Day 5 — Back in It

Thursday, August 9 — Miles 40.5–45.3 (4.7 miles for the day)

Why do I keep beginning these hiking trips with a day in the office? This trip has been bearing down on us for months and still feels like it’s caught me off guard. It’s day 1, but I have to log a workday first.

I’m up at 4 and on the computer, quickly pounding my way through the last 30 things on my to do list. I throw my pack in the car and then we’re off to the office. Emails, slides, transition meetings, status reports, last-minute reviews, and a dozen heartfelt goodbyes with colleagues, and THEN we’re back in the car. Winding our way up through many of the roads we covered earlier this summer, Isaac driving while I change from work clothes to hiking clothes—my uniform for the next month.

By 5pm we’re at the trailhead, and it’s time to say goodbye to Isaac. This part is way harder than I wanted, even though it’s only for 8 days. But somehow heading into the woods without him feels scarier, a bit more intimidating.

There’s nothing to do but begin, and so I peel myself away and I’m off. Only 5 miles to cover before the sun sets.

The pace of life these last couple of months has been an utter whirlwind. And now being back on the trail feels a bit like screeching to a halt in the middle of the freeway… you know you’ve technically come to a stop, but it feels like you’re still moving a million miles an hour. I can tell it’s going to take a bit to flip the switch to this new environment.

The 1st mile is agony as my sedentary office legs find their rhythm. But before I know, I’ve settled in and covered my measly mileage for the evening. I set up camp at 7pm, filter water, cook a small dinner, and plan for tomorrow. It’s still not that late, so I knock my phone out of airplane mode and find I have reception. A quick text to Isaac and then a heartening conversation with my dad—such a gift to have his voice drown the silence. Then I listen to a podcast as I prepare for bed. These woods are quiet and my city ears just aren’t used to it yet.

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