JMT II – day 3: Thunder in my soul

aka PCT day 53 – June 11th 2015: Upper Cathedral Lake – Tuolumne Meadows – Lyell Canyon – Lake underneath Donahue Pass, 15-16 ml

Lyellcanyon7Bad sleep. So tired. Condensation. Everything damp. But the sky is clear. My heart weeps walking over the sandy patch of soil next to Cathedral Peak where I first met MG and TAW two years ago. I wanna sit down and cry but I walk on, down to Tuolumne.
The trees breath their damp breath into the warmer getting air. It’s beautiful. We have breakfast at the grill but it’s frikkin not worth the money. My food is cold and not well cooked.
A lady who can’t finish her plate gives us her left overs. I feel like we’re treated as homeless people, but I know she just wants to be kind to us. She says she always feels sorry for us hikers. Poor lady, how would she know nature is our home and maybe she should rather feel sorry for those millions of people caught in cities, fulltime jobs and unhappy relationships.
We do a quick resupply in the tiny store and then head on towards Lyell Canyon.

Continue reading

JMT II – day 2: ‘Medicine walk’ up Sunrise Mountain

aka PCT day 52, June 10th 2015: LYV- Upper Cathedral Lake – 12-13 ml

forgot I'm a catIt’s 6:30am already when we get up. The clouds are still hanging low but a few ‘blue holes’ are in the sky. I’m relaxed. I’m on the JMT. No need to rush. I’m on the land that captured my heart. I wanna go slow.

We hike back up towards the Clouds Rest / Half Dome Junction and this time we go right, following the JMT. This is the place where I hugged Dave and Gordon, my trail angels who saved me from the mountain lion two years ago, goodbye.

Today I’ll walk my medicine walk. This path in the present connects my path in the past and my path in the future. Every step I take is memory, is hope, is prayer. Today all I do, all I think, is a prayer.
And then, while walking, I notice something has changed. A part of the land that used to be green, full of trees, is burned down. Burned land. So many lessons to learn from the burned land. New life is bursting with green and colors along the creek. Sometimes things have to die, so new life can be born.

Continue reading

JMT II – day 1

 aka PCT day 51 – June 9th 2015: Happy Isles – Top of Half Dome – Little Yosemite Valley

We wake up early. Enough with being lazy (o it’s been wonderful though!!!)! It’s time to rock some more trail! JMT the second. Here we goooooo!

Together with Trisha and Spencer from Toronto (who we’ve been sharing the campsite with) we take the shuttle till Happy Isles. They’ll go up the Half Dome cables too today. I redo the picture I took 2 years ago at the mileage sign and then we hike up the JMT while they choose to go up following the Mist Trail. (HQ and I both hiked the Mist Trail before, so we go with the easy peasy JMT outta the Valley this time.)  Man it’s a smooth climb up towards Little Yosemite Valley. Much easier than I remember. Ha I didn’t have these awesome PCT legs two years ago! In no time we’re in LYV. We eat our sandwich plus tons of nutella, put up our tent and then hike on towards Half Dome. Clouds are hanging low. It feels like thunderstorms are in the air. I walk up the path towards the Clouds Rest / Half Dome junction for the 3rd time in my life and am flooded with memories. First time I walked here was the day before my mountain lion night at the foot of Sunrise Mountain. The second time after that night. And I can tell you… Down came another woman from that mountain. And now… here I am again. Who am I now? What is waiting for me?

Continue reading

Strong legs and happy hearts

It’s June eighteenth. Day 10 on the John Muir Trail. We hike down Muir Pass. Yesterday we camped at Mc Clure Meadow, watched the setting sun color the mountains in red, orange and pink. A group of deer grazing just a few meters away. Perfect!
The downclimb of Muir Pass southbound is the way I remember it… a bitch… beautiful but still… A bitch. I told you so I say to HQ. Ya but I didn’t expect thís he replies. We curse while we stumble our way down… It’s cursing with a smile on our faces. We’ve gotten fast though. I’m almost twice as fast as when I hiked the same path two years ago. Does it matter? I guess not. My ego do is kinda pleased. My hips are not. They don’t like the Sierra. They hurt. So instead of going fast I try to be disciplined in going slow. I’m not too good at it. Society has thaught me differently. Time is money, fast is good, higher, better, more more more. Maybe we should start learning and teaching ‘going slow’. Wouldn’t that be the best thing to teach our kids? To slow down, to see, to smell, to breath, to hear, to listen to the voices of their heart? It’s not easy in times like these. But it’s important. I think it’s a key to happiness (just like gratitude)!
We have seen a lot of unhappy PCT-hiker faces lately. Grumpy faces hiding behind growing beards… rushing by… running from A to B… from somewhere to nowhere… from lost till found?
Continue reading

Catwoman – The story of my trailname

O nooooo… not again!!! I hear you I hear you! I won’t go through the mountain lion story again. I’ve written enough about it. It’s time to move on. Except for the part that my trailname CATWOMAN results out of it.
I love my trailname. It’s who I am. I couldn’t think of a name suiting me better and it always feels kinda strange to me when someone contacts me and calls me by my other name.
Some of my readers might not be familiar with the trailname tradition so let me explain it a bit. I actually don’t know the official rules… As far as I know there are several “rules” (or whatever you wanna call them), but I guess you can’t call them “official”.
So… There’s a tradition in the hiker scene that a hiker gets a trailname somewhere sometime along the trail. The way I see it that name should result out of a situation on trail (maybe something that happened to you, something funny or stupid you did), out of the way you behave, react, something that defines you. Now some “rules” say you can’t choose your own name and you are not allowed to refuse a name given to you. Some say you gotta stick with that name; once you get it you can’t change it. Some say the opposite… I don’t really care what the rules are here but I do think it’s awesome when a trailname results from a situation/your characteristics on trail, and when you get named by someone else.
Getting a trailname feels a bit like a “welcome to the community”-thing. You now are a real hiker. “From now on thou shall be named xxx and thou shall dwell in the temples of nature!”

Continue reading

Trailmelancholy

Three days ago I suffered from an acute case of trailmelancholy and trailfamily longing. It just came over me when I started preparing my PCT journal, drawing the route of the PCT on to the cover page. I had done the same thing with my JMT journal two years ago.
So three days ago I took out my JMT journal to compare and then…. BAMN… DAMN…I made a mistake. I opened my journal and I started reading. From beginning to end. I was laughing and fighting back my tears at the same time.
I came to the last page of my journal and found an entry I couldn’t recall publishing here on my blog. First I didn’t understand why I hadn’t published it, but then I read it through and I understood. By the time I published my last traildays here on my blog it was december 2013. 3 months after finishing my JMT thruhike. I was still hurting like shit. Missing my people like shit. And trying to build a new life here in Germany.
We’re one year later now. Time o time it doesn’t heal but it makes the feelings less intense.
So this was my last entry in my JMT journal:

Continue reading

The night with ‘my’ mountain lion

One year ago something happened that changed my life. Something that I think of every day. Something that I carry around in my body, my mind and my soul. I’m sure not all people would give it that much of a meaning. I didn’t really choose to do so, it chose me. It’s a part of me whereever I go and whatever I do.
One year ago I was given a second birthday. At least that is what it felt like when Gordon and Dave came down from Sunrise Mountain and found me just before they crossed Sunrise Creek on their way down to the Clouds Rest junction. They gave the word “trail angel” a meaning far beyond the normal meaning all thruhikers come to enjoy. They saved me from what I thought was gonna keep me caged forever and what I thought was gonna kill me.
One year ago I spent 13 hours with a mountain lion. I started calling him or her “my mountain lion”. But really he or she ain’t mine. “I’m his or her” would suit more but I guess that’s not how it is either. The mountain lion was absolutely beautiful. I was inside my tarptent, he or she right outside. Yet as the hours passed by -and I can tell you, they never passed by more slow than they did that night- in my mind my tent gradually became my coffin.

Continue reading