Saturday, January 14, 2012

The morning after...

Hello followers,

Thanks for all the love support and interest in our crazy adventure! We thought that we should probably follow up with an update. We owe it to you all. "What happened to those two?" you might be asking yourself. "Is there life after hiking the trail?"

Well, yes my friends, life does go on. Ville and I finished the trail on the 29th of Sept, five months to the day of beginning such a life changing adventure. And it was weird. Every day. Walking. You have a plan and a goal. Walking. Wake and walk. Walk till dark. Sleep. And repeat. And then one day we woke up and we knew this was the day we had been waiting for. The end. Canada. The border. This is what we had set out to reach five months ago. In what felt like another life. We walked, we rounded a bend, and there it was. The swath. What we had only seen in pictures. Canada and the end of the trail. Hard to describe the feelings. I cried with the biggest smile on my face and we could not stop hugging each other and reminiscing of all the things we had seen. All the hurdles we had challenged to get here. The snow, the rivers, the tiredness, the exhaustion, the boredom, the rain, the soaking rain, the views and places that so many will never see before they die. We did it. We saw it. We got to be there. We experienced what one cannot explain in words. And now what?

Well, we had celebratory shots with Topsy Turvy and DataMuffin and we had a great 9 mile stumble out to civilization. To Manning Park, Canada. To a hot shower, a soak in the hot tub, clean clothes and my parents picking us up to drive us back to Oregon. How weird it was for me, Kristen, to drive a ginormous suburban with 6 hikers and 2 parents at 60 miles an hour what took us a million years to walk. Slower than a snail can crawl. And we celebrated with food and beers, dropped off the other hikers and made our way "home." And then we were home. And celebrities! Everyone read The Bulletin article that was written about us (thanks to my dad being so dang proud and telling everyone, we made it to the papers) and then everyone wanted to know about it. But how does one sum up that hike in a few words?

We got to speak about our hike to some amazing kids. Troubled youth, the teen parents program, and a few high school classes. Thank you so much for all being so excited about our hike. Ville and I can't wait to hear about the trails you will all challenge and successes you will reach! Funny though, we didn't think we were cool enough to lecture. I mean, we just walked. That's all. But if we can help inspire someone to reach higher, know there are no limitations in life, just hurdles to conquer, well, then we can talk in front of some classes. And I hope it inspired. At least just one. And I hope we can be trail angels for one of them someday.

As for Ville and I, well, we are back in Helsinki Finland. We were here working and saving to do this hike and after we came back to Oregon, Ville's visa limitations brought us back here. We had a great month in Bend. We had a big party to thank many of those that helped and supported us on the hike. We owed it to them. To celebrate with us. In the accomplishment. We showed a short video of our favorite pics from the hike and put it to music. It was a hit. And every morning we got up when we wanted, walked a 4 mile loop with my parent's dogs because we can't just stop walking, and did whatever the heck we wanted in the day. Usually we went for another walk before dark and then we sat our lazy butts on a couch and watched some t.v. because we can. It was great. And now when it rains, snows, blows the coldest Finnish wind, I am just happy that I have a warm apartment to go into with a hot shower, a warm bed, and food in the fridge. Life is good :)

Ville flew back to Helsinki after about a month and I stayed to help destroy my parent's bathroom and then rebuild it. Hope you are enjoying your own hot shower Mom. And then I packed my bags yet again (can do it in my sleep with a blindfold on by this point) and caught my plane on Dec. 5th to meet my companjera, my hiking soul-mate, waiting for me in Finland. It has taken us a while to quit following each other all over the apartment. Old habits die hard. Or to be without each other more than 5 min without a panic attack setting in. But then again, it's amazing how fast you do go right back to the norms of every day life, as if nothing even happened. As if it was all a dream.

I am back in my job working with kids. They keep me happy. Every day is an adventure. Minerva is 3 now and has a new brother, Titus, who keep me on my toes and love every minute of it. Ville has gone back to Toyota Finance and is not quite as thrilled to go back to cubicle world, but is managing. Hard to look at sunsets and mountain ranges and go back to staring at piles of paper. For all those wondering "what now?" Well, who knows? We are enjoying the small things we did not have on the trail and enjoying life. During every traveling adventure, we are always planning the next. During this hike, we were imagining all the small things we missed about home. Now we are reveling in them. But of course, there is always something up our sleeve. So your just going to have to stay tuned to find out what's next!