Day by day passes by, I am in the middle of my application for my future job. And with each day, week, month… I started thinking more and more about my past journey and the hike. The month after finishing the trail, my Facebook page was full of posts of my hiking buddies. Remembering the whole time or a particular special moment. Since I started right away with job applications and visiting friends, the only real time I thought about the trail was as I retold my experience, feelings, memories to my friends again and again.
I am not a person who wanted to tell everyone about it. My parents suggested to write a article for the local newspaper. I felt uncomfortable with it. A part of me thought that it may seem kind of a brag, to show what I have accomplished. Everyone experience the time on the trail differently and as so everyone deals with the post-trail-time differently and thats how I thought about it. It felt like another trip like I did before. Indian three weeks, visiting my siblings as they studied abroad or a road trip. But it’s not.
I am home now since almost 2 month and by that time on the trail I had difficult phase. I took about 6 days off because I just didn’t wanted to hike anymore and I can still remember those feelings. A month later, I started hiking with Morning Glory and arrived 2 more month later with her in Canada. 2650ml. 4400km. Just numbers and even for me now hard to recapture what they mean. But most important is what is between mile 0 and 2650. Panoramas, challenges, laughs and cries, joy and pain, friendships, insights and much more…
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment (Buddha)
Concentrate the mind on the present. That is what you do while you hike and thats what I have learned and added to my life. At the moment I am in Hamburg visiting friends and walking through the busy streets I realized what i means as well by seeing people rushing from one store to the next one, tick of their checklists and not enjoying the moment.
Think about it for yourself. Take a quick break. Look outside or around you and try to feel the moment. Your thoughts, feelings. They don’t have to be always positive but listing to your self and sense your surroundings helps you to be present in the moment.
I guess you realized that it has been lately quieter on my blog and it might look like I left the trail after the last post but I am actually just 260 miles away from the Canadian border.
I’m having a great time now hiking with really close friends and I am enjoying every bit of it. Sadly, I am not so motivated at the moment to write about my whole journey on the trail and about my thoughts.
A lot happend since my last post and I am still taking notes to not forget anything important so I will cover everything when I have finished the trail in about 13 days. I am actually really looking forward to finishing the trail and to start the next chapter in my life. My whole journey helped my personally to figure out how I want my life to be and what’s important.
I hope you can wait a couple more days till I update you on the rest of my Pacific Crest Trail journey and wish you all the best!
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.
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.
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 🙂
The past week I was not writing down about how the trail is since I was thinking about lot of other things. I forced myself also to not listen to music for a while to not distract my mind.
What follows now has nothing to do with the trail but in another way it has….
As I scrolled through my news feed on Facebook after a couple days with no reception, I saw two posts of friends. One friend expressed his sadness about what happens in Munich lately (a shooting in a fast food restaurant which has what I know so far no terrorist background) and a picture of a friend with his wife after their wedding.
Just think for a moment for yourself how you would feel….
I was really sad and concerned as I heard first of the attack since I studied in Munich in know a lot of people who are living there. But then, after seeing the other picture of to people who found them self, love each other and decided to be together for the rest of their life, I felt happiness in me. I know, it is horrible what happens in the world and this year it seems there is every day a sad news. Sooner or later, if you surround yourself with negative news, you might start to feel and think like that every day. It is hard to not surround yourself with negative news but we can still control our feelings.
And this leds to a second story I want to share with you.
Yesterday, I listed to my first podcast for a week and it was about two police men in Denmark who found their own way to “fight” against terrorism and about a young men who almost became one.
As more and more young men run away from home to join the “holy war” in Syria, the policemen didn’t know how to react with all the parents coming to them and said their son ran away. They saw in the news how most of the governments started to take away passports and answer hostility with hostility.
They realized that there should be another way, a peaceful way and also wanted to start to talk with the local muslim community why that happens.
Long story short, they created a center where they invite Muslim boy for a cup of coffee and with just talking and showing them that somebody listens and care about them.
The Boy for example, is from Somalia and as he moves with his parents to a small Danish community he was the first black kid. First he felt set in a wrong place but he thought being good in school will help his situation and it did.. Until they had a discussion about Islam at school. A girl, talked really bad and negative about it because of that what she heard from the news. She was afraid and that made her go to the teacher and tell her she thinks that the boy is dangerous. He got picked up by the police who was also acting wrong because they just did not know about him and his religion. All is online accounts were checked, the police took his parents house apart and after a week they said we found nothing and you are clean. That happens all during the graduation exam week where he could not attend. Sadly, his mother died shortly after that and he became angry and drifted away in a bad direction. He was one of the first kids who got helped by this program of the policemen and it made him realize that he is welcomed in this country.
So why do I tell you all about that here… First I wanted to get away of all the news etc. being out in the woods, save and just myself. But I realized that this is also selfish. We share the same earth, breath the same air and I think it’s a critical time in the world where everyone who has some sense and a good hearth should show that every day. I see what might could happen in the US, that somebody who want to build walls instead of bridges (Pope franziskus) might be leading this country and ONLY because he creates fear. Fear mostly makes us stop thinking and behave in a different way. And way are we afraid? Because we don’t know.
There is a quote in a outdoor movie: “Fear the unknown is the greatest fear of all”
(Die Angst über das Ungewisse ist die größte Angst)
It has for sure a different meaning in the movie but you can usw it well to many other situations.
The girl in the story before did not know and was scared and it almost lead a nice friendly boy to join a war.
I am kinda glad that I go back to Germany where the majority is still supporting a government who don’t want to shut their doors and I hope there is still a majority in the US as well. But, it is a difficult time now and it is important that everyone should show that they are not afraid and have a open heart.
I really recommend you to listen to the story. The podcast is called “Invisibilia” and the episode is called “Flip the Scrip” or read it Here
As I mentioned in my previous post, i had some mental problems getting back on the trail. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and it felt more like work then fun. The plan in town was also to catch up with friends I have been hiking the first weeks and watching the latest season of game of thrones 😉
Bliss (who I picked up with the rental car while I was trail angeling) and wanted to take the bus shuttle back north but it wasn’t running anymore. Lucky us, I gave a lot of hikers a ride while I had the rental car and as we waited an hour for a hitch, a fellow hiker called digger stopped while he was renting a car 😀 karma really exists 😉 he was also the guy who gave us a ride to Kennedy meadows as the Fire happend and he also writes for Appalachian Trials, a well know website for hiking the AT and other trails.
We had dinner in Truckee where bliss wanted to hitch to donner pass and I to Sierra city but it was already quite late so we decided to stay overnight. It’s a really nice old town with wooden houses and a couple handcraft souvenir shops. Sadly, I can’t buy anything because I am hiking on a budget and don’t want to carry extra weight :p
The next morning we said goodbye and it took me 5 hitches and 4h to get back to Sierra city, which I left 6 days ago.
I felt also a bit changed. I was really looking forward to get back on the trail. The next 10 miles was going just up and had to take it slow since I haven’t hiked for almost a week.
The next days I hiked between 25-30 miles, which is still quite a lot but I just listened to my body and just hiked.
To my surprised I caught up to some hikers I knew well and hiked a bit with them but I was doing more miles so it was a short hello. I kinda want to stick to my schedule and routine. I talked to a hiker lately and he was waiting for friends but wanted to keep on hiking. I’m sure it’s nice to hike together but I think you should have the same plans.
As I got to the 8mile descent to Belden, I saw another hiker ahead of me and it was Digger again! He hiked some crazy miles and happens to pass me last night. We hiked into Belden and got picked up by the local trail angel. Her place has beds for 5 hikers and everything what we needed. It was nice having some trail magic again and being taking care of somebody.
The next section of 45 miles to one of the last towns for a while starts with a 6,000ft climb for 15miles. I was looking forward for another challenge on the trail since the past miles were easier. After a couple feet up the trail I heard some branches cracking and a bear was again running away from me. It’s like back in Australia, where I realize there is a kangaroo as it jumps away. After 5,5h I got to the top and was really stocked. I wanted to push further and finished the day around 8pm after hiking 35miles and an elevation gain of about 10,000ft.
Today I had only to hike 10 miles but after 2,7 was a special spot, the halfway mark. It was my goal since Sierra City to get there and I was really happy. In 88 day I hiked 1320.7 miles (2124km) with a total up/down of 246444ft/249111ft (that’s like about climbing Mount Everest 9 times from sea level).
I got also some motivational notes from family and friends which really gave me a push and made me realize more that I am not hiking alone at all 😉 some nights I read them again and again. thanks for that!!!
My plan now is to get to seiad valley in about 1,5 weeks for the pancakes challenge (5pound) and then to Ashland August 1st.
The following posts are going to be different to my last ones. I had to make some miles to get back to my schedule and also to meet up friends I know from Munich who are meeting me at South Lake Tahoe. That means, 150 miles, from Monday till Saturday morning with rough terrain and still lots of elevation.
I left Tuolumne Meadows not super early as usual because I have not slept a lot the night before because of Agnes (the bear who walked 3 times through our campsite).
I slept in, waited till the restaurant opens to have a food breakfast an had out by myself. Some hikers I knew left the day before, some were leaving later but nobody wanted to hike about 30miles/day.
The first miles were still going through big meadows and soon I caught up to a hiker named Obi-Van. He kept up with my speed and decided to join me for the day. It was nice to have some company and he is a fun guy. It was already getting late and we still had a pass ahead of us. I was getting already kinda tired but I knew I have to make it to the top and as we reached it we decided to camp up here.
The next day we started quite early and he was usually a late starter. It was still going up the first half of the day and the trail was really rough, what made it harder to keep up a fast hiking speed. Around mid-day I saw some hikers ahead I recognised and it was a group I knew already really well (Morning Glory, Pizza Taxi, Pinky, Partylog, Garfield, Jellybean, Corndoggie and …. damned can’t remember her name :D)
We had a couple river crossing and Obi Van and I kept on hiking without taking long breaks. After 25 miles around 5pm we got to a nice spot and had dinner. He told me he is going to camp here and stay with the group but I knew I had to make some more miles today. I was feeling so well because I ate a filing dinner and the mosquitos around me were also getting more annoying. It was the first long section with almost constantly having them around and as I slipped with on leg into the river and getting attacked by them I had to swear the first time in german… I realised I am not really enjoying it at the moment but I had my goal.
The third day I planned to make it to Sonora Pass (75miles after Tuolumne) and hoped to get some trail magic to make me feel better. But the trail helped me on the way there since it goes over a mountain, along a ridge and back down were there was the longest slide. As i got down I was more then happy what I found. Two gentleman, iPod and Owl, prepared a nice table with cake, coffee, cookies, soda, hotdogs etc for hikes passing by. The first trail magic for a long time and it was also really interesting talking to them since iPod has been a trail angel for many years.
I wasn’t really tired so I some time to think. Think about the trail, how I am experiencing it, how it does make me feel. I love the challenge my body and walk many miles and go fast up the hill but I can’t be in this kind of state until the end (Its half of the time I want to do the trail but I still have 200miles till the halfway point).
I was really happy as I got to Highway 50 where an hour later my friends arrived. It was so nice seeing them and we spent the whole day in South Lake Tahoe. It was really full because its 2 days before 4th of July and SLT is one of the most favourite destinations for people in this area. For me, it was way to crowded and just a whole party every day so I asked my friends to drop at the trailhead to go back on the Pacific Crest Trail. The day also helped me to realise that I want/need some friends around me but I was ahead most of them.
Back on the trail I talked to a lot of day hikers and people who do the Tahoe Rim Trails, which shares the same path as the PCT for a while. It felt really good again and the day after I found a friend who was ahead laying in the gras. We hiked together for a while but split again as I camped just after 18miles. I found a nice lake to camp next to and there were some other friendly hiker (a couple from Germany) and a men from New York. He told me that if I want to see a firework I have a good chance at Donner Pass (34 miles ahead).
I decided to go for it and had another long day by myself and my thoughts and as I reached Donner pass I climbed up the boulders to have a view to Donner Lake where the firework was. Exactly a year ago, my brother and I watched the firework in Las Vegas and it made me really miss him and my family again.
I had 40 more miles to hike until Sierra City where I also sent my bounce box with my laptop and hard drive. I needed to get all the content of my go pro on it and its also more convenient to write those posts. The landscape was getting more greener and reminded me more and more of the scenery I am used at home. I also realised it was Day 75 on the trail and my plan is to finish it in 150 days. 75 more days, 45% of the trail done, my legs are stronger, I don’t have any issues but its a mental challenge now.
I arrived in Sierra City around noon and realised its way smaller then I expected. I really prefer the smaller towns on the trail but if its get to small, like Sierra City, you always surrounded by hikers and its hard to get a quiet moment. The Country Store was the only place with Wifi and you can imagine how it looked like in front (almost like in the underground in the morning on the way to work).
As i checked the packages, I couldn’t find my bounce box and with the tracking number I found out that its still on its way. I had to wait for it and maybe it was a good thing. I hiked every day since VVR which was 3 weeks ago and its good to take a break, especially to have time to think.
I finally got my package 2 days later and I decided to hitch all the way back to South Lake Tahoe. Why??? I met a really awesome guy in New Zealand who offered me to stay with him and the group I was hiking with the first weeks was going to arrive there as well. Also, I can take my time to relax, spent time either on the beach or hours in a cozy coffee shop. I Skyped with my parents and my sister and I also rented a car for a couple days to give hikers rides and bring some food up to the trail.
Now its my 4th zero day and I gonna have 2-3 more but I also get the feeling back that I want to get back on the trail. You always realise what you had when you lost it. Lucky me, I can have it back just going back on the trail 🙂
It’s Sunday and I usually sleep in on this day. No just kidding, I felt not so good as I got back on the trail yesterday so I stopped at the first nice looking camp site and decided to sleep as long my body needs to.
The sun shone into my face and woke me up and after a couple slow miles I felt better. For half a mile I was not alone, a rabbit ran along the trail and I saw him a couple times.
As I walked on a the dirt road I saw something blue in the bush and it was a balloon which got all the way to the top of the mountain. First I wanted to take it with me and dump it at the next trash can at a campsite but now I attached on my backpack and decided to keep it 🙂
After I realized I’m sleeping next to an anthill I set up my tent quickly and felt way saver 🙂
After hiking a couple miles i walked into sequoia national Forrest park. I should have totally hiked further the day before because there where really nice tent sites. It was beautiful morning walking in the shade of big pine needle trees. I also thought I heard a bear but I haven’t seen anything.
I hiked a bit with Dr. Feel good who I met in the morning and we heard more noises, this time the sound was higher and a howl. We decided to follow the noice and stopped as we saw a big bush shaking. I saw something black and thought of a bear but as we got closer we realized their were just cows and a bull.
Kinda disappointed I went on and run into Overstock. I turned out to be new personal photographer since there were great spots along the trail and we also passed the 600miles where I took some fotos for her.
I got up at 3am with 7l water on my shoulders. I thought the desert was over but we actually had another long section in front of us. That’s also why there is no water source the next 42 miles.
It was a nice cool morning and I walked the first 15 miles before it was starting to get warm. I remember also the time as I was hiking in the Australian summer and it’s good to know to know if I can handle the heat.
This morning, my mind was faster then my body and I hit the snooze button. Mistake…. Since it was still 17miles till I’m getting to a road and water source again. I started around 5:30 which is still early for some hikers but when you have to hike while 100degrees you should get up sooner. As I walked and looked down on The trail I heard some noice, looked up and saw Bambi and her mother running towards me. Right I front of me they went off trail stopped and checked me out.
Since I’ve got hungry the past days I ate more of my food and realized I have to hitch to the next town to resupply. I also wanted to got enough energy before heading into the real Mountains.
A hiker who rented a car for a day stopped at the camp and offered a ride to town. I let me dropped at a diner where I heard that they have great milk shakes and of course burgers 🙂
The last 4 days was also an area where we had no reception so my phone went crazy. Action Jackson texted me that rented a house via Airbnb with other hikers and I could come over, which was also next to the diner. Before leaving the diner I asked if they want some milk shakes and was kinda hero as I arrived with all the shakes 😀
I decided to stay overnight and while chilling everybody got the news that a fire started at the section we were going to hike next. Since we won’t make a decision the night we decided to wait for more accurate news. We watched the big lebowsky and drank White Russian 😀
Since I wanted to have a nice breakfast before we are leaving the house, I made banana pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. Some of the hikes were planning to rent a car and go back to LA for a trail vacation and offered us to drive us to Kennedy Meadows where we can head into sierras.
As I woke around 4:30am I already so the colors changing at the horizon and decided to stay in my sleeping bag and watch the sun rise. I fell asleep and woke up again with the sun shining into my face 😀
Nobody and Nolina passes me and just mentioned that I am not really a early bird, what actually my trail name is. I usually get up between 4 and 5 but there are some days I just want to enjoy the morning.
The next 16mile were not to challenging and I got to casa de Luna early afternoon. I also ran again into Kate (Footprint) who I spent some time on the tail before and she really recommend to stay there.
Casa de Luna is a really relaxing place and it happens to hikers that they stay there for days. The Andersons, who life there, host hikers for many years and every hiker got the bandana of the year their hiking. Behind there house is a little Forrest with many tent site and it feels like being in a fairytale.
I would loved to stay longer but after those many days off at my friends place I wanted really to go back on the trail.
I left that magical place after having 4 pancakes with Bingo, who wanted to be with somebody while hitching. The next section of the Pacific Crest Trail is closed again and we have to either hike 12miles on the road or hitch.
Halfway on the road was a restaurant and I decided to stop there since I wanted to do more update on my blog and have some eggs as breakfast. After that sugar flash it was good having something natural.
Back on the trail I wasn’t really in a rush and just hiked a couple miles, took a long nap and started to hike late in the day into the night. It starts to get dark soon after sunset and since it was cloudy the full moon was covered.
After hiking around the desert, it was finally time to get down the mountains and into the desert of mojave. The section is about 25 miles long until we reach the end of the valley and hike into the Tehachapi mountains. But before that, I stopped at one of the stranges places on the PCT, hiker town. If it werent a stop for hikers, you could think its a ghost town. small old houses fronts like in the old western, rusty caravans, dolls and tumbleweed rolling around outside. It would have been creepier if I would have stayed there but I hiked out at 6pm to hike the desert section in the night.
Until we reach mountains again, we walk along and on the LA aqua duct, a water canal coming from
the sierras and provide LA with more water.
After a couple miles we can walk on it because the amercian goverment closed the top due
the risk of terrorist poisoning the water. I hikes with Cashmere for a while who is a trail runner and it was nice talking to her about our same interest of running.
I was by myself around 10pm and was getting tired. Before I stopped setting up my camp I finally saw the moon rising above the horizont and because of all
the sand if was colored in red.
We have been super lucky with low
temperatures while walking in the desert but the next two days we will have to face another hard condition: wind.
The trail goes trough two huge big wind farms which combined are the biggest park in California. The Tehachapi Pass is always windy because of cold wind “soaked” in by the high air in the desert. It was quite challenging to hike against the wind but fun as well.
The last day hiking before stopping again at a town for resupply and a day or two off. I hiked with Lapsang down the mountain trough the wind farm until a highway where we got picked up by a trail angel. On the way Moonsong (a friend I hiked with before) ran into us since she left the trail at another road. We also met Cashmere again and we 3 got a lift into town.
Alaina, Wes and Moonsong had some
space in the room so we decided to join them at the best western which has a Hot Tub, sauna and pool!!!
Since I have to wait a day or two until a package is delivered to my next stop, I decided to take a day off. In Tehachapi I did my reaupply for the next stretch of 6 days (150miles) and relaxed mostly. A great place is the German Bakery which has like
every german style place in the US a bavarian decoration and food/beer from all over germany. The bread was indeed really tasty!!!
I stayed another night in the best western and planned to get a ride to the trail in the morning but i slept in and decided to leave in the evening. The tempeeeture are rising the next days so I want to hike in the late evening and morning.
I went again to the bakery to
chill and met up with Kate (Footprint) who I hiked with earlier.
Now while waiting till the bus goes, I write this blog and chill
with friends 🙂 I hope to be not to soft when I am back on the trail.
Since I left the trail 35miles before I where I wanted to stark again, i decided to hike this section in two days and go back to my friends place. After 3 zeros my legs got already soft so I needed to move!
My friend dropped me at mile 454 in agua dulce and I met with a couple friends at a restaurant to watch the final of a soccer tournament. I went back on the trail late afternoon and started my southbound hike! I knew it’s going to be interesting hiking into all the hikers who are hiking north and those people I knew were really surprised seeing me walking in the direction. I haven’t also seen many for a couple weeks.
That day I did 13 miles and my tendon was also feeling great.
My friend is going to pick me up tonight at where I left the trail on Sunday so I knew I had to walk 23 miles. I started quite early and I was glad I did because the whole day I ran into people who asked me if I am section hiking and it always took some time to explain my reason hiking south. And of course I met people again who I knew with which I talked for a longer time 🙂
Back at my friends place I planned to have another zero and go back on the trail on Saturday.
Before I get back to the trail I stayed with my friends as well because there was the german soccer cup final with my team to watch. After the game my friend dropped me at Hiker Heaven, a well known trail angel house. I actually stopped there jusy to check it out and see some friends. I had enough dayes off the trail and just wanted to be back on it.