Iceland Day 16 – Djupivogour, Egilsstadir, Ferry from Seydisfjoerdur – Good bye Iceland

April 10.

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Another walk at the shore in the morning to say goodbye to the seal, but unfortunately it didn’t show up again.

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Continuing East, I stopped around lunch time at the small town of Djupivogour, to get coffee and cake. Like at many places in Iceland, you get free table water as well as free refills on coffee – so nice!

Arriving at Egilsstadir really made clear to me that my round trip on Iceland was coming to an end. This was the first town stop I did after arriving with the ferry. Now it was my last stop to shop for some snacks for the 3 days ferry ride via Faroe to Denmark. The Bonus supermarket there is the first and last supermarket stop on Iceland probably for many who come by ferry.

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I drove the last 30min to the ferry terminal at Seydisfjoerdur through fog and light snowfall. Iceland really showed how true this saying is: If you do not like the weather on Iceland, just wait 5 minutes.

Checked in at the ferry at 5.45pm, I was on board with my van shortly later. I looked like the ferry would be quite empty again – besides a handful of cars, a number of buses and container trailers were loading. I expected to leave at 8pm – surprisingly the ship left 7pm. The ship schedule followed the official ship time which is Faroe time, so one hour ahead of Iceland now. Lucky me I was early enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you Iceland! You rough beauty. Land of fire and ice, sunshine, snow and rain and storm, of solitude in the North and mass tourism in the South.

I came looking for a wide open country and solitude, what I found was so much more. So much contrast, constant change. I met a number of inspiring people. I lost my heart here. Tears of joy and goodbye. I will come back.

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I came a long way – and now?

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Well, I completed my thruhike of the Pacific Crest Trail. And I am f*cking proud of it. One item of my bucket list: checked. ๐Ÿ™‚ I learned what it means to actually live your dream.

When I think about what I have achieved, it puts a smile on my face. Always. And now being back in civilization for almost three weeks, there were enough opportunities to talk to other people about the hike. For the previous 5 months on trail, I was surrounded by thruhikers. So everyone was aiming to complete a 2650 miles journey – a shared dream, the new normal. You could also say everyone shared a good amount of craziness. Now during my last three weeks traveling the US, I got all kinds of positive feedback – from amazed to disbelief. It is good to put it into perspective.

What’s next?

My original plan was to spend some days eating, showering and sleeping in Vancouver and Portland. Catch up on the blogging. Then ride a motorbike from Portland to Los Angeles, following the PCT respectively the resupply towns as much as possible. Continue blogging. And a week at the beach or so.  Then back to Germany. Continue doing what I love… Life is just too short and precious to not continuously work on your bucket list.

The motorbike tour turned into a road trip by car due to weather and ridiculous rental prices. And the blogging… well, I will catch up on that… ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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…

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Pacific Crest Trail Hike – 2nd Week Recap

Here I am in Cabazon, a few miles off trail from mile 209 of the Pacific Crest Trail. 15 days on trail – time for my weekly recap.

200 miles marker

Body

Doing good with feet and legs. I feel like a caught a small cold during the cold days with snow in Idyllwild. In general – the temperature changes the last days were extreme. Two days ago, it was about freezing temperature when camping at 8500 feet altitude. Today in Cabazon, it’s 35 degree Celsius/95 Fahrenheit.

Looking at the average daily miles, it looks like I am below 15, resulting from the unplanned stop in Idyllwild waiting out the snow. Yesterday was my first 20+ miles/32 km day, so more is possible.

Soul

The second week was tougher than the first. Taking the extra break due to weather… I felt a bit guilty. Suddenly it felt more like a vacation than hiking the PCT. Maybe hiking the PCT should feel like vacation? ๐Ÿ˜‚
We were sharing a cabin in Idyllwild with 4-8 hikers. Felt like living at student dorm – cooking together, music, movies. That was a good time.

Family dinner ๐Ÿ˜‚

On the days that I was hiking, I actually found a bit more time for myself.

Blogging in the mountains

The hiker bubble around me keeps changing. Meeting a nice couple from Switzerland. Some hikers tracked back to walk the fire closure detour around Idyllwild that I skipped due to the snow. Several took longer breaks to heal their injuries. Again many kind people along trail. Thank you especially to Addison’s mom! I am still working on accepting all that kindness and letting go.

On top of Mt San Jacinto – 10800 feet
My first rattlesnake at mile 197

Gear

Still room for improvement. With the cold days in Idyllwild, I got a wind/rain jacket from Patagonia with just 100gram weight – Houdini. I love it. Another change was a sleeping pad. Since my NeoAir pad kept loosing air, I changed to a super durable foam pad ZLite Sol. It’s great for breaks during the day… And no more blowing up the pad at night time. Sleeping comfort is ok, I sleep on my back most of the time. The NeoAir is at Cascade Designs for repair. I expect it back before I hit the Sierra probably mid of June.

Trail

Wow. I didn’t expect so much different landscapes in the South Californian desert section. The snow in Idyllwild… The climb on Mt San Jacinto. That felt like the Sierra already. It is really beautiful out here. I am curious about the next section to Big Bear and beyond.

What did I learn so far?

Respect the weather.

Water is precious.

Take it slow. Don’t get injured.

You need less than you think. No, even less than that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s okay to enjoy some time off.

What’s next?

In about three days, I should have completed about 265 miles and with that 10 percent of the trail. I try to worry less – less about challenges of the future, more focused about today and maybe tomorrow’s next water stop.

Even with a perfect plan, there will always be something that you can’t control.

Life is for living.