Hey, all, and a Happy 2013 to my fellow bloggers and readers!
My American adventure started brilliantly and just gets better and better. I was met at JFK by Kate, sister of Dude and close pal of Trouble, the couple whose wedding I flew over to attend. Kate and I had never met but she was a fan of this here blog. We immediately set forth on an erratic but always entertaining journey north to the girls’ camp in the Adirondacks where the wedding rehearsals were in progress. We were technically lost for several hours and I saw much more of the state of New York than I had anticipated. It was a totally engrossing drive, however; we talked non-stop and learned a lot about each other. I started the journey intrigued and finished it six hours later utterly infatuated. We missed the rehearsals.
What a reception at that beautiful snow-carpeted lakeside camp. I felt welcomed and loved by all my PCT friends — Dude, Trouble, Granite, Terrapin, Fidget, Frog — and by the other guests and family members. My alcohol fast of almost two years was promptly broken — well, shattered. We PCT-ers stayed up late sharing Trail tales. Underslept and overjoyed, I had a great time at the wedding the following night, but through it all I couldn’t take my eyes or steer my thoughts away from Kate. I saw in the new year in a state of jetlagged, lovestruck delirium. Nine of us got up way, way before dawn, drove into the Adirondacks and climbed a small snowy peak in the dark in snowshoes. Through it all, still drunk, un-slept, near deranged, I kept seeing her, reliving conversations, trying to make sense of things. She was a beautiful phantom swirling around in my walking dreams.
The PCT gang dissipated as my friends returned to their own corners of the country. What a privilege it is to know them. Dude and Trouble stuck around, taking good care of me; I spent time at their little cabin (where I’m typing this) and at the beautiful old farmhouse of new friends Nemo & Pouch — yes, they’re hikers too, if you couldn’t tell. Dude & Trouble finally split for their camping/driving honeymoon somewhere north. And on Thursday last week we finally confessed all and have been inseparable ever since.
I extended my stay here by two weeks and cancelled the two weeks in Cambodia that I had planned to do after this trip. We are very excited and enjoying every minute together, making big plans. Kate’s not a hiker (yet) but is used to our kind and our various quirks. And she has a sense of adventure to match any long-distance walker’s. I have so many stories to tell and pictures to share, but didn’t bring my laptop to America so most of that can wait till I get back home. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of unedited pictures to tide you over. We’re about to depart for an American diner breakfast and a trip to Woodstock. I still haven’t seen NYC on this trip — that’s happening on Monday.
Life is good, but you all knew that. See you down the Trail…
— And that’s all the Goat wrote