444 Miles are completed as of today. My first month on the trail is already over.
So many things have happened that this will be a rather long blog entry even if I try to keep it short. First of all I ended my last blog entry with the statement that I will be off on my own again. Well guess what it was the three of us again. Gabriel, Li and me. The time we spent together felt like the first couple of days and we all felt like trying it again. 34 Miles or in other words two days later something unexpected happened. Li was done. Flying home. No hiking anymore. He decided he had enough. It was the weirdest feeling ever. We weren’t splitting again cause we didn’t enjoy hiking together like before. No, he was flying home, because he was done, we would never see him again on this trail. So here me and Gabriel were super confused. We continued hiking that day, but couldn’t help to feel out of place.
Me and Gabriel decided to stick together through the next snowy section that was coming up. It was supposed to be a difficult one. But after that we would hike seperately. A couple days later we hit the snow. Again everything changed and we, did not mean Gabriel and me. The both of us had met other hikers and in a trail town Gabriel decided to stick with them and I decided that I will summit the next Mountain with Justin.
So the night before summiting Mount Baden Powell there was a high wind advisory. Or as a normal person would say, it would be insanely windy and not enjoyable to spent the night in a tent. So we tried to find a rather sheltered spot. Which worked out and the others joined us.
The day of summiting the mountain Justin and me got up at 4 am. When my alarm started ringing I kinda was wondering if this would all be worth it. The wind was blowing like crazy my tent was frozen, I was tired and cold. But hey that’s part of it all so I got all motivated and ready.
By 5.30 am we got to the base of Mount Baden Powell, ready to summit it. People said there was snow on top. No one told me I’d be hiking 3000 feet straight up an ice covered mountain. But that was fine. I had enough time, it was early in the day and at this point I felt comfortable enough doing it. I still questioned what I was doing quite a bit while hiking up that hill. But at around 9 am I had summited Mount Baden Powell, during a high wind advisory and 20 degree Fahrenheit. Well here it was that feeling of just having conquered the world. Nothing could stop me now.
That feeling lasted for about 5 minutes until I realized I had to continue hiking up and down the next three summits while hiking over the ridges and doing another overall 1200 feet of elevation. I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about this, and I was wondering how I could be so stupid to think that once I got on top of that mountain getting down would be easy. Actually that was the much harder part.
By the time I got to the next summit after Baden Powell, I was done I needed food and a break and no snow. The footprints from hikers before us were leading directly under a tree. I was standing under the pine tree and one of the branches was in my way. I wasn’t up for dealing with it, while swearing at the tree I just kinda pushed my way through. Seems like an irrelevant detail and believe me I wish it would be as irrelevant as it seems.At around noon and on top of the final summit for the day I needed to eat and so we had our lunch break. While eating I realized something that simply put me in shock. I had lost my tent. I had lost my freaking tent. I was ready to have my first breakdown. Like the whole show, I was ready to cry and cry and cry a little more. But then I was thinking what good is that going to do? If you start crying right now your tears will freeze and that’ll actually really hurt and crying is not going to get you your tent back. So I sucked it up. There was no point in backtracking. It was too late in the day and the snow got sketchier and it would have simply put me in danger to hike back. So here I was ready for my first night Cowboycamping. No shelter no nothing. Just me and my sleeping bag. A couple hours later we made it to a spot with no snow. The temperatures weren’t exactly great but we found a spot were I would be rather sheltered, eventhough we were barely hitting temperatures above freezing and it wasn’t even night yet. I woke up and everything around me was frozen. As you can see I am not super excited about the whole situation. I wanted to Cowboycam ar some point, but I would have rather chosen that point on my own and not be forced to do it in those circumstances.
The next morning we started hiking again. I just needed to get to a lower elevation I didn’t wanna see snow anymore. Cowboycamping wouldn’t bother me if it would be nice outside. But doing it in the snow while it was super windy wasn’t exactly my definition of fun. After 21 miles we reached lower elevation. I was excited. And I had found a bench to sleep under. Little did I know that it would actually rain and snow on me that night, despite the bench. This sucked!
I knew if I’d make it further down there would be no snow until mile 702 and I would be in the desert again. So here I was ready to hike for a long day. Justin had left the campsite already and I was packing up my stuff. All of the sudden Justin comes back with Ninja. Ninja is a trailname. When you hike on trails you will get a trailname and that is what you will be called by. I have known Ninja for a couple of weeks by now and only know his trailname. Anyways…They both pull back into the campsite. And I was a little confused. Ninja Cowboycamps all nights. He does not carry a tent at all. So he looks at me and says ‚The past two nights were horrible for Cowboycamping, I bet you were really nice and warm in your tent‘. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear after just being rained on in my sleep… I told him that I lost my tent and I had been Cowboycamping too and that I am not happy with my current situation. He starts laughing ‚I know you lost your tent. I climbed Baden Powell a little later than you and your tent was hanging of a branch on a tree and here is your tent‘. I couldn’t believe it. So here was this guy that I barely knew and he decided to carry my tent through the snow and the sketchy section for 30 miles to give me my tent. I was so thankful and amazed by the kindness on this trail. This was simply amazing. Justin actually took a video of this whole conversation thats why he joined him hiking back to the campsite. I can not upload it, because off the internet connection.
So after this start to the day I was ready to crush my first 24 mile day. No snow, no sketchy terrain and I had my tent back. It felt great. And I had learned my lesson, never swear at mother nature while hiking. She’ll get you one way or another. One of the reasons I came out here is because I wanted this range of emotions and it is amazing to see how within one day multiple highs and lows can occur. There is just so much that can happen. Speaking of highs and lows, actually during my really great 24 mile day, I got the news that people had to be rescued of the mountain we just climbed and someone went missing. I am hiking in a high snow year. This comes with a lot of dangers, PCT hikers normally don’t have to face. Sketchy trail sections that carry snow turn into mountaineering routes. I always make sure I am hiking with someone experienced and I don’t overstep my confidence zone with what I am doing. I push myself to my limits but never above.
Now that there won’t be snow for about 250 miles we are all excited to see how that will work out. I am currently hiking by myself, but I kinda keep seeing Ninja and Justin multiple times everydays.