Friday, September 3, 2010

The Water Spigot

Written by: Katherine 'Ringleader' Imp

There was this one day on the trail that I’ll never forget. It was the day of the water spigot.

Every morning on the trail, Emily, Brandon, and I would look at the thru-hiker’s companion to get a sense of what our day would like. Would there be any good overlooks? Roads? Towns? Famous landmarks? Of course most days never went as planned, but the companion usually gave us some valuable piece of information --- some place, person, or thing to look forward to. It gave us something to think about, something to desire, and sometimes, it was that little piece of information that gave us the motivation to continue.

One day, during an uneventful breakfast, Emily and I asked Brandon to give us the news of the day. “The only thing in the next 25 miles is a water spigot coming out the side of a building on a dirt road,” he said.

25 miles and all I thought about was that water spigot:

Yes!!!! I don’t have to pump water!!!!! I wonder what kind of building it’s attached to? That’s weird that a spigot would be coming out of a random building. Maybe it’s high enough off the ground that I can bathe under it? Unless the building is a place of business…that may not be appropriate. Haha. Why would there be a business on a random dirt road? I bet it’s just some abandoned building. Or maybe it was put there for hikers. Hmm….

Hopefully it’s nice enough near the spigot that we can take a snack break there. We should make some electrolyte drink since we don’t have to use that damn pump. Why is there a spigot coming out of a building? I think I’ll fill up my camelback with the full 3 liters so I don’t have to pump water later. I miss running water. So glad I don’t have to pump. I'm definitely going to bathe.

It’s amazing what your brain can do on so little information.


Fast forward to yesterday:

“Ms., if you don’t have your documents ready please step aside.” I have them right here. Safe and sound in a Ziploc bag. “Have a seat until your number is called.” Have a seat, okay. Omg, why do my knees still hurt so bad. I think I need to see a doctor. Why are so many people at the DMV on a Wednesday morning? “E0115! E0115, please step up!” Oh shit, that’s me. “You are aware that you need to take a written test?” Eh???? What are all these road signs???? Is this a trick? Omg, I am going to be so late to work. Just guess. “You passed. Picture over there. Plates to the office on the right. You need a Chicago sticker to park your car, which is in the building across the street. NEXT!!” Huh, okay. Follow the crowd.

Okay, 11:30am. How did I just spend $300. What else do I need to do? Open a new bank account. Get a credit card. Pay rent. Pay cell phone bill. Pay student loan. Clean my AT backpack that is currently quarantined in a garbage bag on my back porch. Enroll in firm health insurance plan so I can go to the doctor. Eat. Eat what I dunno. I need sugar. How do I have 50 new emails before noon? I hope Brandon and Emily are doing okay with the transition home. I need to call Grandma. And I’m at the office, put the smile on, here we go….

“Hey Kate, can you file those responsive pleadings ASAP?” --- “Kate, can you swing by my office in a few minutes. I’d like you to help me answer some discovery.” --- “Kate, how was the trail???” --- “Kate, I’ve got a deposition in Florida tomorrow and I need 2nd coverage. Are you available?” --- “You took the bar exam in February…wait, where have you been for the last 5 months?” --- “Kate, I just sent you a spread sheet with the cases you’ve been assigned. You should request a dismissal or file a motion for summary judgment for the cases with an October trial setting.” --- “Weren’t you just in Africa or something?”

SENSORY OVERLOAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok. Ok. You can do this, Kate. You just thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Seriously. One step at a time. Step one: figure out what a responsive pleading is and file it…..


If someone were to ask me: how's your transition going? I'm not sure how I would respond. I think it's too early to tell. I haven't had time to process the adjustment. I moved to a new city and started working at a new job 3 days after summiting Mt. Katahdin. I still wake up in the morning feeling sore. I see white paint in the city streets and think about following it. I hear myself talking in conversation and wonder if I'm speaking in a socially appropriate manner. I look out the window of my office at Lake Michigan and my thoughts immediately turn to the beautiful lakes of Maine. I see running water...and think of the water spigot...attached to a building...on a dirt road.

The trail is now a part of me. And I feel it wherever I go, and whatever I do. It's odd, and somewhat lonely, but I'm just taking one step at a time. After such an intense experience, I think that's all you really can do. There are only really a few things I know for certain: (1) Brandon, Emily, and I just completed one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, (2) we made it home safe and sound, and (3) ... I'm really happy.


  1. Wonderful blog! I've always felt that the real benefits began to accrue only after leaving the AT. Your prism is now filtered by the AT. But your last line in the blog was the most special, and hope that doesn't change.

  2. Law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer but does little to prepare you for the practice of law. Just like on the AT, keep it simple and you will do fine. Section hiker Jack Rabbit. Practicing lawyer since 1987.

  3. I've enjoyed reading your blogs. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I'm going to be section hiking in Ga. soon and can't wait. Looking forward to seeing the documentary

  4. Thank you for all your blogs.......It seems that you have jumped straight back into the real world.... Not sure that it sounds much fun...Please keep the blogs coming,