First things first

Sunday was our last day on the trail. We summited Katahdin. We did it. Our joy, our sense of accomplishment, is something I want to bottle and sip from all the live long day of our family life. The taste of "we did this in spite of so many obstacles, and with the help of so many friends and strangers" flavoring the rest of our family story and journeys together.

It is sweet. Delicious really.

There are photos, hundreds from Sunday alone, thousands from our entire journey. There are words. Some I've started writing and others that will be spill out in time.

But first there is this. We arrived to a new home this week. A home our friends are sharing with us while they have their own family adventure. Our first family housesitting gig, which will last approximately ten months, give or take a bit depending on when our friends want to return.

Earlier on the trail, in the days, weeks and months that we longed for a vacation from our hike, we decided to take a staycation upon our arrival back home. A time to rest physically and unwind from the unrelenting pace of thru-hiking.

Damien's computer didn't get the memo about our staycation plans because when we arrived home we discovered the battery had exploded, cracking the trackpad and bending the frame in what appeared to be a forceful exuberance to end its useful life.

Thankfully, the hard drive was not damaged, or anything else important. And though this was not a pleasant surprise, after a bit of stress, research, and an order of parts from ifixit we should be back in business, literally, some time next week. Until then, Damien will use my computer.

Even on a staycation you have to eat but because I haven't done any serious cooking for six months making meals is not a hardship. The crisp fall days call for soup, potatoes, lentils, beans, and casseroles.

The kids each have their own room, Celine a private loft. We're not sure what to do with all this space but there is an air of discovery as the kids roam the yard and peek in closets finding treasures and claiming space for their own.

Having hiked for six months, many twenty miles days up and down mountains the kids are ready to completely veg and do pretty much whatever they feel like doing. Video games, movies, maybe some outdoor time, but it's not required. This break was part of the deal.

I'm not thinking yet about all the things I have to do now that we're home. School, paperwork (six months of mail!), business accounting, re-establishing household routines in a much larger space (who will clean three bathrooms?), editing thousands of AT photos, and sorting through all of our belongings in the basement.

First, I am soaking in our safe return to the peninsula and our good fortune to live in this home right now. I am reveling in everyone under one roof again.

For my staycation I plan to read and hopefully publish a few posts. And in between cooking our fall favorites, organize the kitchen to my liking. First things first.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • John McDowell

    John McDowell on Sept. 25, 2014, 1:54 p.m.

    Congratulations to you all on your safe return.  I hope this will enrich your life for a long time.  I have really enjoyed being with you vicariously through the blogs and videos and I am happy to have helped support you.

    John (Yoda)


  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on Sept. 25, 2014, 3:38 p.m.

    Congratulations! I have tears of joy for you - for accomplishing what you set out to do, despite the obstacles and trying times. It must feel weird to be on this side of things...

    Praying for some major rest and relaxation and rejuvenation for your family. What a gift to have a beautiful, spacious home to occupy for the next season.


  • Misti

    Misti on Sept. 25, 2014, 4:14 p.m.

    Congratulations on the completion of the thru-hike! I remember those days post-hike, four years ago. I dreamed of a wine and cheese party while hiking and made sure I had one when I returned. I did get restless though, longing for some movement. But it was so nice to relish the days around the house, too. 

    Enjoy your new adventure!


  • Amber

    Amber on Sept. 25, 2014, 4:59 p.m.

    Congratulations!!  It must seem so strange yet so welcome to be rattling around in a house again.  And to be with just your family again must be such a welcome change too.  I hope that laptop is fixed soon - we've had good success with and their directions and parts.  I'm looking forward to seeing what this post-trip and housesitting phase in your life brings (as I'm sure you are too!).


  • Aaron

    Aaron on Sept. 25, 2014, 9:55 p.m.

    Congratulations.  What an accomplishment and such a great inspiration to so many - my family included.  No need to wait for the kids to get out of the house, take them with!  Great work and well done.


  • Jenny

    Jenny on Sept. 25, 2014, 10:27 p.m.

    Our family has been watching and cheering your journey!  Congratulations on such a massive accomplishment.  You did it!  You really did it!  What an inspiration.  Thank you!


  • Nicole Cipriano

    Nicole Cipriano on Sept. 26, 2014, 1:34 a.m.

    I am so happy to have followed along with you, and I look forward to you Blogging here again, as your family was an inspiration to us long before your AT hike.  :) Enjoy your well-deserved stay-cation; take your "re-entry" as slow as needed and enjoy fall!  

    As for the 3 bathrooms pick one to just close the door on and just don't use it!  The house we bought 6 years ago has 2 and a half baths (3 toilets, 5 sinks, 2 showers!) and I hate it!  I much prefer our old house with the one bathroom!  LOL!


  • Krista

    Krista on Sept. 27, 2014, 6:02 a.m.

    Congratulations on completing the hike! Hope you are healing well, Renée. I really miss your writing. xo


  • Lori

    Lori on Sept. 27, 2014, 12:46 p.m.

    We are so happy for you!  Your family did something amazing together, and you will all have this for your entire lives.  

    We enjoyed our time with you "way back when" at the beginning of your hike.  That must seem like so long ago after what you've done since then.  

    If this comment goes through, yay.  I had lots of trouble commenting during your hike so I gave up trying.  Wanted to say, "Way to Go, Tougas Family.  You did it!"


  • Jamie

    Jamie on Sept. 30, 2014, 11:52 a.m.

    We've been thinking of you so much; so thrilled for you (amazed by your kiddos' endurance - and yours, too, of course!) and so happy for you to settle in.


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