February 1, 1999

2/1/99 Kansas City, MO

Well, I've been off the trail for six months now. It is also approaching my anniversary date of when I started my thruhike a year ago on March 3rd. All I can tell you is that I miss it something terrible. I hated the weather but I don't remember that. What I do remember is the people, very special people I met along the way. That's who I miss. We traveled in a peaceful, nonthreatening, non-confrontational social environment on the trial. We were honest with each other and ourselves. Such a precious thing to learn and experience, but oh so hard to maintain back in the 'real' world.

I've returned back to work as a Physical Therapist Assistant at a local hospital here in Kansas City. Healthcare, or I should say Medicare changed while I was on the trail. Last year the future looked very bright for any entering a therapy career, but now the job market has plummeted because of drastic cuts in patient benefits. I'm happy I have a job, but it's getting harder.

I've spent most of the last six months working on this web site, and trying to keep up with the friends I made on the trail. If you're one of the one's I haven't gotten to, you're on the list. Be patient! I've talked to several thruhiker hopefulls and spoke at a Boy Scout Annual banquet. And now that the web site is up, a few more hopefulls have contacted me by email. One question I've received was:

What are some of the most important things to pack?
"A good sense of humor, tolerance for other peoples differences, and you have to be really crazy. I'm not kidding. Nothing in my back pack was more important than these."

And now that I look at the words on the screen, I guess those would be some pretty important things to pack for everyday life.

A Backpacker's Blessing
by Backpackin'Fool GA-ME'98

may you continue to explore every inch of this land
may the skeeter always die at the palm of your hand
may your vistas be clear from every high peak
may giardia be free from every last creek
and until we meet again
may god bless you with sunny days and happy trails

Somewhere on the second half of the trail, I decided that I needed to go on more adventures in the future. I had so much fun and met so many people that ordinary vacations just wouldn't do. Right now I hoping to do a 8700 mile bike ride west across the USA and then down south along the continental divide in 2001. While researching for my thruhike, I found information on an 'older' version of the thruhike called the St James Pilgrimage Route from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. You follow 'yellow arrows' instead of 'white blazes' and stay in monastaries and convents instead of hostels. Definitely a different way to see Europe. Then the PCT might be calling my name. And maybe a year-long bike trip around Europe. And really anything I can squeeze in between. Just keep checking back with me.