Recapturing California – 101 Days and 1689 miles

Here I am. The California/Oregon state line. It took me 101 days, mostly hiking, to get to this milestone of my Pacific Crest Trail Truh-hike. The past couple days I was trying to recapture every day, every night camping, every zero in town and all the people I met. It made me laugh so many times and also realise that a lot of stuff happened.

Last time I was in California, my brother and I did a road trip and it was also the time i decided I want to come back, but not only for a couple weeks…

Southern California or how I call it “The Honeymoon phase”

April 22nd, about 20 hikers got rides from Scout and Frodo (my first trail angels of many many many more) to start their journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. For most it is their first long distance hike including me. I looked forward to this date since I left Germany in November and it was finally their. Of course, I was really excited as the others and that excitement stayed for a long time. Trail magic almost every day, ever changing nature, reaching milestone after milestone and always having the snow situation in the sierras back in the head.

I made quickly really good friends who I was hiking with but later I realised I am also hiking to have the time for myself, make my own decisions and deal with those which where bad. I wanted to get out to challenge myself and grow stronger. Luckily, I met many other hikers while solo hiking so I never felt really lonely. I had the chance to meet up with a old friend from my time studying abroad and always kept contact to my family at home.

Getting closer and closer to Kennedy Meadows (the last stop before entering the Sierras) I realised there is not really a need to take my time for waiting till more snow melted and decided to get there as soon as possible. Sadly, it was a bit to late and I had to skip a section due a fire on the other hand I caught up to some old friends and many hikers I now were at Kennedy Meadows.

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The Sierras – now its getting serious

The mileage per days dropped and the elevation gain increased. Before reaching a section with crossing a pass daily, I wanted to climb the highest mountain in the 48 contiguous states, Mount Whitney. After reaching this milestone another was just ahead, Forrester Pass, the highest point on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was the first real Pass to cross which had a lot of snow and after achieving all those goals you start to fell more and more confident. Every day you got those WOW-moments, standing reaching a pass, walking along alpine lakes or beautiful meadows. Still hiking mostly by myself I enjoyed the freedom and felt more and more confident. As I reached Yosemite NP, I planed to hike do some side trails with some friends and we got lucky to climb one of the most famous monument of it: Half Dome.
After taking my time and doing shorter mile days I was looking forward to challenge myself again. I hiked 150miles in 5,5 days to meet up with friends and thought already thats my limit.

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Northern California – from a physical to a mental challenge

I don’t know what it was. If it were because I was hiking still hiking by myself, not climbing a high pass and having an incredible view again or just if I was just getting tired. I struggle more and more to get out of my tent and had a couple nights thinking if it is still what I want to do. I decided to take a couple days off and stay with a friend I met while my travels before. Those were also my first zeros after hiking about 500 miles in 3 weeks. It was nice to sit in a cafe shop not thinking about the trail, watching the whole game of thrones seasons in one day and it helped. I started missing the trail again and luckily I had just to go back 🙂

I was not getting bored again even the views weren’t that stunning anymore but I was just on another mindset. The “trailcation” filled my batteries and I felt really strong hiking many miles. High 20ies went to 30ies and the past week I did two 40ies (Probably the only time :D). A couple days without any distraction like listening to music helped me to process some stuff i wanted to think about and somehow I got to the CA-OR state line.

Right now I made it 20miles into Oregon and sit on a cozy armchair at Callahans Lodge, a Tonic&Gin next to me and background music by a guitar player. It is the perfect place to kind of recapture the past month, full of happiness and dissatisfaction, tears of joy and sadness, share their most rememberable moments and more. 101 days… 1716 miles… and I am more then ready for the next days 🙂

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