Well, the first afternoon back I had to go grocery shopping, as my husband doesn’t eat much more than frozen pizzas or sandwiches when I’m gone. Not to be melodramatic, but it was kind of overwhelming and stressful. First, I spied Christmas decorations everywhere, which made me stress about how I wasn’t prepared for the holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. There’s so much to do for those, especially when you’re the wife/mom. Then the wide array of food and other merchandise seemed silly, I guess. Unnecessary. I don’t know. I missed the simplicity of the trail, and of my days: wake up, eat, walk/run all day, bathe, eat, sleep.
Sure, maybe there’s some pressure when you’re trying to cover ‘x’ number of miles a day. And maybe there’s some stress when you’re alone on a remote trail, or lost, or worried about running into a bear. But it’s nothing — nothing — like the pressures of life. Bills to pay, homes to clean, food to cook, work to do, kids to care for. Holidays to plan for! I don’t generally feel stressed by my life, but I’ve noticed that whenever I embark upon a long-distance trek, I feel very carefree. Being immersed in nature all day helps your psyche immensely, too.
And stray comment: Have you heard how they’re now saying sitting is the new smoking? Or something like that. In other words, sitting all day is bad for you. Really bad for you. Guess what I do? Sit all day, first at my computer, then at the piano at night. My lower back and piriformis are chronically sore, as are my shoulders and upper back. Guess what body parts never hurt me at all during my five weeks on the Ice Age Trail? Yes, I got lots of blisters and lost some toenails. And, of course, had two infections. Still, I’m sure my body was happier those five weeks than it is now.
I miss the trail.