Backpacking is a great escape from the hassles of day-to-day life. But after a period of solitude, quiet, and self-paced living, it's not always easy to re-enter society. I've always had little rituals I do after each trip that make the transition more enjoyable. When I lived alone, it used to involve soaking away the trail grime while drinking a Guinness and listening to Miles Davis. Nowadays, my ritual is much simpler.
After the trip, I generally seek out a local diner for an awesome breakfast (what ever the time of day it may be). The rules are as follows:
1)While I may indulge in fast food in my haste to get to a trailhead, I will NEVER eat fast food after a trip. Even if starving, I will search the country roads to find a small mom and pop type establishment.
2) It should preferably be in the vicinity of the trail so I can continue to enjoy the "local" flavor.
3) Wood paneling is preferable. And while I'm not generally inclined towards hunting trophies in normal life, a few tastefully mounted ones match the decor of the place I'm looking for perfectly.
4) Eclectic, in decor or menu items, is a plus.
5) It should ideally have gruff (but friendly) waitresses that call you "hon"
Here are a couple of my favorites
Da Dawg House in Cadillac, MI
Those are hairy legs on the roof, sticking out of a faux dog house. This is my absolute favorite post-hike diner. Favorite meal is called "dog chow"- Hashbrowns, biscuits, sausage, and 2 eggs, piled high (in a dog bowl)and smothered in gravy.
In Munising, MI. Dog-themed places are not actually required, but these two were both exceptional.
What are your post-hike rituals?