J and I got back to Tucson and started looking for a new place to live. My friend Lyndall let us camp out in her spare bedroom until we found a place, which was a huge help. We ended up finding a cute little house south of Downtown that had been split into a duplex. The front yard is classic Tucson – neat and totally bare dirt – so I asked our landlord if we could plant a garden out front. He said yes. It’s now a lush jungle of tomatoes, greens and sunflowers.

Re-entry has been hard, but the garden has helped. I like to hang out in my front yard on weekend mornings, when everyone is walking their dogs. “Oh, your garden is so beautiful!” “Your sunflowers are so lovely!” “I’ve been watching your tomatoes, they are making such great progress.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you,” I tell them, then go back inside feeling super.


(black krims)

Otherwise, things are just fine. I started back up at work. First day back I found myself working on the exact same project I’d been working on before I left six months previously. I was hunched over in my chair, staring at the screen, eating a cupcake someone had brought in and I thought – “Oh, no! That was fast!” Back in the grind. Now that I’ve been back for six months I’ve finally stopped thinking about quitting every day, which is a relief. I like my job and my co-workers, and I’ve gotten to do some higher level stuff since I’ve come back, and I’m so grateful that they let me take off for six months and then just jump back in, and it pays way better than thru-hiking… but there is no freedom like being out on the trail. Life is full of difficult trade-offs.

I think a lot about the people I hiked with. I think I miss them the most. I think about Washington, and the last golden miles at the end. (I cried for a couple days after I finally finished those blog posts.) I picked up some Dr. Bronner’s Lavender hand sanitizer spray, like we used at the beginning of the trail, and when I am out at the climbing crag on the weekend, and I get out our old trusty poop kit, and then spray that hand sanitizer, I remember all the poops I took in the desert section of the PCT in Southern California. I mailed home the bicycle I bought when we had to circumnavigate the PCT fires, and I ride it work every day on a fairly regular basis.

And I think about what might be next.


2 thoughts on “What I’m up to now

  1. I apologize for continuing to contact you via your Blog. Perhaps that is the way that you would prefer. Mark Larabee, who edits the PCTA’s magazine, “The Communicator” would like to include a story from your 2014 PCT hike in the fall issue. I have suggested “Hard Walking” (that I posted on August 23, 2104 on http://www.pcttrailsidereader.com). He likes it. He asked me to get your OK and give you the opportunity to do any rewriting (unless there is another piece you would prefer). The final deadline is July 14 but we should finalize things well before that. I hope that you will agree to this as I think your writing deserves a broader audience (as does Mark). Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions. If you can’t be talked into this, let me know that too as I will need to suggest another writer/hiker. I can best be reached at hughes@humboldt.edu

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