A day at sea

March 24.

Breakfast around 8.30am. After breakfast, I inquired at the reception desk to get an opportunity to visit the bridge. Due to the weather conditions, it is not clear whether this will be possible today.

Due to the weather, some of the areas of the ship remain closed and some shelves got wrapped up in the shop.

I spent some time sitting at the open deck in the wind and weather protected space, watching as we passed some oil rigs.

The weather later calmed down as we passed the Shetland Islands – beautiful view with the sun coming through the clouds. And I even got some internet reception from these British islands.

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I enjoyed the day at sea not doing much – free time to read up on Iceland, chill, taking some notes for the blog and listening to music.

Tomorrow morning we will come to the Faroe Islands where I plan to explore the island during the few hours that the ferry will stop there.

Onto the ferry

March 23.

I enjoyed the morning sun at Lokken beach – having my breakfast there in the van. Left around 10am towards the ferry harbor in Hirtshals. I stopped on the way to fill up the tank a last time before sailing to Iceland. Also used the opportunity with Wifi to update the blog.

Finding the ferry terminal was really easy – Hirtshals has a small harbor and following the Smyriline signs took me to the checkin. I was there around 12pm with the ferry scheduled to leave at 3pm. In my queue, cars with height between 1.9m and 2.5m were other vans and some offroad vehicles. I got into chatting with some other drivers during the wait. Parking on the ferry with mirrors folded up was so tight that I had trouble to get our the van with my pack.

On the ferry, I met again some of the drivers – a retired German guy traveling with his wife in a restored G class Mercedes with corresponding offroad trailer. He plans to leave the car on Iceland for a year or two and will fly in and out for his trips. He is a world traveler – and has another G class parked in Mongolia waiting for the next trips there in Asia.

James, a British guy traveling with a old Landrover. He is visiting for six weeks – as a professional sailor, he has this time now. He has been transferring sailing yachts all over the world – including a recent trip from Iceland to Norway by sailing boat.

And there is Louise, a German girl traveling with her restored VW T4 for two months in Iceland.

Had my pre booked dinner at 6pm – after realizing that the ship’s time is already on Iceland time, i.e. one timezone to the West. Went for the movie theatre at 8.30pm – finally a chance to see Bohemian Rhapsody. Great movie. The ship increased its rolling in the waves towards the evening – it was a kind of special effects for the movie.

Went to bed around 11pm – not easy to fall asleep since I was rolling back and forth in the bunkbed. Looking forward to tomorrow – a whole day at sea.

Into Denmark

March 22.

I headed out not too late and passed trough the rest of Northern Germany quickly. Stopped in Schleswig-Holstein, the most Northern state, in the little village Fleckeby where I grew up.

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When they write plattdeutsch (local dialect) on the signs… you know you are really North 🙂

That was also an opportunity to give it a try with the drone – thank you Lars for borrowing this gadget!

This is the low resolution video that is captured directly on the phone during flight. Not too spectacular, but I am excited to try this in Iceland vastness.

I continued through Denmark to the town of Løkken at the sea.

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Tomorrow is just about 1h drive left to the ferry terminal.

Going North – To Iceland!

March 21.

Since I returned from the trip through Spain and Portugal, I have been looking forward to the next journey. The idea has been growing to discover Iceland – right now, at the end of winter. I will be driving about 1200km to Hirtshals in Denmark and take the ferry from there to Iceland. I plan to drive the ring road around the Island. I expect wide and open landscapes, lots of snowy hills and mountains, glaciers, waterfalls… and of course hotpots to soak in!

I left around 2pm, made good progress driving North through Germany. I made about 500km until 7pm. Found a nice remote spot for the van next to a small lake for the night.
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Checking the Iceland weather on their very useful Vegagerdin app, the road conditions have turned bad within the last hours.

 

The red roads are closed for traffic due to weather conditions. While it is normal that the mountain roads in the middle of the island are closed in winter, the once marked with the yellow bubble are actually part of the popular ring road.

I am really excited to see how the weather turns out once I arrive in Iceland. The ferry going via Faroer Islands is nearly a 3 days trip.

I came a long way…

Sept 24.

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Northern Terminus – Pacific Crest Trail – Sept 24 2018

I came a long way. 2650 miles and more than 150 days later, I have completed my journey on the Pacific Crest Trail on Sept 24th!

I am happy, relieved, proud, excited… and haven’t fully understood yet that the hiking has really come to an end.

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Southern Terminus (Mexican Border) April 21 2018 / Northern Terminus (Canadian Border) Sept 24 2018

Hiking the PCT meant freedom and new encounters every day. I got used to beautiful sunsets, landscapes that take your breath away. It was a pleasure to meet all these amazing people on trail – especially Cactass, Tinkle and Spirit Kick.

Thanks to my family, friends and former colleagues for their support and encouragement during the last months.

The last two weeks in Washington were the biggest challenge during the hike. We got soaked in heavy rain several times (where also my phone died), had snow several times. We were at a point to turn back and leave the trail due to the weather and limited food. But the weather changed and the sun dried our gear and motivated us to push on.

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin”

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PS: I will be updating the blog for the missing weeks in Washington with amazing photos during the next days…

Day 134 – From tentsite to Trout Lake, mile 2229

Sept 1.

The alarm went off as usual at 6.15am. As we had feared, the tentsite had had a lot of humidity from the vegetation surrounding us over night. So in the inside of my tent was wet from condensation that had also settled on my sleeping bag. And it was very cold – a wet cold.

Slow start, we were still chewing our breakfast at dawn when Spirit Kick walked by, not recognizing us in the red down jackets.

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Started walking with sleeping underwear and my hoodie as well as the down jacket and gloves on… But got warmer maybe 30min later. Caught up with Spirit Kick again a bit later and caught up on the latest. We hiked for a good part together chatting.

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Refilled some water and discussed the hitching options into Trout Lake. One road just 10 miles from our tentsite with very little traffic and a second road another 5 miles and 1500 feet altitude later with a bit more traffic and a potential shuttle into town.

We gave it 15min at the first road that we hit around 12pm – but with no cars at all, we moved on.

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Mount Adams – View from Trout Lake

At 2pm at the crossing, Tinkle was quickly lucky and stopped a ride. There was only space for two – Spirit Kick took the ride together with another hiker. Shortly later Tinkle got us the next car. Bill – a friendly older guy who has been living around Trout Lake for 50 years. Bill is a dog lover. As we passed through the neighborhood, he stopped from time to time. Dogs would run up recognizing his car – and he threw some goodies out for them.

Trout Lake is a small community. We went through our town duties quickly. Met up with Spirit Kick again, had some burgers, moved on to the grocery store that also held our resupply packages and new shoes for me. We had trouble finding the packages… we looked again and again. I found again a package addressed to another hiker Florian Eckert. I never met him, but had seen packages for him along the trail again and again.

When we looked one more time, we got our packages!

 

While there was free camping in the yard of the grocery store, we opted for the village campground – it had decent showers! After pitching our three tents, we went one by one to have the shower. Tinkle attracted some trail magic – coming back from the shower, we were greeted by water melon, hot dogs and more snacks.

Cleaned up and well fed, falling asleep at 9pm.

Day 133 – From tentsite to tentsite, mile 2213

Aug 31.

Got a little earlier start at 7.30am. The vertical profile looked a bit easier for today. With weather still decent, we made it to the 2200 miles marker around noon.

We took our lunch break at Blue Lake. The clouds turned darker and the wind was cold – it was not easy to find a protected spot to lay down for a while. The lake however was popular with day hikers. It was really icy, we cut our break short and moved on.

Water at Bear Lake some miles later. And we had so much blueberries today.

With many day hikers around, we ran into two mothers with 4 kids around 5pm. With the kids getting tired, they were getting desperate to find a campsite. We pointed them into the requested direction and moved on.

We had amazing views of Mt Adams just before pitching the tents around 7.15pm.

Had two dinners – hungry from the cold wind… and I need the energy.