Home After Hiking the AZT. And Donations

Monday, November 19
Camp elevation: At home in my bed

(PS if you’re following my blog and haven’t read the AZT summary posts on my Patreon page, see them HERE. It a more quick, easy, digestible synopsis of my trail experience.)

I finished the trail a mere 3 days ago, but the AZT already feels very far, far away. I spent almost 2 months crossing the state of Arizona on foot. Then a 3-hour flight on the 17th whisked me the 1,500 miles through the air to Seattle. Now I’m at home on lil’ old Vashon Island.

I commemorated my return home with good Seattle pizza and beer (at last – pizza! Good pizza evaded me in too many trail towns). And I’ve have already eaten nearly a dozen fresh eggs and have consumed way too much good coffee.

The climate here is relatively humid and cold. Water, cedar trees, dense forest, soil and indoor living have replaced the dry, sandy, cactus, agave, outside life.

Trail time is a bit like a time-warp. Time passes slowly yet quickly. In the blink of an eye I’m back home and yet it almost feels like no time has passed.

I’m trying to stay active post-trail. I wont exactly be hiking 20 miles a day, but I plan to walk, run, and lift weights to keep active. Once my back is feeling better that is. My dang lower back is all messed up from one silly day of fast hiking. Argh. My level of fitness definitely increased while I was on the trail – I lost a few inches around my waist but stayed the same weight, gaining muscle and losing some fat. I don’t think I’ll keep up my trail fitness level, but am aiming to do my best. After all, gotta keep up those endorphins from crashing down too quickly.

The biggest visible reminder of my time on the AZT is my tan line! There’s a sharp line from my socks, shorts, and t-shirt. Like a farmer’s tan but – I like to think -better.

The vertigo is and has been gone for a while. Nearly forgotten. The last little spells of dizziness happened south of the town of Pine, and I’ve been feeling fine ever since. Thank goodness.

I have already applied to the AZTA for my post-trail completion award. Upon finishing most long-distance trails, you can typically send away for a patch. Not on the AZT. No, on the Arizona Trail, you get a belt buckle. A belt buckle! Can’t wait.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and I’m looking forward to the food (every hikers dream! In fact, my favorite trail meal is “Thanksgiving-On-The-Trail”, aka. “T-day”) and the friends. I’m excited for the friends and festivities. It’s great to be at home with Jared. And with semi-roommates and friends Michelle and Nate. And Pork Pie and Loki, the best cats ever. Loki tried to pretend to snub me upon my return, but gave up pretty quickly. Both cats have been their cuddly, meowy, ridiculous selves.

My plan was to make a donation to the AZTA after getting enough Patreon supporters. I didn’t get quite enough to meet my quota for a 10% donation, and obvi not quite enough for a 100% donation, but regardless I decided to give 50% of the Patreon support to a few different organizations. 25% has been donated to the AZTA for trail maintenance (actually toward the replacement of a janky, rickety cattle gate with a new, sleek AZT gate). Another 25% has been donated to No Mas Muertes, the group that seeks to end the deaths of undocumented immigrants crossing the desert regions near the United States-Mexico border.

The AZT has been a good adventure, but I’m glad to be home. Holiday season feels like a good time to get home and cozy. I plan to keep the blog posts coming. And hopefully the adventures, too. Thanks for reading about my AZT hike!

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