a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 931.2 to 942.5. From Lake camp to Tuolumne Meadows (to Yosemite Valley)
Last day on the PCT for 2.5 weeks today! It is a beautiful and sunny day again. But when we get up, some of our stuff including our backpacks is still wet from yesterday’s storm.
This is even more motivation to get to Tuolumne Meadows as soon as possible.
The first two miles are very easy as the trail is slowly descending towards the valley.
As we go downhill we videotape a sequence for our clip for the upcoming wedding in France.
The idea is that all the guests send in a short video, covering their ideas or advice for a successful marriage. So we decided to give five tips and one of them is to always give a helping hand to your wife. For that we film me climbing a mountain with two backpacks and sending a kiss to the camera/wife.
After another 30 minutes we reach the valley. It is so beautiful, right when we arrive all of yesterday’s rain is now vaporizing and slowly finding its way towards the sky as big foggy clouds. Then there is a big river in the middle of the valley shining through all the fog. The whole scenery looks magical!
Shortly after we meet BigBro and PitRoast who both made it down the valley during yesterday’s storm and hike a bit further to have breakfast on a huge rock and try to dry our wet stuff.
When we are finished eating and drying we continue to hike this long valley and follow the river. After another 8 miles we finally reach Tuolumne Meadows and are overwhelmed by the feeling of going home and seeing family & friends again.
But to get to San Francisco where our flight leaves and where we plan to spend 3 days before flying home, we have to get to Yosemite Valley, camp there for one night and then take the bus the next day.
The Valley is about one hour of driving away and the next bus is only arriving in 3 hours. So we decide to hitch another time, this time we have a special weapon to catch someone to get us a ride. The name of that weapon is Rad and he is actually a very cool American guy who grew up in Kenia. Rad has a special hitching dance he always does to make cars stop. Together with his shouting and eye rolling it is the best hitching weapon ever…
So yes, it took us only 3 minutes and the three of us are in a car going to Yosemite Valley.
As we enter the Valley we pass the famous El Capitán and see in the background Half Dome throning over the valley. “Wow!”, we both think and enjoy the amazing view.
Now we say goodbye to Rad and set up camp at a camping site. Unfortunately we get confused and pitch our tent in the camping with car area only to find out a couple of minutes later that our space is already taken by a family. But luckily they only reserved the place for their friends who will arrive tomorrow. So they let us camp here for free :)
Later we meet BigBro and Pitroast for dinner at a very crowded restaurant and spend a nice last evening close to the trail. Tomorrow we will say goodbye to the PCT for our trip home. It is a weird feeling but we can’t wait for it!
Day 70 (13 July)
Miles 918.1 to 931.2. Rock camp to lake camp.
Today is the day we will climb two passes. That hasn‘t happenend since the beginning of the Sierras, and we are excited. Noooot. As a matter of fact, we still just want to reach civilization. And have a hot shower. I know, it‘s only been a day since we left Red‘s Meadow. I know, I know. But everything is damp, our spirits are low. At least the weather is a little better. Which means, it stopped raining. It‘s still cloudy. And not too warm. So let‘s get this over with. We get up, BigBro is awake but doesn‘t look like he‘s gonna go anywhere soon. We leave the campsite before him and start hiking, knowing that Minji and Pip are camped ahead somewhere and usually don‘t get up until later. And sure enough, we find them after 2 miles. Minji is just leaving, but Pip is still in her tent, looking miserable. She claims that all of her stuff is wet and she is determined to make a fire now to dry her clothes, at 8am. We sit down beside her and have our breakfast while she slowly gets up and starts collecting wood. Soon BigBro shows up and helps her make the fire. We roast her clothes next to the fire, it doesn‘t really seem to work well, but after a while the stuff seems warm, if maybe not dry.
We leave the two eventually and prepare ourselves for the first pass, Island Pass. It happens so fast and before we know it, we‘re past it. No, it‘s actually beautiful, with a lake called Thousland Island Lake, not too steep, giving us plenty of time and energy to enjoy the serene beauty of it. Too bad the weather has got worse again and it‘s raining a little again.
Now on to the second pass. First downhill and then a long uphill climb to Donohue Pass. We take a lunch break somewhere in between, in a really beautiful meadow and look forward to climbing our last pass before our holiday. It‘s even sunny now. But not for long. In fact, it starts raining again while we are on the ascent of Donohue. And soon rain becomes an understatement. 10 minutes before reaching the pass we are in a thunderstorm. How? Why? When did this happen? We are soaked within seconds, but kind of enjoying it because it is so crazy right now! We try taking pictures but our phones and our hands are wet and we can‘t use our smartphones. We see lightning, we hear thunder, it‘s pouring and then hailing down on us. As crazy and amazing as this is it quickly becomes terrifying as hell. We realize in what a dangerous situation we are in and start running down the mountain on the other side. We run in water streams flowing down, I just hope and wish that we make it to safety in time and that the storm will pass.
We stop beneath some trees and put our rain jackets on because we are freezing now from being soaked completely. We hurry down and realize we lost the trail. Great! Can this get any worse? Since we can‘t check the directions on our phone now we have to backtrack to where we came from. We then realize that we have to cross a river. So yes, it could actually get worse. By now we are both scared and yelling at each other. We somehow cross the river and then finally hear the angry storm turning away from us and giving us a break. We tumble down the mountain until we reach flat ground. But to get to it we need to cross another river. We are already so wet and just decide to wade through the knee deep water, because, well, it‘s all the same now.
Finally we reach a sheltered campsite where other hikers are already camped and quickly set up the tent. We are both freezing cold and put dry clothes on as quickly as possible. Lying in our sleeping bags we make a hot dinner and cuddle to get warm. We apologize for yelling at each other earlier and then soon fall into a deep sleep, thankful that we have the best, waterproof tent.
(Of course I need to get up in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, to pee.)
What a day!