Newton Hills

Today the weather was superb for November in South Dakota. I also happened to have the day off and so I decided to go for a hike at Newton Hills. Newton Hills is where Alison and I went on our shake down hike before starting the AT. I anticipated getting outdoors again in a hiking setting and was almost getting giddy.

This hike of course looked different than the AT. First of all, it was relatively flat. I am in South Dakota after all. :) I was without my hiking poles and my knee bands. I felt a little naked. What did I do with my hands before I had poles? I also didn’t have my big pack, instead favoring my old school bag with a few clothes and some gatorade in it. I thought about carrying my laptop and other items so it would be heavier, but why do that?

There were some ups and downs (all puds), roots and dirt got in my shoes. Felt like home. I even encountered some horse droppings that reminded me of hiking in the Smokies. I was breathing hard at times and sweated, it felt good. My speed wasn’t as fast as I was used to, but that’s okay.

I went out hiking to see if I could capture the feeling of being at home on the trail again. However, I was a bit disappointed. My friends that I met on the trail weren’t there. I was just out for the day and didn’t need to find a place to sleep somewhere in the trees. There were no shelters to check to see if I knew anyone had been there recently. I didn’t have to pull out my dehydrated food and stove to make supper. I didn’t have to filter water. It was almost too easy. Where’s the fun in that?

I pondered all of this while walking. Why wasn’t I feeling alive again now that I was hiking? It isn’t a way of life anymore, that’s why. My life doesn’t revolve around hiking anymore. For so long getting from point A to point B was the priority and if I didn’t get there I would have to do more the next day. The whole hike today felt like a sham. It wasn’t really hiking if I didn’t go up and down several mountains, sleep in the woods and filter my water.

I decided that the AT will never compare to anything else I have done or will do. Only when I get back on the AT when I section hike with Alison will I be able to re-live the memories I made and experience the magic again.

So I need another goal. Is it hiking the PCT someday? Could it be signing up for another marathon? I am not sure yet. I know I work better with goals. We shall see.

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About Renee

I enjoy adventures. Whether running marathons, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, working with Service Adventure, or working with youth as Program Director of Swan Lake Christian Camp for 9 years, I have encountered many an adventure. On this site I will try to capture the big and small ones for you. Enjoy!

Posted on November 21, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Beautifully thought out and written, Kleenex, I know how you feel. I still think about another long-distance hike. I want to climb mountains again. I want to walk all day and sleep in a different place each night. I want to set goals, dream of far off places, and share a journey with others. The PCT is probably too ambitious for me but I will keep hiking as long as I can put one foot in front of the other. ~Castaway

  2. I know EXACTLY how you feel. Short walks take all the fun out of being outside. When I got to the top of Katahdin, all I wanted to do was turn around and keep going all the way back to Springer. Instead, I got into a series of busses, cars and trains to get back to South Dakota as slowly as modern travel would let me. These days, I long for the cold and the wet, the hot and the sticky, water straight out of a spring, and sleeping in a tent while my sock dry. I too (as I imagine every AT Thru Hiker also does) look forward to the next long trail. PCT, CDT, Pacific Northwest, Northern States, Camino, anything. Being a South Dakotan, the nearest trail that gave me any sence of AT-ness was the Centennial Trail in the Black Hills. 116 miles was just like “home”. -Mr. BuffaloMan

  3. Your AT Family loves & misses you and understands COMPLETELY…

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