I decided I would share some things that I've been brainstorming about in this next season for me. My trip did end a month early but maybe I can categorize my plans because I've been doing a lot of thinking about my next steps transitioning back to normal life.
WHAT IS MY ANKLE HEALING PROCESS?
I saw an orthopedist and he referred me to a physical therapist right away. My ankle has been healing well, and I am two and a half weeks out from my initial injury. Basically, I just need to strengthen my ankle again and do the exercises to get me walking. I'm still wearing the boot when I leave the house, but I am able to walk around inside without it. It is only a little bit sore when I bend/rotate my foot in certain ways, but I can definitely tell it's getting way better. My goal for the next few weeks is try to start walking without my boot, then try to walk around Greenlake. If I can walk the lake okay without swelling, I want to go on a practice hike. If that feels good, I'll try to add pack weight. I know it sounds risky, but I'm really hoping that if there are a few weeks left before the season is over, I would really like to do a WA section. It's a bit optimistic, but I'll just have to play it by ear and see how I'm feeling.
WHAT AM I DOING WHILE I HEAL?
Ever since I've been home, I've been house hopping around Seattle seeing friends. When I first got home, the most productive thing I did the next day was get a new shirt. Sometimes it is overwhelming to be around a big group of new people, but seeing friends that know me well have been really good for me. If I have more than 3 tasks a day, I get really exhausted though. I'm also eating veggies, fruits and salads like everyday. I'm just sautéing them with salt and pepper and it's SO good. Basic things are really yummy. I feel unproductive at times but I have a list of things I'm working towards and it helps me get motivated. I've never really been unproductive and immobile, so it feels a bit strange. I also want to get a trial gym membership, so I can use weights and do the bike or something. I haven't exercised in over two weeks, and I am just dying to move my body. To go from walking 25+ every single day to completely stop doesn't seem healthy. I want to at least do arm things. It is hard not being able to go outside because the weather is so good, so I just stay inside and do my computer things.
AM I CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING ANY POST TRAIL DEPRESSION?
Honestly, I am not sure. I've never really dealt with depression before, so I don't know exactly what that feels like. Basically, I'm just experiencing a lot of FOMO right now. I get really bummed knowing that I would've been walking to the WA border this week. Or I'll look at the clock and see what time it is and in my mind, I know I would be hiking at that very moment or setting up camp or just making it to lunch, etc. Even though I am so stoked to see everyone reaching the Canadian border each day, it's hard seeing photos knowing I will not be making that same walk. Social media probz. But I noticed it's kinda mental for me, and the more I think in those ways, the easier it is for me to mope on it. There's been many great aspects of things happening the way it did.
WHERE WILL I LIVE?
I really hate couch surfing and mooching off people, but I've been staying at friends' places when they're out of town. It's worked out pretty nice, but once they stop going out of town, I will probably go to Issaquah and stay with my sister. I plan on staying with them throughout October to help her with my niece when the new baby arrives. After that, it really depends on where I can afford. I know I can no longer afford a place on my own in the city, so I unfortunately will have to find roommates.
WHAT WILL I DO FOR WORK?
This is probably the most frequently asked question. I know that I do not want to rely on photography solely as my main income anymore. I want to work in the outdoors industry. I want to work with people who are passionate about the trail system. I want to inspire women to pursue their goals and be confident in who they are. I want to encourage and educate the youth on why the outdoors is so important throughout their childhood. I want to continue using my time, energy and gifts to share with others my passion and love for the outdoors and the PCT specifically. Soooo, if I can find something that combines all of those things, then I'm all game.
WILL I EVER HIKE AGAIN?
Duh! This is not a permanent injury, and I will be able to hike again 100%. I just need to make sure I fully heal well before attempting something crazy again. I already loved hiking, but now I am even more in love with long distance hiking. Doing 7-8 mile hikes are no longer attractive to me, jk. I'll do them, but there is something so, so rewarding to me about doing 20+ mile days and getting really far on foot. Depending on my "work" situation next year, I plan on finishing the PCT from Crater Lake to Canada in 2017. But there's something about actually thru-hiking the trail in one shot that's really important to me. Yes, I know the trail will always be there and I can do it in sections, but I would like to attempt to thru-hike the trail again from Mexico sometime before I die. It was a really big commitment and sacrifice this year, so I'm not sure if I would attempt it again in the near future, but definitely before it's too late.
WHAT OTHER LONG TERM GOALS ARE BREWING?
I have always wanted to learn mountaineering for so long, and this fall I plan on taking a basic alpine climbing course. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out which organization to go through. Some of them include rock climbing and I just don't care about that. So, summiting Mount Rainier is my ultimate goal for the next season. I'd prefer to not pay a bunch of money to a guide to take me up, I want to learn all the technical skills for myself before attempting to summit. Then I would attempt a summit with close friends as a small group. I had plans last year to climb Adams, but there was a fire on the weekend I planned on going, so that's also on my list. And I want to climb Mt. Shasta some day if I'm ever back in California. I'd love to do the Wonderland Trail as well. I attempted that the prior year but never got a permit. I do not think I would ever attempt the AT, maybe the CDT if I had a partner...
WHAT WILL THIS BLOG LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?
I think I will continue to share stories on my adventures and keep pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I am currently going through all my photos and editing them. I want to compile it all into my portfolio and share them with all the hikers that I met this year. It's been very nostalgic going back on them, but I'm SOOOO glad I had a real camera with me. I do wish I took more photos, but it was super hard at times to even just take it out of my side pocket. I would go through phases where I would force myself to take a bunch, then I'd go like 5 days with zero photos. I also had to juggle between my iPhone and camera, it would've been nice to designate my camera as the primary in the beginning, but I didn't think of it, oops.
I am also working on a lot of post trail content with various topics that I want to share with others. Each person experiences the trail in such different ways. I think because I am so not normal, I experienced it very differently than others. Here are some things I want to address:
- thing I were not expecting on the PCT
- things I would do differently
- food, food and food
- post trail depression
- trail culture
- solo vs group hiking
- mental vs physical challenge
- my highs and lows
- taking care of and listening to your body
- my overall take on the whole thing
Hopefully some of that information will be helpful/interesting to those who are curious about the trail. Thank you to everyone who has been so so supportive and encouraging while I was out there. All of your emails, messages and comments helped me push on every time I got cell service haha.