To hike the CDT or not hike the CDT. That is the question on the minds of The Ravens. After completing the PCT in 2015, we assumed a typical routine life waited for us upon our return home. Papa Raven would get a job, Mama Raven would be a mom and Bling and Little Crow would go to school. This would be our life until the kids graduated from college and Papa Raven retires. Being a software engineer in San Diego, California, we had no idea how difficult it would be to find employment. We asked someone, who requested a resume, how many have they received for that specific job? His response was nearly three hundred from all over the country and they are still receiving more applications. It has been a stressful period . . . too stressful. Maddening is what I call it. Waiting and waiting for something to come along and never does. After such a long period of time looking, with no luck, one kind of gives up. We have imaged all the possible reasons why Papa Raven has not gotten a job yet: too old, unemployed too long, over skilled, under skilled. Papa Raven genuinely enjoys programming. It is what he has done for over twenty five years. Nonetheless, perhaps the traditional life we once had, is not the path we are supposed to follow anymore? Is there something else we are meant to do? If so, what is it?
So here we are with no commitments to a job to tie us down and living off of our retirement. If we were financially situated, we would be completely content with the rest of our lives hanging out together and never going back into the rat race. But that is not our situation, income is necessary. Additionally, there is great satisfaction in work, in doing something you love, and providing a life and security for one’s self and family. The idea of another long thru hike only existed in the far off future when Papa Raven retired. Cautiously, we are wondering if that far off dream is instead right now before us. All common sense says “no” to another long trail. In fact, the list seems to be a mile long why we should not hike, while the list why we should hike is short . . . but powerful. Staying right here in the situation we are in, with no prospects, is eating away not only the nerves but also the soul. Through the thick, gray, haze of fear and uncertainty, it is difficult to see clearly what our family is supposed to do. We literally need someone to reach down and physically point us in one direction or another. There are four of us to consider, not just Mama and Papa Raven. What is best for all?
A break away from the quagmire of our life is needed. The pull of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is strong. Great ideas come from taking long walks and being surrounded by natures loving kindness. Perhaps the economy will be better and a job will come more easily after we return? There are those who will understand the lure of a long trail calling and encouraging us. However, there will be those (especially family) who will consider us to be irresponsible with our decision. There are many “what if’s” to wade through regarding this decision. Is there not a reason for a burning desire in the heart to do something. Could it be a higher source directing us in a way? Is it ever wrong to follow one’s dreams? After all, there is no telling where it may lead!
Mama Raven, January 2017
P.S. The Ravens plan right now is to continue with the job search as we prepare for the CDT. If job comes along, we know what path we are to take. If there is no prospect of a job, we will take a little walk on the Continental Divide Trail.
Trinity Alps, CA, Aug 2006
Bling’s (5) first trip carrying a pack. 55 miles around the Three Sisters, OR, Aug 2007
Little Crow (4) – 64 mile loop around the Yosemite high country. Aug 2009
Bling (7) – 64 mile loop around the Yosemite high country. Aug 2009
Guitar Lake below Mt. Whitney. JMT – July 2012
Little Crow (7), Papa Raven, Bling (10). The end of the JMT, Yosemite Valley. July 2012