Zen On Dirt

All good things must come to an end…

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“So how are you guys going to rejoin real life?” was the question.

We had cofee/ice cream with Justin Simoni this morning and he wanted to know. He’s also coming off what I consider the bad-ass feat of the summer, knocking several days off the FKT for the self-supported, non-motorized Colorado 14’ers tour. He’s got crazy eyes and crazy ideas. I dig it.

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Those beards…

“You’re pretty much looking at real life,” we joked as we lounged in the sun at Amante, watching the Boulder road riding parade go in and out with their espressos.

Joking aside, it did sort of beg the question: What is real life for us? And did we ever really leave it during our 1/3 of a calendar year on the trail.

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Hiker/biker trash in East Glacier

Neither of us stopped working. We reduced working, for sure, but I still wrote. Scott still programed. We still kept up on the happenings on Facebook.

Even when we’re deep into a 6-month lease in Tucson, we still wake up, eat breakfast, stare at computer screens for a bit, and then go ride bikes. Sometimes, we sit in front of our computers more. Sometimes we ride more. But really, it’s the same basic equation that we followed on the CDT as well.

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Snowplow finished hiking, yogi’d a free bike in East Glacier, downloaded a GPX of the Norther Tier ACA route, and was headed to Seattle to meet his girlfriend to go touristing in Vancouver. The Mongoose it totally going to make it.

I think that this trip drove home the point that home can be pretty much anywhere. On the trail. On a road trip. In the middle of the winter in Tucson.

Which, if you think about it, is pretty cool. (Full disclaimer: if I don’t have to stay in another cheap hotel room for a while, I won’t complain.)

We woke up to our final epilogue morning on the trip in East Glacier, headed over to the Whistlestop Cafe for huckleberry stuffed french toast, and then rolled down the road to the rental car office. The mountains of Glacier glistened in the distance, covered in snow, beckoning.

“We have to go home,” I told them. “We’ll be back, I promise.”

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The 13 hour drive went smoothly in the Chevy Impala. It was sad pointing away from the mountains and rolling along the wide open plains of eastern Montana.

Trip over.

Really over.

Not just, CDT-proper over. Or US and into Canada over. Or hike over. Or get back to East Glacier over.

Just over.

Sad. I was sad.

It’s funny how quickly we forget the steep hike-a-bikes, the cold feet, the numb hands, the terrible food, and the grandeur of the experience takes over.

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That’s a lot of tents

I’ll write more eventually about the trip. Thoughts on gear. Thoughts on the trail. Thoughts on food. Thoughts on the experience. Thoughts on the nearly 80 thru-hikers we met. But I think it’s still all too fuzzy and incomprehensible right now.

So for now, I’ll just think about decompressing at my parents’ house in Boulder for a few more days before pondering a cross CO roadtrip on our way to Salt Lake. Then maybe St George, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Flagstaff.

Real life. Yes. This is real life.

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