Waiting out the Storms in the Sierra

Waiting out the Storms in the Sierra

The weather in the Sierra is simple a mess this year.I am in California at the end of May and it is snowing pretty much everywhere on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Sierra continues to get dumped in feet of fresh snow. Pretty much everyone I know decided to skip up north towards Oregon to be able to continue hiking. Well they got up there and the trail is also covered in snow. After the first 700 miles, pretty much up to the Canadian boarder there is nothing but snow on the trail. Me and some other hikers decided to wait out the storms in the Sierra. Flipping up north still does not seem like an option. At this point I attempted hiking back into the Sierra twice. The night before heading back up Kearsage pass the first time, the wind was apparently blowing at 40 – 50 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 80 miles per hour. So some of us ended up sleeping in pit toilets at the trailhead that night, cause we knew our tents would break in that kind of wind. The next morning we were post holing knee deep in fresh snow and once we stopped someone’s weather forecast showed a new storm rolling in for the next day. So we turned around and came back down. A couple days later me and another group tried to head back up. Overall 16 hikers tried to get over the pass that would lead us back on trail that day. Three miles into the hike, none of us could feel their face, feet or fingers anymore. We hiked in white-out conditions, in a windchill of -9 degree Fahrenheit (-23°C). We had to bail again. Out of the 16 hikers, 14 bailed that day. Two continued. One of them turned around a day later, describing it as the worst 30 hours of his life. We all knew we made the right decision.After we spent a night in a motel, some of us decided to do a work for stay. So I currently am working on a Lavender Farm, which is an awesome experience.
But I do have to admit that I can’t fully enjoy it, because all I wanna do is hike. Furthermore I am on a time limit due to my Visa. It feels like I am slowly starting to go insane over here. I hiked 80 miles in the last three weeks. The weather at one point has to clear up and all of this will soon be forgotten, but for now I suppose I have to deal with my situation and wait it out.After spending time at the lavender farm, we spent one night in the Alabama Hills which is an absolutely amazing place.Today we are going back up to the trailhead, this is my third attempt of getting back into the Sierra and this time it it works out. The next stretch will be 120 miles long and climbs over 6 or 7 passes overall. My pack is even heavier than it was on the last stretch. I am super excited to start hiking again, yet I also have a lot of respect for the next stretch. I will be hiking in a group of five and I really enjoy being around all of the people in that group. So it feels like that is something that will help to even make the toughest stretches rather enjoyable.

2 Gedanken zu „Waiting out the Storms in the Sierra

  1. Hallo Johanna,
    ich bin über Artikel in RP und NRZ auf Deinen Blog gestoßen und freue mich sehr über die Berichte und Fotos. Hoffentlich sind die Bedingungen inzwischen etwas besser und Du kommt gut voran. Ich wünsche Dir viel Glück auf deinem Weg!

    1. Hallo Daniel,
      Danke! Glücklicherweise scheint jetzt auch langsam in der Sierra zumindest der Frühling anzukommen und ich konnte den nächsten Abschnitt in den letzten neun Tagen endlich wandern.

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