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Re: Jitters/ As Far as the Eye Can See
>>>>Has anyone read Larry Luxembourg's book?
>yep, i have!
>and i thouroughly enjoyed it!
>it made the trail more spiritually real for me, not just the technical aspects
>of it. there were some days when i read it that i didn't give up
>planning even when it seemed impossible at the time.
>i also gave it to my parents and they understood me and my goal a little
>but... the book also introduced the idea of post-trail depression, which
>scared me some.
Just so you don't feel lonely - I got the butterflies 6 months before I
started the Trail. We all get them - the trick is to get them to fly in
One of the things I learned (again) on the Trail was that there may be
good reasons to NOT do something, but fear isn't one of them.
As someone once said:
Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is carrying on despite fear.
Like the butterflies, I think we all get some degree of post-trail
depression, too. That shouldn't really be surprising. Most of us have
put 6 months to a year into planning the trip, then 4 - 6 months into
walking the Trail. When we come home there's a hole in our lives and
it takes a while to fill that hole with new activities, friends and interests.
There are also the changes that we've gone through. I posted some things
about change on the list at one point, but you may not have gotten them.
Let me know if you want them and I'll send them to you on the backchannel.
One of the things that happens to most of us is that our family and friends
don't understand what we've done - or why - or what to do about it. So
they treat us as if the Trail had never happened. And that's depressing.
I went to the ALDHA Gathering 2 weeks after I got off the Trail. I could
say it saved my sanity, but I'd be lying - it was too late for that. But it
did help. It gave me a chance to talk Trail with people who understood
what it was about. The following paragraphs are a clip from one of my
previous posts about the Gathering -
>The Gathering is the annual meeting of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers
>Association (ALDHA). It's held on Columbus Day weekend and this year will
>be at Carlisle, PA on Oct 11 -13. I understand the high school is the place
>where most of the events will be held. There's also a campground somewhere
>close. Usually 400 - 600 thruhikers, wannabes and others show up. This
>year may be a little larger cause the location is more central and accessible
>than in previous years. It's a weekend of immersion in long distance hiking
>with slideshows, videos and workshops on the AT, PCT, CDT and a lot of
>other trails. There's also good music, dancing and plenty of time to talk
>with other hiking fools.
>If I can work it out, we'll be doing a workshop on Pennsylvania trails.
>I know there'll be workshops on various trail subjects, including security,
>winter hiking, etc. And a "How to hike the AT" session. For those whose
>knees are up to it, there's a square dance or contra dancing. Mostly,
>though, people go there to find others who can talk Trail. As you'll find
>out, family and friends won't understand you when you go home. The
>Gathering is a good place to find people who will understand what the
>trail is about - and who you are.
Hope this helps a little.