Day 75 – From Tentsite to Small Sherrold Lake, mile 1049

July 4.

Started hiking at 7.20am.

Short break for an energy bar in a meadow full of flowers around 10.30am.

Lunch break at 12pm with Tinkle but without Cactass – she wants to push further. Wolf Creek at mile 1039.

Plan is to camp at mile 1049 Small Sherrold Lake – that would make it a 21 miles day – the first 20+ since entering the Sierra about a month ago. But I start feeling the pressure… Nearly three months on trail, but the midpoint still is 200+ miles out. Still believing in the Oregon wonder… πŸ˜‰ After the midpoint at 1325 miles, many hikers increased their mileage significantly due to the flat land in Northern California and Oregon…

Caught up with Cactass. We heard about trail magic at Ebbots pass. Made it there around 5.30pm. And what a trail magic! Despite of July 4th, a nice couple offered hot dogs, sodas, beer, fruit, snacks…. Best trail magic I had on trail!

With the trail angels – Thank you so much!

They also had some magic like energy bars, gear, even new socks sponsored by SNAC – thanks for the merino socks!

Had two beers there and another one to go.. our planned camp site was just another half mile out.

A nice evening with bellies full of magic, beers and sparklers for July 4th!

Day 45 – From Manter Creek to Kennedy Meadows, mile 702

June 4. Slept pretty well. It had cooled down during the night, that helped with the sleep.

Started walking at 6am… Motivated to make it to Kennedy Meadows by 10am and with that in time for breakfast. The trail followed a river… The sweet sound of running water accompanied us on the last steps towards Kennedy Meadows. With that also the anticipation of having creeks, rivers and lakes around you for the next section, the High Sierra.

Being able to wash yourself every day… Do some laundry, wash the dishes… 😁

700 miles marker
Oh yes. 700 miles done. And so excited to move on to the Sierra.

After the 700 miles marker, it was just a couple of miles to Kennedy Meadows and the General Store there.

Will be camping here at the Kennedy Meadows General Store for a night or two.

Light boots for the desert (left), leather boots for the Sierra and beyond (right).

Time to prepare the gear for the Sierra, fill the bear canister… And give my feet some rest.

Day 43 – From Lake Isabella to Spanish Needle creek, mile 669

June 2.

Leaving Kern Motel, Lake Isabella
Nelda’s Diner

Breakfast at Nelda’s Diner. Tinkle had found a trail angel (Mariann) to pick us up right at the diner at 8.30am to go back to the trail head at Walker Pass.

Took two Gatorades from the trail magic at the trail head. Started walking 9.30am.

Lots of climbing. Really hot day. There was talk about a heatwave with temperatures in the high 30s Celsius.

At 5pm, when getting water, everyone was tired from the heat, so we went an early end of the day.

When pitching my tent, I realized that one of the guy lines nearly had ripped, it must have been scratching at a rock when I had pitched it last time. Kind of disappointing. The guy line is long enough to continue using it… But I wished they would have used a bit robust material for the guy lines.

Day 40 – Landers Campground to Bird Spring Pass, mile 631

May 30. Got an good start, hit the trail at 6am. Slept super good. Second night in the new tent… Maybe it was the early time to go to bed…

The new tent is awesome. Actually bigger inside than the MSR. Pitching it was easy so far.

Rock formations in the morning sun

Today would be a day where we would be fully relying on water caches. There was only one off trail spring in case of emergency.

Hot day with soft sandy trail – not much shade today.

Only Joshua trees provide some shade

Carried two liters only, first stop after 7 miles at the the next water cache at mile 616. Took three liters from there for the 15 miles to the next water cache and planned tentsite for today at Bird Spring pass, mile 631.

At mile 621.5 is the 1000 KM marker… Now that’s an achievement… πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜œ

1000km. #metricsystemrules

Lunch break at mile 622, combined with longer siesta. Limited shade, everyone tries to hide under a Joshua tree.

Sitting under a Joshua tree

Album of today: The Joshua Tree – U2

Bird Spring pass was very exposed in the wind. We were glad to see that there was sufficient water in the cache, bit finding a protected spot for the tents would not be easy.

I pitched mine at a not so optimal spot… The ground was really soft and the wind was strong. I tried to give additional hold for the stakes with several rocks… But not too much improvement. The tent kept flapping in the wind and I would have very little sleep that night.

Day 38 – Tehachapi to tentsite, mile 586

May 28. Enjoyed a last time the continental breakfast in the hotel. I called the trail angels Jeff and Kerry from the other day and they agreed to pick all 6 of us up at the hotel at 8.30am and get us to the trailhead at highway 85. We started walking around 9am.

Trees were providing shade from time to time. A welcoming break from the heat.

At lunch break, a Don Quixote challenged one of the many generators of the wind park we passed.

Check second windmill from the right

Two breaks before coming to the water at 17 miles. Many hikers, all needing lots of water. Last water in another 18 miles.

Water Filtering Get Together

It was already close to 6pm, so we voted to just go 2.5 more miles and dry camp around mile 586, even if that would make it not a 20 mile day.

Pitched my new tent for the first time. I love it.

First pitch – ZPacks Duplex
Yes, the bathtub is supposed to be looking like this

First Month Recap

May 27

Here I am in Tehachapi at mile 558 on the Pacific Crest Trail. 37 days on trail, more than 20% of the trail miles done – lots of great impressions and encounters. I am happy to share my recap.

My last recap has been a while. Keeping up the daily blogging gets difficult from time to time. Hiking days get longer, so finding time between hiking and eating and sleeping is not always easy. Please bear with me if some of the daily posts get shorter and shorter. I do this mainly for myself to remember this amazing time.

Right now, I am sitting at a computer in the Holiday Inn Express in Tehachapi, enjoying my second day off trail in a row.

Body

Doing great. I am taking two zero days in Tehachapi and in contrast to the last day off in Wrightwood, I am really glad for the break. While my cold seems to be gone for good, I had a blister at each heel developing during the last days. I want to let them heal and just enjoy doing nothing and having real food. I am a bit sore everywhere, but besides that, I am really doing well.

We did several 20+ miles days in a row and it feels sustainable. Starting early, we did two times 17 miles before 1pm. Everything below 20 is considered a short day now… πŸ™‚

img_20180523_132823_187

Talking about distance and speed… I am still carrying my Withings Go Stepcounter. While I thought I lost it around Scissors Crossing, I found it days later at the bottom of my pack. It took quite exactly one month (April 21st to May 20th) for the first 1 million steps on the PCT. Walking for hours every day, my thoughts came up with this comparison: In my former office job, I averaged 3000-5000 steps a day. With 4000 steps a day, it would take me 250 days at the office to walk these 1 million steps…

Soul

The last weeks were great. Awesome views, so much laughter on trail. Great people. Good times. Special shout out goes to Oldtimer, he is such a cool guy. Hope I will run into you again. Thanks for the uplifting talks and your perspective. And Tinkle really likes her trail name. And the group has grown, with Excel and Deadzone we are now US, Swiss, British, New Zealandish and German. Also Josh and Daisy Dukes join the team from time to time.

I think I listen more to music if a day gets long or the uphill is too strenuous. After my very first rattlesnake encounter, I am more relaxed now listening to music even with both ear buds in.

Gear

As you use your gear daily, you figure things out. Everything has its place inside the pack, inside my pockets… In Wrightwood, I dropped two pairs of socks into a hikerbox since I did not use them. Yesterday was a big day in terms of gear… I finally received my ZPacks Duplex tent to replace my MSR Hubba Hubba. Both are two person tents, but the ZPacks just weighs 600 grams in comparison to 1.7 kg of the MSR.

cof

Now is the time to make up my mind with which gear I will go into the Sierra. There is just 150 more miles in the desert section. After that is Kennedy Meadows, then the altitude will go into the 10000+ feet area with some snow waiting in the Sierra. Besides the mandatory bear canister, I have my Lowa leather boots waiting at my friend Steven’s place to be shipped to Kennedy Meadows. And the NeoAir pad that was generously replaced by Cascade Designs.

Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail does not disappoint. For over a month now, it was been offering so much different landscapes and perspectives. Weather was really good and the change between dry sections, meadows and miles with trees keep things interesting.

I like hiking in higher altitudes for the cooler air and potentially more shade from the trees. The desert section is just another 150 miles. Then the High Sierra will begin and with that also the John Muir Trail (its 211 miles are for 90% identical with the PCT). I am very excited to get back into the Sierra. So many good memories on my JMT through hike in 2016. Greetings to the 2016 Starburst Team. πŸ™‚

What did I learn so far?

Tempus fugit. Unbelievable – I am already hiking for more than a month.

With a bit of luck regarding the weather, the desert isn’t all that difficult.

Water is still precious.

It’s all about perspective.

It’s not really that far to walk up to the horizon.

Be a hero, take a zero.

What’s next?

In 7-10 days, I should have completed the desert section. Excited about the Sierra. No more worries about water availability. The trail will become a bit more technical. Looking forward to that.

Only the one who walks his own way can’t be overtaken.

Marlon Brando

Day 12 – Zero Day at Idyllwild

Yes, already another resting day 😁. I didn’t really need one, but when I woke up today in a big and warm bed around 730am, a look from the window was all I needed to justify the break:

Snow in Idyllwild

I am still in the desert section, but at 5300 feet. Snow fell overnight, temperatures were around freezing.

Rotem was cooking a Israeli breakfast for the group – thank you! I optimized my gear a bit. My blow up sleeping pad was loosing air every night, so I sent it back to Cascade Designs for warranty repair. I got a foam sleeping pad instead (ZLite) – no need to blow up, no risks poking holes, great for quick lunch breaks… But only sleeping on the back for now. I also got myself a super light and thin wind/rain jacket – Patagonia Houdini, just 100 gram!

Did my food planning for the next five days.

Balanced diet if dry frozen meals, tortillas with peanut butter or tuna, bars

Tomorrow morning I plan to hike up from here at 5300 feet to the PCT at 8000 feet. Following the PCT for 2 miles, there will be a junction at 9000 feet where I will decide to climb to San Jacinto peak at 10800 feet or continue on the PCT. Since I skipped some miles to the snow today, I should have the time. I will decide on the trail tomorrow based on the weather.

My pack is packed and ready to go… I am excited to continue my journey. Hanging out at the coffee house now after getting my first head shave since I started hiking.

Large cappuccino and scone

Tonight probably all hikers will meet at the town cinema – Avengers for just 5USD!

Idyllwild Rustic Theatre