We are home! We have been for exactly two weeks now and are so happy without one regret. In our last blog post, you saw we were figuring out what our next steps were and what our motivations might be if we were to stay on the trail. We arrived at a conclusion our gut had been telling us for days already. Here’s how we arrived at this conclusion.
We entered the Shenandoahs, one of the last sections of the very long state of Virginia. About 1/4 th of the 2,185.3 mile trail travels through the gorgeous state of Virginia. We had heard the Shenandoahs were flat and beautiful. Having just come off of a week of 80-90 degree days where there was a 4 or 5 mile ascent and descent almost every day, we were relieved to hear this. We were also told there would be no more climbs like this until vermont. Basically, we had finally passed the south and the mountains that came with it.
The weather was PERFECT, the terrain was just as beautiful and flattish as everyone said. But…we weren’t enjoying it. This was confusing to us. Everything was as perfect as it could be in the mountains. Why weren’t we happy? We had encountered low points before, but usually snapped out of it. A few days into the Shenandoahs and we could barely make ourselves walk 8 miles. So we decided to enact plans to test how we were truly feeling. We’ve had great mentors on and off the trail. I joined a women’s group called “Wild and White Blazing” and had heard from veterans of the trail what to do when feeling this way.
So, our first step was to get a ride into town and hole up for however many days we needed. We stayed at a Budget Inn in Luray, VA…for three nights. We ate tons of food, slept a ridiculous amount, and watched movies on our tab. We were clearly exhausted. Usually, after just one night off the trail, we were anxious to get back. After three nights, we were ready to test out how our break affected our perception of the trail. But we weren’t yet excited to get back out there. We felt conflicted.
We head out of town and manage 5 miles. The next day we manage 3 miles. We struggle to even leave the shelter. It’s perfect weather. The other thing I had learned was to never quit on a bad day. Its 72 degrees, the sky is clear and that beautiful baby blue color you find in spring. There’s even a bench on the top of the hill we climbed! We sit down on the bench and look at each other. We see the misery reflected in each others faces. We are both bored and uninterested in the perfection that surrounds us.
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“I know. Me too.”
We both smile and call Quailman’s parents who also live in Connecticut.
We make it to Harpers Ferry and enjoy the historically rich town at a luxurious b&b. We stay an extra night to sit on our decision after doing our half way photos at the ATC headquarters. The next day, we sit waiting for the train. I can feel that this is one of those decisions that genuinely alters your path and we feel good at the new path we are about to embark on. Hours later, as our train crosses the Connecticut border, we are giddy with the childlike enthusiasm of returning home and know we made the right decision.
We have been relaxing and slowly re-entering society. We spent a couple of weeks going for runs, eating homemade food, and taking lots of showers. Quailman is officially enrolled in nursing school and we just put down a deposit in our new apartment. We are loving being home and are so excited to settle down. The trail has taught us so much as you’ve read in our previous blog posts.
We are going to hike in CT and MA for one more week with our mutual friend Bryan and my brother. We are looking forward to sharing part of our adventure with them!