We’ll Meet Again

Suddenly, you’re nowhere to be found
I turn around and everything has changed
Looking for a way to work it out
I’m trying to find some peace to navigate

The oak tree where I met you
And the writing on the statue
I still remember every word you said
I’m not a soldier but I’m fighting
Can you hear me through the silence?
I won’t give up ’cause there will be a day
We’ll meet again

“We’ll Meet Again by TheFatRat & Laura Brehm

For those who don’t know, I started the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) at the Canadian border back in 2021 with the intent of hiking the entire trail. However, around the halfway point I decided to end the hike for several different reasons. There was a short period right after I got off trail when I questioned whether I would like to go back to finish at some point, but it wasn’t long until I started to have the desire to go back and finish. After that, each time I heard the song We’ll Meet Again by TheFatRat & Laura Brehm, it made me dream of getting back on the CDT to finish the trail at some point. 

Late last year into early this year I really debated getting back on trail this year. I wasn’t very happy with my job, so I wouldn’t mind quitting that to finish up the CDT. However, I really wanted to get back into fine art printing, and I was in a pretty good spot to give that another try. In addition, I was considering pursuing a long distance relationship, and if that happened and eventually became serious, it would possibly provide a good opportunity to finish the CDT while I uprooted life to pursue that relationship. I eventually made the decision to pursue fine art printing and to try to start building some roots in northwest Arkansas (NWA), and see if life presented another opportunity down the road to try to finish the CDT.

Life presented that opportunity much faster than I was expecting. On the morning of April 20 we had a meeting at work and found out the studio we work in would be getting shut down on July 31 and all the employees would be getting laid off. I was probably the only person in the room who actually had some relief and excitement wash over me. I really wanted out of my job at this point, and this would be a great opportunity to try to finish the CDT. My ideal time for getting back on the CDT is early August, so the timing of the layoff would be perfect for that. I would be getting some severance out of it, which, combined with some PTO time I would get paid for, would help cover some expenses while on trail. After a falling out with a coworker, I nearly quit my job in early March, but my supervisor talked me out of it, and had she not, I would have missed this opportunity. Had I established a serious relationship through dating (locally) earlier this year, I would probably be much more hesitant to hop back on the CDT. It was pretty crazy thinking through all this in that moment.

However, there were some drawbacks to consider. By getting on trail in early August (about a month ahead of the typical CDT southbound thru hiking schedule), the hope would be to try to beat some of the colder weather through Colorado and northern New Mexico (I’m really not a fan of cold weather). This would also allow me some time to take it easy initially, which I would need. However, I would likely have to deal more with the monsoon season and thunderstorms, and thunderstorms are one of my biggest fears while backpacking. It would also put me ahead of most people hiking south on the trail for most of, if not the entire, hike. So it would be quite likely I didn’t end up with any sort of consistent hiking group or tramily. I was really looking forward to doing trail magic again this fall on the CDT/CT, but that wouldn’t be happening if I got back on the CDT. Getting back on the CDT would also not be ideal for my fine art printing. It’s not good for my printer to sit for an extended period of time. I just recently got into a gallery here in NWA. I have a couple opportunities this fall that I would have to change logistics for. I wasn’t a fan of stepping away from my art for 2-3 months just as I felt like I was getting some traction. And, of course, there was what happens after I finish, which is when the stress and anxiety of big life decisions and not having a job would likely really hit me. 

With that said, though, I feel like I can deal with all the drawbacks/issues, and I probably won’t get a much better opportunity to try to finish the CDT, so I have booked my plane ticket to Denver and in early August “Lightning” (my trail name from my 2021 hike) and the CDT will meet again for a thru hike. I’ll be sharing more through blogs and social media as I get ready over the next couple months, so stay tuned if you want to follow along.

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