John Muir Trail – 1 Day before

July 25.

Thanks to the jet lag, I woke up rather early and enjoyed a quiet morning in the motel parking lot.

For those in Germany suffering from the current heatwave – it’s just the same here, around 40 degrees Celsius.

I am looking forward to getting into the Sierra and to 10000 feet / 3000m where the air is not only cooler but a bit cleaner than around Los Angeles.

Spent the day shopping for snacks at a 711 and waiting for my Eastern Sierra Transit bus at 2pm. The motel kept the pool locked – a bit disappointing.

But the day got much better. At the bus stop I ran into Nick, a hiker from Missouri. He is about the hit the High Sierra Trail. We will be entering the wilderness via the same trail head tomorrow – what a nice coincidence. We spent the long bus ride to Lone Pine chatting about hiking. He gave me the idea to call the visitor center to ask for my permit to be stored for late pickup tonight. That worked out nice – thanks Nick!

Coincidence got bigger – he had actually recently visited a friend in Switzerland and seen the same town that I will be moving into after this hike. World is really small. 😜

The Sierras seen from the Lone Pine hostel

Did some last gear preparations (fuel, dry bag and water filter replacement) and started the self hydration process that is so critical to be conducted carefully before every hike (got wasted on beer with Nick). 😝

That made the gear shakedown we did with two JMT hikers we met in the hostel even more fun.

The weather might get interesting – there is a chance of thunderstorms tomorrow at lunchtime when I will be on trail already.

Tomorrow… Can’t wait! 😍

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.

Days 129 and 130 – Zero Days in Cascade Locks

Aug 27 and 28.

Food. Resupply shopping. Getting my gear ready for Washington. Shipping resupply boxes. And rest. So I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Special thanks to Helen and Al – the couple from Oregon had spent time last year at Tinkle’s family’s bed and breakfast in Switzerland. They got friendly with the family and offered help for Tinkle’s upcoming PCT hike. They were so kind and drove us to Portland for shopping and invited us for lunch. Thank you! That made our preparations for Washington so much easier – and I really enjoyed meeting you!

Day 128 – From tentsite to Cascade Locks, mile 2144

Aug 26.

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It was still light rain when I woke up with first light. It was comfortably enough in the tent, but the thought of getting out into the rain, having to hike 28 miles through the rain to make it to Cascade Locks was not the most attractive one…

So we stayed in our tents during breakfast, hoping for the rain to stop. At least it changed to just a drizzle when we finally got out and packed our tents. While my tent had held up well during the night, I realized that I had pitched it in a small ditch last night. Water had collected right under the tent and pushed through the floor into the tent. I did not have too much water inside, but the tent itself was soaked with water and mud.

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Another hiker’s tent after a night of rain

Still I had to pack it and get everything into my pack. We started hiking with rain gear – in my case just my thin wind/rain jacket and short pants and the pack protected by a rain cover.

With 28 miles to go and cold wind and continuing rain, we reduced the breaks to a minimum. It took maybe 30 minutes to get my feet inside the Salomon Ultra X shoes soaking wet.

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The clouded sky stayed dark the whole day – walking through the dark forest foggy from low hanging clouds was really special. A new experience after 4 months good weather on trail. But thruhiking can not just mean good weather hiking I guess…

Despite being wet and cold in the beginning, I enjoyed the experience.

There were so many blueberry bushes along the trail. Eating the ripe blueberries washed by the rain was delicious… The only way I want to eat blueberries from now on… 😁

The rain finally stopped and with hiking fast, I was able to get warm even with just the thin rain gear I had. The thought of getting my better weather gear from a box shipped by my good friend Steven to Cascade Locks was helping.

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The last few miles offered views onto Cascade Locks.

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Today would be the last hiking day in Oregon. The PCT famous Bridge of Gods in Cascade Locks leads into Washington, the last chapter of my PCT journey. It was an amazing last hiking day that Oregon provided. Short before Cascade Locks, I saw a bear cub, a snake and a group of deer – as if the animals were wishing a farewell…

We made it around 7.45pm into Cascade Locks. Two rest days (zero miles days) are planned. Good to dry the gear and get some rest before heading into Washington.

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Bridge of Gods in Cascade Locks at a rainy night

Day 120 – From Bobby Lake to Cliff Lake, mile 1942

Aug 18.

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Cold morning, so we got a bit later start at 7.15am. Bobby Lake offered spectacular views with the rising of the sun.

We saw signs from an ultra trail run (100km) and ran into a station shortly after. We chatted with the people there and got some trail magic… Got some snacks and moved on.

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I love banana

We took water at 7 miles in at Charlton lake but continued on without break. We needed to reduce our breaks to make more miles. We planned to filter in another two miles where cellphone reception was expected. We did some online ordering for gear replacement at Amazon and REI.

Today we ran into Pinecone, Medicine Man and Sharpshooter a couple of times.

Next stop at Stormy Lake at 2.15pm. Took a bath and thoroughly washed, had lunch and relaxed.

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Stormy Lake – Perfect for swimming

Just before leaving, Crumbs showed up. Some smalltalk, then we left.

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Arrived at a tentsite above Cliff Lake at 7.15pm. Pitched the tents, got dinner and slept before nightfall.

Day 119 – From Shelter Cove to Bobby Lake, mile 1915

Aug 17.

Slept long and well at the Shelter Cove campground, the night was comfortably cool. But I realized that my sleeping pad is loosing air… again. I had it replaced just before the Sierra and now it was loosing air again. Probably not a puncture but maybe a failure of the valve – just in the early morning I hit the floor. Will try to get it replaced again – hope Thermarest / Cascade Designs is again customer friendly.

Went for breakfast around 8.30am. We were hanging out a bit longer, using internet, having snacks and another shower. Chatted with Medicine Man, Sharpshooter and Pinecone – they have also been hiking as a group for long time and we ran into them again and again. Left Shelter Cove finally around 1.30pm.

A 1000 feet climb was waiting, but with the short hiking day yesterday and today’s late start, the hiking went well. We had missed the 1900 miles marker, so we created our own.

Made use of a water cache at mile 1913.

Pitched the tents at Bobby Lake at mile 1915 around 7pm.

Days 110, 111 – Nero and Zero day in Ashland

Aug 8. and 9.

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With just 6 miles left and leaving at 6am, made it to the highway before 8am. Crumbs and I were walking together to the the highway and met another hiker from Switzerland who had already called a trail angel for a ride. We were lucky – with basically no waiting time, we got into Ashland!

I went to the motel where Cactass and Tinkle were sharing a room with three other hikers. My early arrival was a surprise and being reunited was really nice! But it also meant good bye again soon after! Cactass is attending some weddings in September and for that, she decided to skip forward a couple of days to Crater lake.

With Cactass gone, we spent the rest of town time shopping for food, eating and resting. I used the life long Darn Tough socks warranty the first time and exchanged a pair with holes with a new one in the Mountain Provisions shop in Ashland.

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It was also time for my forth pair of shoes:

  • First was Salomon X Ultra Mid, 0-700 miles
  • Second Lowa Camino Leather for the Sierras, 700-1100 miles
  • Third Salomon X Ultra 1100-1700
  • Fourth Salomon X Ultra 1700-?

The smoke situation from the forest fires is quite bad, especially around Ashland.

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You see many people with filter masks on their faces on the streets – we will check out a local hardware store before hitting the trail later.