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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Don’t be controlled by your feelings 

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

Day 78-88: Trailcation and getting back on track 

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. 

Day 67-77: From a physical to a mental challenge

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.

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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.

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Its not always easy but its also not called Pussy Cat Trail 😉

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).

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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.

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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 🙂

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Day 62-66: The Sierras Part 3

Day 62 – Wednesday 6/22

I woke up and wasn’t in my tent and could not remember how to get here…
Just kidding 😀

I had dinner with Bliss, Jack and Hobbit and planned to catch the last bus back to Red Meadows where I set up my tent. I haven’t really checked the schedule and just new the last one leave around 7pm but I missed the first bus which would bring to the main bus station. I ended up staying at a cabin which a group of hikers I know rented and took the first bus back up.

Out of nowhere, the bus driver stopped and said we should look to our right. There were a bear mother with a really small cup, just jumping over the tree logs. Seems it was a good thing that I missed the bus yesterday 😀

I got back to my tent and everything was still there. I set out back on the trail but walked trough Reds Meadows which has a special natural attraction: Devils Postpile which are hexagon rock columns of basaltic lava shaped nearly 100,000 years ago.

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As I got out of Reds Meadow, I took the John Muir Trail which separates from the PCT for the second time. It has the same distance but suppose to be more scenic. The first half of it went trough the Forrest and I was accompanied by hundreds of mosquitos -.-

At a bug free spot I set up my tent to take a nap and jumped before in one of a dozen lakes I passed.

Late afternoon I woke up again and thought about hike until it gets dark but as I passed a campsite with PCT hikers which had a fire going i decided to stop and stay.

Day 63 – Thursday 6/23

Again, I was the first who got up and left the campsite. I had 6 more miles until I reach the PCT again and those one were the scenic ones. Beautiful big Tarns, high cliffs and snow on the mountains made a great picture.

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Back on the PCT I had to go over another pass of 11,000ft before I decent to a meadow which leads us to Tuolumne Meadows. Crossing the pass I also enter Yosemite National Park!!!

I thought about going until Tuolumne but I saw in my notes that I have to pay for camping, so I decided to set up my camp short before the “no free camping area” and use the time I have left to read more of my latest book. I try to read through all the Game of Thrones books 😉

Day 64 – Friday 6/24

It didn’t took long to got to Tuolumne and I stopped at the wilderness center to ask for hiking down to the valley and climbing up to clouds rest. They told me I have to wait until 11am till they give away reserved. Permits which have been not picked up. I decided to wait and lucky I and my two friends I am also getting permits are, we also got permits to climb Half Dome. It’s my third time in Yosemite and finally I got to climb it!!!

After setting up my tent at the backpacker campground, I went to the kiosk/restaurant to get some food and found some friends chilling in front. Bliss and Jack made it also already to Tuolumne. We had a nice day relaxing talking and eating since our permits are valid from the next day on.

Day 65 – Saturday 6/65

After having breakfast, Bliss Jack Weta and I left to continue the JMT to the valley. It was such a surprise to see Weta again. We hiked the first weeks together and I happy having him around again. Our plan today was to get 9 miles towards the valley and then take the trail going up to Clouds Rest, a peak from where you can see half dome and the valley behind.

We really took our time and had a couple breaks while enjoying the views and lakes. It was already afternoon as we got to junction and we had 7 more miles to the top. We got there around 6pm and celebrated Bliss her birthday (what an awesome way to spent your birthday)

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On the way down to the campsite we stopped to enjoy the sunset and as we got there it was already dark. A ranger was still up and informed us that there is a problem bear in the area.

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We stop at a site where 3 men started already a fire and set down with them talking about Yosemite and our problem bear. We named her Agnes.

Day 66 – Sunday 6/26

I woke up around 1 in the morning to a sound like wood chocking. The guys we camped with realized quickly that it’s actually the bear who got one of our bear canister and tried to break it. I was still a bit sleepy and the guys chased the bear already away. I fall back to sleep in seconds….

An hour later, I woke up the shouts of the guys because the bear came back. Black Bears doesn’t really attack people, they are just looking for food. So, Agnes wandered trough our camp trying to get another bear canister but run away without one. Okay that’s it I thought and went back to bed.

A hour later again I woke up hearing the bear tramping again through out camp and Weta chased her away with his New Zealand accent 😀

That was the last time she came in our tent and we got up around 6 in morning, having just a couple hours of sleep. We were camping close to Half Dome and we wanted to climb it before a big crowed from gets there.

Half Dome is one of the major climbs in Yosemite and it’s only possible for non-climbers because chains were installed. There is only one way up and before the park started a permit system, people got stuck for a while. Now it’s less crowed and as we got up there was nobody in line.

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It took me 15min to get up and the view is really impressive. After a couple pictures and enjoying the panorama, we went back down the cables. It was even more scarier then going up. Halfway, my water bottle fall out of my side pocket because I was leaning so much forward to have more traction with my shoes. It got stock between some rocks next to the cables, so I decided to climb out and get it (Leave no trace). I also found a camera and a can of mixed fruits 😀

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Back down we went to our tents, packed everything and got on the trail down to the valley. I had pretty good reception so I called my brother and talked with him almost the whole way down.

Last year we were at Yosemite about the same time and did an amazing day hike (panoramic trail). It was also the time I thought about taking some more time off the just the couple weeks of holidays to really enjoy the beauty of the Californian nature.

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As I got closer to the valley, the number of tourist exploded. I could smell the people even before I saw them and probably they me too 🙂 At the shuttle bus stop a ranger saw me and told me everything I wanted to know: Where do I get some food and where to stop to catch the bus back to Tuolumne Meadows. She also let me enter the bus first and said if somebody has a problem with that, it’s their own 😀

At the visitor center I charged my batteries of my devices and my own with a 2person hiker style pizza. The bus came in the afternoon and it took almost 2h to get back where we started the day ago. Back at the campground I set up my tent and saw two old friends again. Sexy bad who is now called goldfish and joe who is Topo. We sat together at a big campfire where a ranger talked about hiking stories and poetry from people who lived and loved the sierras.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. (John Muir)

Day 52-61: The Sierras Part 2

Day 52 – Sunday 6/12

Well, I did stayed one more night in Bishop 🙂 and I guess I spent most of my day in that cozy cafe, Looney Bean. It had everything I needed: great coffee, chill music and comfortable sofas. 

The first two nights I spent at a hostel which was pretty cool but last night I stayed with friends at a motel. I got up early as usual, packed my backpack and went for a last time for a coffee where I had a great talk with Kristen (http://steeleoutside.com), again. 


As I made my way to the street to hold out my selfmade sign, a hiker ran to me and asked if I need a ride. She and a friend skipped to hike the northern part of California and are driving now back south to head into the sierras. I needed a second hitch up to the trail head and another hiker who rented a car with a friend stopped shortly.  To get back to the pct, I had to hike again over kearse pass. 8 miles with 3000ft elevation gain. I took my time and as I reached the top I saw dark clouds and it started to snow.
 Shortly after I could hear the thunder and I made my way as fast as possible down to lower elevation. I thought about setting up my tent because of the storm but after a while the thunder was gone and it stopped snowing. My day plan first was to the base of the next pass on the pct, but I decided to go over it as I realized it’s only 5 miles. As I reached the top of Glen Pass (named 1905 after Glen H. Crow, a Forest Service Ranger), clouds were coming in and for a second I could only see a couple feet ahead. Luckily, it cleared off and I could finally see my goal for tonight: Rea Lake. All clouds were gone and the rest of the sun cleared everything. It was so beautiful. I had dinner on a rock at the lake and went after it half a mile further to a campsite and fall asleep in seconds. 


 Day 53 – Monday 6/13

It has been already an amazing view yesterday evening but in the morning it was even more spectacular.
Since it was a really long first day back on the trail I decided to sleep in. The following days we have to climb over several passes, which means after a long climb, a long decent follows. 

During the day I felt quite tired from the day before and my legs felt heavy. Even after a 2h nap I felt powerless and I finished the day already after 12miles, short of the next pass. I had a lot of time before I go to sleep and finished my next book (Walking by Henry David Thoreau). 


It’s a nonfiction book about as the title tells walking, in nature, absorbing the surrounding and feeling free. 

“My spirit infallibly rise in proportion to the outward dreariness. Give me the ocean, the dessert or the wilderness!”

Day 54 – Tuesday 6/14

I had struggled again to hike up the next pass and since I had a good sleep it might be that I consumed not enough calories. So there is only one way to fix this 😀

I reached Slowly but finally Pinchot Pass (named after Gifford Pinchot, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt as the first director of the U.S. Forest Service in 1905) which was luckily one of the easier one. It followed a short decent and after a couple hours I had to accent again to the next Pass, Mather Pass (named after Steven Mather, a retired industrialist millionaire who was appointed as first director of the National Park Service in 1917). 

To get to the Pass, I had to walk over a huge wide snow field and to my enjoyment, my legs were feeling better. It is also one of the most fear-inducing climbs because of its steep head wall. The trail was covered with snow again and I decided to follow some footprints straight up the wall, with of course my ice axe in my hand. It was an amazing feeling climbing up and as I reached the Pass I was BELOHNT by one of my favorite views so far. 

Climbing down was a big fun as well. There were again many possibilities to slide down the slope and that’s my favorite way to get down a mountain 🙂

The trail goes along a huge tarn and I stopped so many times to enjoy the view. As I reached the bottom of the lake I thought about to camp here but it was just 4pm. I decided to stay and do more mileage tomorrow since I have to reach my next resupply stop in 3 days or I will run out of food. 


Day 55 – Tuesday 6/15
So far it was the most scenic and star glazing spot I camped but it had also his down side. I woke up 3am in the morning getting cold and having and layer of ice on my sleeping bag which came from the moist and cold air. I should have slept in my tent but then I would not have seen the stars and the mountains at moonlight. 


There are only two ways to get or stay warm: get in your tent and sleeping bag or hike. So it left me only one option and I hit the trail around 3:30am. I am called Earlybird but this was the earliest I’ve started hiking. My headlamp lead me the way and while walking down the switchbacks I could hear the water crushing down. I stopped and took a quick breakfast with warm tea and saw how it got finally brighter. 

As I got to the Forrest in the valley the sun was up but the air still fresh and cold. That’s my favorite time of hiking. It kinda fells going in to a church where the air is also colder and fresher then outside and there is no noise which distracts you. 

Since I hiked short days before I knew I had long ahead of me to not run out of food. After walking through a couple meadows I started to climb up again to get over John Muir Pass at 12,000ft (obviously named after John Muir, the godfather of American hiking culture). 


Half way I stopped to eat a meal and dry my sleeping bag which was still wet. As I reached the snow line I met Jan and Jules who I know from the town before. We had to hike over big snow fields and reached a lower pass. Behind it was a huge snow valley with a frozen lake. Later I heard that last year there was no snow at all the same time. 

We had to climb 200 more ft and finally reached the actual pass where stands a shelter. 

After a quick snack I decided to hike on to not get to cold. We still had to cross the whole valley and before we reached lower elevation we hiked almost 6miles (10km) in snow. 


I was getting really tired from and also because I haven’t eaten enough. Around 7pm I got back under 10,000ft where is almost the snow line and hiked 26miles. 

Before I was going to bed I decided to stay a bit longer awake to sit with my fellow hikers around my first fire in the sierras. I have been mostly camping by myself so it was nice to have some people to talk with around me. 

Day 56 – Thursday 6/16

It’s day five in the high sierras and I can feel I am getting more tired but there is no time and space to complain. It’s the Pacific Crest Trail and not pussy cat trail 😉

I started as one of the first hiker since I wanted to take a break at the John Muir ranch which is close to the trail and I want to get over on of the last passes. 


I arrived around noon at the ranch, which is mostly a resupply stop for John Muir trail hiker (the John Muir Trail (JMT) starts in Yosemite valley and end on top of Mt. Whitney and is mostly on the same trail as the PCT)

I was hopping to stock up a bit my supplies with the hiker box and I got not disappointed. Chris, a JMT hiker gave me also his left overs and some recommendations for South Lake Tahoe where I will spent some days off in about 2 weeks. 

As it was mostly downhill, I had to hike up again and reached the pass late afternoon It was one of the lower one but has still a lot of snow.


Day 57 – Friday 6/17

I followed the Pacific Crest Trail for about 6 miles and left it towards my next resupply stop, Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). I was still very hungry as I got there and had of course a burger for lunch. VVR is located at Lake Edission and has a couple Campgrounds where families are coming to go fishing and spent some time in the Sierras.


The afternoon I spent hanging around with the other hikers and prepare my supplies for the next couple days. We sat at night around the campfire where other people joined us as well. Two Cowboys told us for example how they are riding on the trails in the summer when the snow is gone. Their main job is to be guides for people who pay to cross the sierras on mules. I’m really impressed about them because they must have so much trust in the animals since the trail is sometimes really narrow and has a couple short turns on the top of a pass. 
Day 58&59 – Saturday/Sunday 6/18&19

I decided to take at least one zero hat VVR since I really liked it and it’s different then taking zeros in a town. I can walk to the lake for a short swim, walk trough the woods and help the people out for some meals. One day I washed dishes and the other one I helped Raven with stocking up the wood piles for the fires. He hiked the pct with his girlfriend last year and got deheria and stayed at VVR to recover. After he felt better they decided to stay the whole season and came back again this year. 

I also met Bryan, who supports his wife who is hiking the PCT. He build what he called a “PCT support droid”, his truck with a roof tent and he has everything inside the truck to cook, wash etc. His wife arrived after I left but she must be really happy to have such a hue support. 


Since I left the last town as one of the first of my group I got to see most of them again as they walked into VVR and one night there were about 40hikers. One time it got a bit to busy for me and I spent a hour at the lake before I returned and spent the rest of the night with my friends at the fire. 
Day 60 – Monday 6/20

VVR is so far the first place I had a hard time to leave. The crew and the people around makes it such a great place. 

I took another way to get back to the PCT which led me over a pass which is not on trail. After having always a trail in the snow to kinda show the way, I had to find my own one this time. It was a big effort since there were also big boulders over which I climbed and later found myself of the actual way. After hard 4,5h I got back to the PCT. Soon, I catches up the Nimbles who stayed also a bit longer at VVR and we hiked until we were 10 miles short of Red Meadows. 


Day 61 – Tuesday 6/21

Red Meadows Resort is a big ranch and it’s possible to take a bus to get to Mammoth Lakes which is a popular resupply stop. Since I have sent my food to VVR for the next 80miles to Yosemite, I don’t really need to go there but after 9 Days without reception I wanted to update my blog and let everyone know I survived the most challenging section of the Pacific Crest Trail 🙂 

So actually today I had another pot of Ben&Jerrys, a good coffee, probably get a burger somewhere and get back on trail in the evening.

Day 43-51: The Sierras Part 1

Day 43:
A fellow hiker rented a car and offered to drive us around the new fire closure to Kennedy Meadows. I was kinda dissappointed since I really wanted to try to hike the 50 miles to KM in one day and as you arrive, every hiker greets you with a big applaus.

We got there around noon and it was really full with hikers. That also meant that I saw so many friends again who I havent seen for a long time like the people I hiked the first weeks on the Pacific Crest Trail.
It was also time to gear up for the Sierras. I decided to go as safe as possible so I have now an ice axe (in case I slip down a snow slope), micro spikes (for more traction) and a bear cannister (which is required).
After I finally packed my backpack, it had almost the weight like day one (after a couple weeks I send some stuff i realized i am not using to my friend).
On the positive side, we left the dry sections and have now lots of streams along the trail.

The rest of the day I spent with my friends  and sharing all the stories we had. I also played the first time in my life chess and lost close against my buddy Jack from Australia. I gonna download a book to learn more about tactics 🙂

Day 44:
I wanted really to go back on the trail since I haven’t hiked the last two days. It was also sad to leave my friends again and I wont see them for a while since they are waiting for Jeff, who went home for a couple days.

So I headed out to the sierras, again by myself. It was pretty hard since the pack is heavy again and my legs a bit soft because of the days off. The first miles were still quite dry and not much cover by the trees. I carried only 2l of water with me since there were a couple stream ahead. After a couple hours I realized I drank more then usuall and had the wrong milage noted of the next water source in my hiking plan. I ran out of water abouy 4,5miles before the next source. With my mouth getting drier and drier I decided to hike not to fast and avoid to sweat to much. It was such a relief when I finally saw the small river but the trail was making a slight turn and it took a while till I got there. Because of the fire and people taking some days off at kennedy meadows I met many new hikers who heard of but havent met so far. I camped by myself the first night in the Sierras and was kinda hopeing to see a bear but I had no “luck” yet.

Day 45:
Still not really in the High Sierras, we had to get higher on elevation and luckily the amount of streams along or crossing the trail increased. After hiking 16miles the first day I plannd to do more and finished a long day after 25 miles.
There were many hikers at the campsite since a water source was next to it and I got to know new people again. I also caught up
with 3 german guys I knew from
before.


Day 46:
If I havent mentioned yet, my trail name is “EarlyBird”. And as you can think, I got it because I used to be the first person on the trail and as I left, everybody was still in his tent. 10 miles ahead, the trail passes the first mountain lake, I mean tarn (thanks to Matthew who told how they are actually called) and I was the first hiker there. The sun was already warm and after a couple minutes I jumped into the lake. I took an hour break and as some hiker arrived, I left already.


On the way I met Morning Glory, who as you can think is also a morning person like me 😀 I also heard from her as I met her hiking group who were a bit behind and mising her. She had to leave KM because it was just to crowed and I get that and now after a couple days by herself she is waiting till her friends catch up.

Its really interesting to hear how everyone expierce the trail
and hikes his own hike. Sometimes you want to have people around and sometimes you just need time for yourself.

As it got later I decided to hike till Crabtree Meadows where hiker take the trail off the Pct to climb up to Mt Whitney, the highest mountain of the 48 continues states in america.


As the days before, I got late into camp and just set up my tent and went to bed. I also saw Katja and Von again who I knew since the first day in the Sierras.

Day 47:
At the of this day, I will be as high as I have never been before!
I started later as usual to get to
the base of Whitney since I was a bit tired and exhausted from the day before. As I reached Guittar Lake, I took a break and decided to climb up Whitney in the evening. My plan was to camp on the top to see the sunset/rise.
As I relaxed at the lake, marmots and chipmunks surrounded me. I placed my GoPro on a big rock, left some my trail mix in front and recorded some of them eating the nuts 🙂


Later the day, Lars arrived and he and the other two germans also planned to camp on top Whitney. As we were leaving the lake he stop and looked up to Whitney. The trail goes to the other side of the base, up many switch backs and then along the ridge to the top. He saw another opportunity, going strait up and climb over big rocks. It sounded like a crazy idea but it looked duable so we went up straight. It was quite challenging and risky but after 3-4h we made it to the trail and hiked the last bit to the summit. 


I was really exhausted, especially because I was never that high and it was definetly harder to breath.

It was already 5pm and no hiker was there anymore exept some climbers who took the mountaineering route. Julian and Felix arrived a bit later and after a big dinner, taking fotos we enjoyed the sunset and went back to our sleeping bags since it was gettig cold (how come on 14,000ft/4,400m)



Day 48:
I was expexting a really cold and windy night but we were lucky and it was not to bad. Only the lower amount of oxygen due the high elevation made it hard for me to sleep and I woke up sometimes and had to breath deeply several times. Lars, who also cowboy camped outside said I snorred strangely and I guess that made it even harder.


I set my alarm 1h before the official sunrise time, got up as quick as possible to set up my gopro and find a good spot to sit
and watch the sunrise in my sleeping bag. If makes you feel so small being at top of the highestes mountain. The cold freah air, the quietness made it such a more intense moment and expierence.

After the sun was up we went back down, this time the official trail. On the way we passed serveral hiker who are making their way up to the top and I sas again many friends who left Kennedy Meadows after me.

After being on over 14000ft we had to decent 4000 and head to Forester Pass, which is with 13,500ft the highest point of the Pacific Crest Trail. Lars and I took a siesta before we start the ascent to the pass. In the afternoon we  decided to hike closer to it and arrived around 6pm at the base of it. It was only 300ft more to go but we have to decent on the north side and it would be saver doing it in tve morning when its icy and easier to walk with the microspikes.
This time I decided to set up
my tent which was a mistake since the wind picked up. As i couldnt fix my rain fly since we were on a big rock, it flapped against my inner tent and I almost havent slept.


Day 49:
I thought first to sleep in but around 6 I decided it makes no sense to wait and packed my back. With my micro spikes on my shoes and the ice axe in my hand, I went up the icy snow slop. It was really easy with the gear and after 30min I got the Pass! Having my epic soundtrack playlist playing I felt just great due the impressivness of the moment.


After a couple pictures we startes the decent on the north side where we had more snow. There were some marks of hikers obviously sliding down and using the ice axe and I am happy I have it with me.
Further down we some different tracks and hiker just slide down the slope. I did it first with my backpack on and went two more times up without it. I really wished to have those plastic seat slides with me 😀
The decent was long and as I reached the tree line most of the snow was gone and I found myself in a beatiful forrest with a couple stream crossings.


I was getting tired and felt the tough days in my bones. I knew I an going to leave the trail for resupplying so I pushed myself more. I reached Kears Pass which I had to cross to get to a carpark and hopefull ger a hitch fron day hikers to town. I also had a box at the post office and I wantes to be there beford it closed. I proverbial run down the trail a caught up to a couple who gave me a ride and dropped me 10min before the post office closed.
Since there was not much in Independence, I hitched to Bishop which is 45miles further and stayed at a hostel which is a preffered location of hikers. The rest of the day I did the usuall things in town like laundry, uploading some pictures and eating a burger 🙂

Day 50:
I had finally a good sleep and did all my resupply and other prepartion so i could go bacm on trail whenever i want. I had also to buy new shoes since my next new pair is in a box 400miles ahead my actuall one (650miles on the sole) where to small since your feed start to swollow and grow.
At noon i realized France is playing the opening game of the europe cup and we went to a bar to watch it. In the evening more sport was on and i washed gane 4 of the NBA finals 🙂 more hikers I knew were also coming to town and we went to the local brewery.


Day 51:
I planned to go back ir closer to the trail today but a thunderstorm is making me unsure if I should stay one more day. I have always my trouble at the end of my stay in a town when I should leave. Trying to listen to my body and know if i need more rest, having some fun with friends and enjoy the time in town or should I go back on trail, where I am feeling definetly more free.

Day 38-42: Real desert, 42miles without water and fire

Day 38:

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 🙂


At noon I arrived at the first water source after 18miles and took a break. As it got cooler in the late afternoon I headed back out a couple more miles until I found a nice spot to Cowboy camp. 

Day 39:

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. 


At the end of my day I stopped at a campground where we have our last water source for the next 42 miles!!!!! 

Day 40:

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.


Around noon I got to the second water cache and was lucky it was not empty. Trail Angels drive out to the trail and restock the caches with 50 gallons (~200l) of water. 


I found some shade under a Joshua tree and waited until late evening to to hike couple more miles with 600m elevation gain.

Day 41:

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. 


At least, the last 5 miles were downhill but that means also it’s gonna get warmer. As I reached the bottom, a trail angel set up a little hiker camp with a tarp for shade, cold drinks and snacks. 

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 😀

Day 42:  

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. 

Day 31-37: Desert, Green Energy And German Bakery

Day 31:

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. 


We were a small group of hikers which is quite unusual for that place but it made it even more relaxing. For dinner we got taco salad and the next morning I got up early to be ready for pancakes. 

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. 

Day 32: 

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. 


Day 33:

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.


Day 34:
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 day was full with passing tonns of wind turbines and going up the mountain leaving the desert behind us. It was windy the whole day and towards the end hard to find a good camping spot.

Day 35:
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!!!

Day 36:
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!!!


In the evening I met up with more hiker frienda for dinner and going to the movie theater.

Day 37:
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.

Day 27-30: section southbound and back heading north 

Day 27:

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. 


Day 28:

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 🙂 


I also counted every hiker who passed me and at the end of the day I counted 100 hikers within the 23 mile. With still 50 people starting at mile 0 it makes quite sense seeing that many people. 

Day 29:

Back at my friends place I planned to have another zero and go back on the trail on Saturday.

Day 30:
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.



I got a ride with a couple other hikers to the trail. It was getting already late so I did only 8 miles also knowing its 16 miles to the next famous trail angels house “Casa de Luna”.