It has been sinking in lately at some deep level, that without any plan to return to the PCT or to hike another long trail, that I'm not a long-distance hiker anymore. It had become such a big part of my identity and now it's gone.
For as much as I complained, I truly felt like I was being my essential self when I was out there. I loved the trail community. I loved living in the forest. I loved walking. There was something incredibly satisfying about being so physical each day and carrying all my belongings and having mastery over my gear and all my needs.
Without being on the trail, I'm no longer a member of the community of the trail. This saddens me. Next year when the hikers are out there, I'll just be another city person, and here in the city, I'm not a member of any community. My loneliness on the trail was pleasurable. The loneliness of the city is alienating.
There is something terribly not right about this. I don't know what to do about it. I must return to the trail someday. But what do I do in the meantime?