Thursday, January 26, 2012

Okay, The Thoughts Are Still Coming

I don't consciously think about the trail much. The memories are like the ticking of a clock--ever present, but only an influence when I make the effort to listen. And with my upcoming move to Florida (to be with Seth), my effort has been focused elsewhere.

My sleeping bag and pad have been hanging in a closet since I got home, and of course I'm taking both with me. As I pulled my sleeping bag off the hanger, it brushed my trekking poles which had been leaning against the closet wall. They gently landed at my feet: "Hey, remember us?"

I picked them up mindlessly, set them out of my way, and then felt an urge to glance back toward them.

In that moment, I did remember. I remembered everything.

I picked the poles up again--my battered, beaten, 2000-miler poles, and I cried.

I stood there staring at my trekking poles in my hands, and I noted every single scratch. Every single speck of dirt. Every chunk of bare carbon fiber where the paint had chipped, and every nick in the rubberized handles. I got the same feeling in my chest that I felt when I tore the last page out of my guidebook on my final night on the trail--that "it's really over" feeling. I felt overwhelmed, as if by storing things away I'd been neglecting to face the fact that this adventure was truly finished. An unconscious "out of sight, out of mind" concept had taken over.

I rolled up my sleeping pad in the same manner I had for day after day, remembering each morning on a hard shelter floor or in the moisture-laden confines of my tent. My chest ached, but I knew my heart was trying to smile. As much as I've left behind, I still carry with me some 30 pounds worth of the pride of an accomplishment, the power of a dream, and a sense of freedom that not many understand.

I think I'll bring those trekking poles with me to Florida.


  1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving an update. I hope for you the best on your move to Florida.

    Always been an outdoor kind of guy but never considered a thru hike of the AT. Especially since I am retired and living in California. Wife and I were watching a National Geographic program on the AT and my wife said I should try it. I think I have been hanging around the house too much since retirement. :)

    Anyway, I started doing some research and found your video's and Blog. It was an inspiration to say the least. A friend and I already had a couple of week long hikes planned this summer for the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, but the AT in 2013 for me is in full planning mode. Being a logistics kind of guy I even made a spreadsheet of your hike. Each day, destination, mileage, weather and comments. And though as you and others say, "Hike your own hike", it is really a great reference.

    Again, thanks for your journal. All the best to you and Florida. And stop by from time to time here and leave an update. I am sure many people will continue to enjoy reading about your adventures. Your writing is wonderful. Can you say "Julie and Julia"?

    1. iCloud changes. It is not!

  2. Hey -- just wanted to say, your blog is wonderful. Someone on Whiteblaze posted a link to it, and I'm glad I came. I thru-hiked in 1991 and still think about those times just about every day. Fortunately I don't live far from the LT and AT, and my kids love to hike, so I don't have to just sit around missing it. Still, as you know, there's nothing like being out there for months on end. You will treasure this. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Hey Lindsey, the Florida Trail is there for you!

  4. What a wonderful post. We are so lucky to have you moving to Florida to be with our son. Seth is one lucky guy.

  5. Lindsey, as always, your writing is beautiful and inspiring. Good luck on your move and in your life. I'd love to hear more if you are even willing to share more of your story or tips for someone hoping to follow the same dream.



  6. Wow Lindsey! Somebody on Whiteblaze posted a link to your journal and I've been reading it all day. I just finished with tears in my eyes. I am leaving on my thru-hike about April 18th and I am so inspired by your journey. Good luck to you and Seth! You are an amazing writer and I hope you do make this into a book. I'm keeping a blog of my 2012 thru-hike if you'd like to follow along at

    I'll keep checking back here for updates, too. Please think of us invisible readers every now and then and throw us a crumb? :)

    Thanks for the armchair adventure.


  7. How cool ist that? You are moving to Florida because of Bear Bag? What a great ending for the story. Zach Davis has already finished his book, you should read it, too. Even if you did not met him on your journey, hi hiked the same year and maybe it pushes you finally to write a either.
    I would buy yours for sure, too.

    I wish all the best for your future and i will check sometimes if your blog is still alive.

  8. I plan on doing this in 2013. So very proud of you and your blog has inspired me. Congrats with you and Seth. He seems like a cool guy by the videos. Maybe I will find the same thing you found.

  9. That is awesome... I will say I am going to miss reading your blog this summer. Good luck to the two of you.


  10. It's amazing to see the emotions you get from grabbing those pieces of equipment that helped you all those miles. Nothing can compare to wilderness adventures to enhance a life. Much love and safe travels.

  11. Your blog kept me motivated through a year of planning and gave me great insight into my upcoming thru-hike attempt. Less than 7 weeks until I start my adventure. I hope I have the strength and determination to make it the entire way. Good luck to you and Seth and welcome to Florida!

    Fellow Floridian and hopefully future 2000-miler!

  12. Glad you stopped by, always enjoy reading your posts. Your writing skills are fantastic; I think you should consider authoring a book or two. Moving to Florida, cool… don't plan on doing too much hiking in the summer though; it's brutal :-) Fall, Winter and Spring is the active outdoor season. I’m an ex Buckeye myself, now residing in Florida. Who knows, maybe we’ll cross trails some time… that would be cool.

    Good luck and have fun...

    Jim... aka Woodenarrows

  13. Great read Lindsey. Thanks for doing the blog.

    I'm a former thru-hiker as well, so I "know". Never thought I would. I thought all that "know" talk was just that...BS talk. But's real. We're ruined in a wonderful way.

    Happy Trails to you and to those above in the comments who embark on their own journeys this year and in the years ahead.