It’s hard for me to believe it was only about 6 months ago when I called it quits on my Continental Divide Trail (CDT) adventure. It feels like it has been so much longer than that. A lot has happened in the last 6 months, and since I have been so quiet on here and social media, I figured I would take some time to update those of you who follow me with some of the happenings of the last 6 months. It has been a rollercoaster!
After I got off trail early in September I went to live with my parents in NE Oklahoma. When I announced my plans to hike the CDT and then move out west, they had decided to start looking to move closer to my brother in SE Kansas. Ironically, they ended up moving just a couple weeks after I got off trail. I’m sure some would see that as unfortunate timing, but it was great to be able to help them out with the move after all the help they had given me on trail.
In early October I ran the OKC Memorial Half Marathon. One of the things I was bummed about when I made the decision to hike the CDT was that I would miss that event and break my streak (which at that point was 8 consecutive years), so I was really excited to be able to participate in that. I ended up running my second fastest time (which was completely unexpected) and I got to visit with some friends and coworkers while I was in town, so that was a great weekend. After that I headed out to New Mexico for a few days to do some trail magic on the CDT. That was a blast. It was great seeing many of the people I had hiked around, and I met a lot of new people as well.
After that it was back to real life and trying to find a job. I had decided to try finding one in northwest Arkansas (NWA) first instead of out west. Thankfully it didn’t take long to get one lined up. At the beginning of November I found out I had the job, and after that it was time to find a house. I didn’t start the job until after Thanksgiving, so I had nearly a month to get a house lined up, but it ended up taking much longer than that. At the beginning of February, three months after I had started looking, and after two months of living in a hotel, I finally closed on a house. I spent a couple weeks getting some work done (mainly painting; huge thanks to my mom for helping out) before getting all my stuff moved in, and then have spent the last couple weeks getting everything put up, organized, etc.
Thankfully things slowed down some this past week and I was able to relax a bit and actually enjoy having the house. There are still a lot of projects to do around the house, but nothing at this point I’m in a big rush to get done. Yesterday I signed up to maintain a section of trail next to Lake Fort Smith. It’s not the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT), but it’s right next to it, and I’m hoping I can eventually take over a segment of the OHT. I also got signed up for some volunteer training at an animal shelter type place, and I’m hoping to start getting involved with a couple running clubs. So after ripping up roots last year, it feels like I’m to the point of trying to get some roots growing in a new place.
As far as photography goes, I got the camera out a few times over the last 6 months, mainly for some shots of fall colors and snow. The snow pictures are still up on my website in my Fresh Off The Card gallery if you want to check those out. Hopefully pretty soon I’ll be getting it out on some trails around here. I have been able to get together here in NWA with a couple people I met on the CDT, one of which I shuttled for his OHT hike. It was fantastic seeing them, and hopefully I can get involved with more of that type of stuff on the OHT. While I won’t be doing any sort of thru hike this year, I’m hoping to get out on a couple multi day trips in the Rockies and get back to NM in the fall to do some more trail magic. Fingers crossed it all works out, and hopefully you’ll start seeing some trail pictures from around here soon!