20/09/2018 THE END
It’s done, it’s over! I reached the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail on the border to Canada 20th Sept at 9.30 am. Not only my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail came to an end, but also I closed the circle of my journey of 14 months and 6 days. I started to hike the PCT on 14th July 2017 by going south from Cascade Locks at the border of the states of Washington and Oregon. During the first days I doubted that I’ll survive the first week … and then eventually I found myself on the 1st Nov on the southern terminus at the Mexican border (there was an elderly lady I met in Timberline Lodge in Oregon, who never doubted I would reach the southern terminus: „Oh you are a German lady, of course you will reach the Mexican border by foot!“) I was on fire … and just continued hiking: the Great Ocean Walk in Australia, then the Te Araroa in New Zealand, climbed Mt Kosciuszko, Australias highest mountain, the two highest mountains in Africa: Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya and traversed the Drakensberge in South Africa. Along the way I visited old acquaintances that became friends, made new friends, met quite a few inspiring people and learned more about our world and how very precious our planet is. And made me thankful for what we are and what I got.
What began as a hiking trip transformed finally into a journey: to myself, to a journey about life, about being a human in this world.
So eventually a magical force pulled me back to where it all started, back to the PCT. I hiked a stretch in NoCal that I missed and finally reunited with my awesome hiking buddies that became friends to hike the fire closure from last year around crater lake. And then, then I hit the state of Washington, that from time to time literally blew me away!
A trail like that changes people. It’s not just the physical challenge, the exhaustion every single day, the heat, the cold, rain and snow. It’s the mental aspect of it all. On a long trail you get stripped down to what you really are. All the fancy clothes, make-up, hair style and artifical smiles to fit in don’t matter. Your age, sex, nationality, your profession is not important. When being exhausted, tired, in pain and also when being happy and joyful the human essence shines through. The challenge now is to hold on to these precious things.
…and it’s not just the views – it’s the people you meet, people that become your friends, accompany, inspire and motivate you and help you to look on life from a different perspective, too.
People offtrail, that help you to complete your journey: let you stay in their house over night, feed you, give you rides … just because.
I am extremely grateful for all the amazing and inspiring souls I met on and off trail and who became friends and will hopefully stay in my life for long. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to go on that journey and that I actively DECIDED to make the first step and set out and do what I love and what I am burning for. We only got one life and we should try to make the best of it.
The end of a journey is just the beginning of a new one .
The hike is done … but not the mission! I did and still do whatever I want and I am very aware of the fact that this isn’t something that I should take for granted. In many countries and regions of our world females can’t live such a free and self-determined life. And even if they could many of my fellow girls and women feel obstacles and can’t find the courage because they always got told it’s nothing what you should do – as a woman and all by yourself. I don’t just speak about hiking and travelling, but of a self-determined life in general.
I dedicate this epic hike to all females out there who didn’t find the strength for a self-determined life yet and I dedicate my hike to all females out there who have to live in circumstances that don’t allow a free and self-determined life.
I still hike for supporting education for kids and especially girls in the remote region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas. If you want to get to know more about my fundraiser and if you want to help me supporting the awesome people who work for the little NGO called ‚SAVE‘ then please please have a look here up on my main webpage FUNDRAISING.
17/09/2018 - ALMOST THERE!
After days of wet weather we eventually got a weather window of 3 days of forecasted sun and mild temperatures. Perfect conditions to hit the last stretch of trail between Rainy Pass and the Canadian border. So yes, the countdown was on and the last days on the Pacific Crest Trail just coming up. I had very mixed feelings during these last days – excitement as we where about to eventually come to an end and sadness at the very same time for the very same reason. The trail taught me to let these feelings happen and not fight against them. So happy-sad emotions accompanied me along the trail. And for the last days Washington saved up some spectacular views! Cutthroat Pass, Harts Pass, Woody Pass! Rugged mountains, snowfields, patches of fall coloured bushes. A feast for my eyes, a joy to hike through that scenery.
At this last stretch everybody’s excitement is growing, some stretch it out, some rush to the northern terminus that marks the end of trail at the border to Canada. The outstretched bubble comes closer together. You see familiar faces again, you share your excitement.
And I? I have to get my head around the thought that my journey comes to an end very soon too.
22/09/2018 RAIN in WASHINGTON, of course.
The stretch between Steven’s Pass and the little settlement of Stehekin was challenging in a different way then I expected: it’s not only been a whole lot of ascending and descending and ascending again … it’s been the challenge of standing the wet weather Washington is known for. For 6 days I got rained on every single day, temperatures dropped to almost freezing and got even snowed on while coming over a ridge and wandering down an impressive alpine valley. Its not fun to set up the tent in the rain, pack the tent in the morning in rain and be able to wring out your down sleeping bag that therefore is loosing the quality of warming you that is essential while being outhere.
Anyway, the beauty of that state is just a different one in the mist and fog and after going through wet and cold days I appreciate warm weather even more. However, it seems like Washington told us to hurry up to eventually find our way to the northern terminus of the PCT and let this epic journey come to an end. But not quite yet.
09/09/2018 BLOWN away!
Washington! How can a state be that mindblowingly beautiful? The last couple of days between Snoqualmie pass and Stevens pass have been just great! The weather spoiled me with warm sun on my skin, a light breeze that just perfectly cooled me down after all these climbs over ranges and clear views for many miles.
The landscape changed from forests with massive trees to alpine scenery with granite, rugged tips, little ponds and lakes and little snowfields here and there.Even though it’s warm during daytime it’s getting cold at night and that reminds me of not slacking too much – fall and winter will come soon enough up here in the Pacific northwest.
The Pacific Crest Trail continues to wind its way up north over 500 miles in that state and by the time I am over halfway in …. or half way done (which sounds awful!!!). Yes, there are only about 200 miles left to go.
As I am going northbound this time I meet a decent number of other NoBos. Some are rushing towards the end, some seem miserable and grumpy and hardly want to talk. Some are cheery and still enjoy their trail. But all have in common, that they have that special glow, these beams of that special something that only the trail causes. Life’s good and I am enjoying it to the fullest!
30/08/2018 - Finally in WASHINGTON!
Finally I am hiking the PCT in Washington, the Evergreen State in the Pacific Northwest. Since I crossed the famous Bridge of the Gods over the impressive Columbia River and left the little town of Cascade Locks behind me, I constantly feel like I am living in a TV spot for outdoor gear: The scenery is always truly picture perfect and you can’t arrange better scenes then the ones I have out here every single day. But to be called the Evergreen State takes a lot of rain and … oh yes! Washington welcomed me with cold temperatures, a lot of moist and fog and an annoying trickling rain. But that somehow added perfectly well to the magical atmosphere in the woods with these giant trees and moss and dense ferns everywhere. Just in time for some great views I was granted with better weather and so I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Goat Rocks Wilderness to the fullest! Alpine scenery! Granite! Lava fields! … and impressive views over to Mts Adams, St Helens and Rainier! And as the perfect add-on a super amazing dance over the Knifes Edge, that is a slightly scary ridge in the Goat Rocks. I am in love, in love with that nature up here.
And with the people! I already got to enjoy trail magic two times: nothing beats the moment you arrive at a trailhead after hours hiking in the cold rain and somebody is there cooking tacos or huckleberry pancakes for you, smiles and welcomes you and makes you laugh and brightens your day. Just because. Just because that person admires and respects all these hikers hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Or arriving in a little trail town where you get the most amazing cheeseburgers and fries in one of that authentic diner places. And after that you happily hike on and pitch your tent either under a giant pine tree or somewhere among the rocks in alpine scenery and enjoy a warm cup of tea while sitting in your tent or wrapped up in your sleeping bag or in front of a campfire on a little peninsula in a hidden lake in the woods. So yes, even though my legs hurt and my feet still silently scream because of going up and going down and going up again, it’s definitely great to be back on that magical 40 cm wide band leading me north this time.
20/08/2018 - The CREW is back together.
After hiking all by myself between Dunsmuir and Chester in northern California I eventually met up with my crew and great friends to hike the stretch around crater lake in Oregon together. We missed that part of the PCT out last year because of fire closures. So also this year the trail wasn’t open but the alternate was and that brought us even closer to the actual crater. Unfortunately there are fires again in the area and the air was quite smoky. But still we got to hike these 75 miles in the NP together. And it was big fun: sharing new stories, laughing about old stories, refreshing memories and making new ones. Good times! Its great to have friends to share a passion and to live that passion with. So we left some footprints on the dusty paths of Oregon, met some hikers whose footprints we’ve been following and after all the wind cleared it all up. The scenery is awesome: Oregon has some great forests to hike through. Add some roadtrippin‘, good music and tacos in Bend … what else to ask for?
08/08/2018 - BACK on the PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
I am back, back to where it all started over a year ago. Back hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. I am cleaning up, I am hiking the bits and pieces I skipped last year. I am happy to be back but at the same time it’s different. I’m not on a long haul, it feels like I am visiting. I am not one of all those skinny and filthy hikers who rush north or south. I love to stop by for a chat, I smile, I know, I am aware and I respect.
My feet are sore, my legs hurt when I lay flat in my little tent. I cannot just continue where I stopped on Nov 1st last year at the Mexican boarder. Even though I hiked quite a bit since then I feel way outta shape. A long distance hike is work, hard work. But a damn rewarding one. I love to be back outdoors, watching the sun coming up and setting, love being by myself and enjoy the heat and the breeze and traversing mountains and crossing valleys and I love that linear movement of going only and always forward on that narrow band of the trail. I love stopping by in small towns, check out burger places, have the time to sit, and talk, and read, and smile.
Being on the PCT is quite an experience, it feels the same like last year but the same time it’s a different one because I am a different one probably too.