It’s been tough getting back into a “normal” life.
First, there are the energy levels and food intake, which I presume are for the most part directly related to each other. I’m still eating 2/3 more per day than usual, am unable to get enough sleep at night, have a quite limited attention span, and generally am not getting all that much done. I’m whiling to roll with it, allowing the food monster free reign and doing damage control on the school front, at least through the end of the week. By Monday though, this shit needs to calm down a bit.

It certainly points to a good lesson I’ll be taking into adventures next year. I need to fuel better. As I commented on below this morning, I now have a good sense of what that will look like. I suppose Kevin was right, we probably were burning 7k+ calories a day (especially in the cold).
The second problem is culture shock. I just wrapped up the biggest adventure of the year, of my entire outdoor career in an objective sense, and can’t wrap my mind around it. The whole complex feels remote. I can get my head round a 15 hour ride or hike. This is a rather different critter, one that engenders a rather surprising (though it shouldn’t be) existential morass. What am I going to do with myself? Why. Am. I. Alive. ?? What I will do is continue eating protein like mad, finish some research, set up some meetings, write some reports and an article, do some lobbying legwork, go to Old Faithful with my family for the holidays, fly to Egypt with my mom over the new year, come back, go to Utah for Camp Lynda and other adventures, then come back here and start my last semester. Graduate, and so forth. Finish my portfolio by spring break. Do a big Colorado Plateau trip at the end of March. Train for Bighorn. Do Bighorn, then train for and do the AMWC. Then move to wherever M goes to law school. And so on.

But in the midst of so much uncertainty, I just want to curl up, eat more fried ham, and be comfortable. Which is why in the last 24 hours I’ve done lots on the practicum and TA fronts, little on the homework front, and read all 250+ pages of Steven Rinella’s American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon. (Which I highly recommend, and has very little to do with school.)

Not much else to be done about it, besides finish this so I can go make more food (haaaaammmm..) and not fight the unique state I’m in. Life is for enjoying.

Thirdly, my legs have mostly stopped aching. I still have no power of any kind when cycling around town, but my feet have almost entirely returned to normal with respect to swelling. My toe wounds are also coming along nicely.

What crazy lives we lead.

Add.: Here’s a final gear list for the trip, with commentary. Aside from the food and smaller snowshoes, there’s very little I’d do differently.

6 responses to “Settling”

  1. Wow. Feet are looking much better. If this is how you are after a 5 day trip imagine a thru. Scary.

  2. You readjust better than I Dave. After this year's vision loss and the pending GC float I am not sure what I will be like when I return. More and more I find myself drifting from "traditional" life….into the nebulous world of my own making. Best of luck with the feet and thoughts.

  3. Chris, it certainly gets me thinking about how Skurka kept fueled on his Great Western Loop.

  4. Ah yes, the post-adventure culture shock. It's at once bewildering and strangely satisfying, as if you have tiptoed to the brink and will never be able to look at the regular world the same way again.And then time goes by, and you settle back into your routine, and you forget what it feels like to be bewildered and lost, so you go back out there.I had that all-encompassing culture shock much worse after my six days on the Iditarod Trail than after the 24 days I spent on the Great Divide. I think what matters is not the time you spend or the effort you put in … what matters is really getting out there, far outside the comforts and familiarities of your everyday life, which you obviously did. I'd like to emulate your adventure next summer … a long walk through a bewildering and remote wilderness. I have been thinking about the Brooks Range.

  5. Forrest McCarthy did the Wilderness Classic this summer and afterwords said he was totally satiated from the six-day adventure….Interestingly, for me I find post trip feelings depedn on what sort of trip it was: scary, adrenaline-charged trips like climbing and whitewater leave me feeling euphoric in that I am so satisfied with simply being alive that I don't need to do anything — so work and family seem to suffer.In contrast, an enduro trip leaves me feeling powerful and competent and ready to GET WORK DONE.And the enduro-adrenaline trips? Well the adrenaline fix is pretty powerful and seems to overturn the simple competency feeling……

  6. […] Kevin Sawchuk, and while he was the experienced and more fit side of the team, I held my own and we finished the trip in some tough conditions.  The next spring I did an aborted crossing of Yellowstone, […]

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