorgeous Switzerland is. The vineyards and their autumnal colours, the Leman lake and the snowy mountains across the water… I had forgotten there was so much beauty right on my doorstep. I missed it. I missed Lausanne and its numerous possibilities for activities. I’m glad I’m gonna stick around for a while.

And now it’s time for thank yous.

Thank you, Mum and Dad, for the love of the outdoors and the mountains. We’re proud to be as crazy as you, Dad.

Thank you, John, for accepting to send our resupply boxes and doing a great job as a mailman.

Thank you, Anchor, for letting us store our extra gear at your place and not minding us flooding your mail box with packages.

Thanks to everybody who helped us on our way, should it be by giving us a ride, offering us hospitality and food or simply by encouraging us, should you be yearly trail angel or trail angel for a day. Thank you, Avner and his friends, the Saufley’s, the Anderson’s, Thomas, Joe, Tom, Kevin and Micheal, Doug, Bill and Margaret at the Red Moose, Marie, the couple that paid for our breakfast in Ashland, Anthony, Robin and Brion, Roger and Sharon at the Bridge of the Gods motel, Beverly at the Trout Lake grocery store, Nick and Rachel, Lucy and Larry, and the numerous people that we haven’t met but who made sure there was water at the caches and left trail magic on our path. Our Karma debt is huge, we can’t wait to pay forward all that was given to us. One of the best thing we learnt on the trail is that there are amazing people out there who are incredibly generous and who are ready to go to great lengths to give you a hand on your journey. Humankind is not just about greed, destruction and violence. Thank you.

Thanks to every hiker for the trail moments we shared. We weren’t expecting the PCT to be such a social experience but we’re glad it was. It wouldn’t have been the same without you, you made it so much more worthwhile. Thank you, Brandon, Kolby, Ryan, Little Bug and Squirrel, Marmot and Gabriel, Krista, Wolfpack, Wild Bill, Moses, Joe Dirt, Good Karma, Boy Scout, Doug aka Bonbon Halls, Space Cowboy, Mufasa, Scarecrow, Dave, Low Card, Donatello, Clammy, Henry, Andrew, Magellan, Pepper and Mace, Tiny Dancer and Anchor, Aquaman, Corduroy, Busted Magic, Leader, Adam, Luke, The Dusty Camel, Noelle, Jake, Number One, Plant, Forever and Ever, Huffa Puffa and Map Man, Java, Mike and Jeannie, Sourdough, Sprinkles and Toby, the famous Scott Garner, Slip and Slide, Hans, The Bum, Rawhide, Flying Fish, Snager Tooth…

A special thank you to the Booze Crew for the great times in the Sierras and for making us a little bit more American. It’s sad we never got to say good-bye to you all. And a special thank you to Busted Magic for all the fun, camping on pavement and everything ridonculous!

Thank you, Ryan, for making us more than sisters, you made us Swisters for life!

Thanks to our friends and family for following our progress, encouraging us and welcoming us back so warmly. We missed you!

Thanks to you, reader, for following our adventures on the blog. It was a pleasure to write those posts and I’m happy so many of you enjoyed them. I have to give Isabelle credit for providing me with some ideas, suggesting corrections for better posts, starting the ode to Tatonka and coming up with so many rhymes.

Thanks to Carrousel for their song “On y arrivera” [We will make it]. It got us through many a long day.

Thanks to Gorilla tape. It’s strong, it can repair anything. Because, as everybody knows, gorillas can take down helicopters! 😉

Keep this blog among your bookmarks. We still have 500 miles to go. And our hiking days are far from over. We couldn’t help already checking the few long distance hikes we heard about on the trail. Te Araroa, 3000kms through New Zealand. The Israel National Trail, 1000kms through Isreal. The Colorado Trail, 500 miles in Colorado. Via Alpina, 5000kms in Europe. The Great Himalaya Trail, 1700kms through Nepal. And that’s just the beginning… 😉

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