With nine days before we hit the trail, I feel like I’m leaning out over the edge of a precipice, held back by ties to our apartment, a dozen little administrative tasks we have to attend to- and as I cut through each of those ties, I’m closer to an exhilarating free-fall into the unknown. SLICE as a project at work wraps up. SLICE as we’ve set up mail forwarding and canceled our utilities. SLICE and the movers are booked for next week, and we’ve got a whole apartment full of stuff to pack.
I’m not sure exactly when that free-fall feeling will really kick in, either. When we leave the keys for our apartment of three years on the kitchen counter, and lock the doors as we exit? When we get on the plane for San Diego? When my parents have taken our photos at the Southern Terminus monument, and we’ve hugged and said our goodbyes, and then it’s just Tim and I, on the trail? Maybe the second morning of the hike, waking up under our tarp. Or maybe the eighth day on the trail, which will mark the longest time we’ve ever spent hiking. Maybe it’ll sink in after we’ve spent a zero day in town, restocking and showering and washing our clothes, and then the next day, we’re back to hiking the trail. There are dozens of little milestones which, I’m sure, will have us gaping at one another and saying “Oh my gosh, we’re really doing this!” until, after a few weeks, we’ll feel like we’ve always been hiking and always will be hiking.
When we return from the trail, our plan is to find a new place in the Hudson Valley- we’re ready to get out of the city, to be closer to the trails, to have some fresh air to breathe. I’ve lived in New York for nearly 13 years now, and in Brooklyn for 10, so I do feel a little twinge when I think about leaving the city behind (although I promise I’m not going to write my own Goodbye to All That essay). Right now, though, those feelings are almost completely overwhelmed by my desire to spend every day outside, on a new coast, eating dehydrated foods, climbing mountains, and hanging out with my best friend. I can’t wait to leave behind a daily, hour-long commute of bodies bumping into bodies, piles of garbage on the sidewalks, and 3am car horns outside my bedroom window. I feel antsy and eager for what comes next.