Saturday, February 14, 2015

Blog moved to

Ow fuck this is hard... leaving my blogspot behind (on Valentines day... gosh I'm mean...) But yes it's time to move on from Blogger to Wordpress. So even if it feels like leaving my blog behind, I'm still happy to announce you can now follow Walking Womad at
I moved all the content of my blog here over to the new webspace so you will be able to read all of my old blogpost over there as well. If you'd like to comment on a post (which I always greatly appreciate!!!) please do so on the new blogaddress 'cause I will not keep on maintaining the posts or this blog here. I will still leave it online for a bit but at some point I will take it offline.
Soooooooo here we goooooooo... I'd be happy if you'd follow along and check my new "look".
LOVE and THANKS!!!! Cat

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Pacific WHAT Thing???

"The Pacific WHAT Thing?" people ask me when I tell them what I plan on doing.
"The PACIFIC CREST TRAIL!" I keep on repeating.
"Never heard of!"
"Sigh... It's a long distance trail in America."
"O you mean that one in the woods with the bears and all?"
"No that's the Appalachian Trail!"
"Never heard of!"

Yeah that's how the conversation goes here in Europe. I guess 95% of the people here never heard of any mysterious Pacific Crest Trail. It could as well be non-existent. But then again 95% of the non-europeans probably never heard of the Wicklow Way, the E1, the Rheinsteig, the Pieterpad and many more.

So this one goes out to my European readers, friends and family... It's time to learn about the Pacific Crest Trail!
"The Pacific WHAT Thing?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Calm after the storm

„What the fuck were you thinking?“ „You should have taken it slow!“ “After 32 years you still haven’t learned anything?” “It’s all about balance girl!”
While I lay on the couch with my left leg up the voices in my head are talking… loud… angry… all at once. Even putting my hands over my ears doesn’t help. It just gets worse.
“I know,” I think, “I know!” Balance’s never been something I am good at. And the voices are right I guess. After 32 years of living with and in this body (being this body) I should know better.
But now here I am, on the couch; as if my knee problem alone wasn’t enough to deal with, I now strained my muscles (really hoping I didn’t rupture the muscle fibre) in my left upper leg. I officially am a moron. I could punch myself in the frikkin face. I started doing more work outs and yoga to prepare for the PCT but apparently I did too much too fast… too too too. Why can I never take it slow?
While I lay here I feel anxiety growing. I’m scared . It overcomes me like a monster creeping up from behind, putting his hands around my throat, choking me… one moment slow and mean, another moment fast and brutal. “What if I can’t hike to Canada? What if it doesn’t get better? What if? What if? WHAT IF???”

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gear list - Pacific Crest Trail 2015

This ain't gonna happen on the PCT baby!
Since I got back from hiking the JMT in 2013 I've continuously been trying to reduce my base pack weight (=Weight of my filled backpack  minus weight of consumables like food, water and fuel).
On the JMT my base pack weight was around 13 or 14 lbs. Bearcan and ukulele included. On the long stretches, especially between Muir Trail Ranch and Mount Whitney, where I carried 9 days worth of food, my backpack was waaaay too heavy for my small shoulders. The first day after MTR wasn't funny, that I can tell you.
My goal for the Pacific Crest Trail is to get my BPW down to around 8lbs. Sometimes it's gonna be a little more, sometimes a little less, depending on where I am and whether I need additional clothes or gear for a certain stretch or not.

So this is what my gear list currently looks like. I'm still working on it, so I will probably update this list once in a while in the next three months.
Some items I haven't weighed yet... yes, just because I was too lazy to do so.
Here we go:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Catwoman - The story of my trailname

Me and Merman  :-)
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!"

Thursday, January 8, 2015

PCT Preparations

3 months to go. 3 MONTHS TO GO!!!!! I can’t believe it! Only 3 more months to go and I’ll hit the Pacific Crest Trail. Things feel so different than 2 years ago when I was preparing for the John Muir Trail. I feel so calm and relaxed. 2 years ago I was like a busy squirrel, looking in all directions, jumping from one foot to the other and back; like a dog with its tongue hanging out, looking at its owner and asking: “What more? What more? What should I do?”
When I hit the JMT in 2013 I was overprepared. Now I’m prepared and I’m still preparing but I’m also like: No need to overplan it girl.

It’s funny ‘cause back then the JMT seemed such a huge thing to me (well it was and I still value the experience 100%). What lays ahead of me now is 10 times bigger and I feel like it makes absolutely no sense to worry even a single bit because I just can’t capture what is awaiting me. It feels unreal. I don’t know what it means to hike from Mexico to Canaca. I have no idea. Not a clue! The JMT was short enough to be able to “overview” it and start thinking: “Maybe I can do it. YEAH I can do it.” The PCT is leaving me speechless. I have no fucking clue. I’ve never done anything alike. I don’t know whether I can do it or not. I don’t know what is gonna happen. So there’s no need to worry. I’m just gonna go. The only thing I know for sure is that I want it. I wanna hike the PCT. I wanna hike to Canada. I wanna be in the wilderness. I wanna be out there, get out of my comfort zone, do something I’ve never done before. And of course there’s that longing in my heart, to be back in the Sierra, to call the wilderness my home.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


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:

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I've been sharing it on Facebook but then hey I realised I haven't written about it here... I'm participating with MY YAMA ADVENTURE. Hell yesssss!!!

I applied somewhere in the beginning of November after a friend  (Thanks so much Ligia!!!) told me I should give it a go. I actually hadn't applied yet because I was worried not to be able to raise $2000. But then April convinced me (Thanks so much to you too April!!!) and soooo.... here I am!!!

When I got the email from Gen from Yama mountain gear, I was like: eh? really? really!!! WOWWWW! And then I reread the email to make sure I read it right. But yes it was an invitation to participate! Fuck YEAHHHH!
Yep you can imagine me in our tiny cabin, not much space left actually, dancing in the little space available. Between the table and the drawers.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Teaching my first lightweight backpacking course

I've been selfemployed in our wilderness school for quite some time now. But the last course was special. We normally teach wilderness- and survival skills like how to build a weatherproof shelter, how to track animals, birdlanguage and art of mentoring.  This time though I got to teach my favorite subject: lightweight backpacking!!! As expected I had a blast! Talking about and sharing my passion for 3 days is pretty cool. Themes covered were: Introduction in Lightweight Backpacking (background, history), Base Pack Weight, tips and tricks for going lighter, gear, orientation with maps and compass, treating water, different cook systems, sleep systems, knots, pitching tarps, LNT,... As pictures say more than a thousand words, here are some impressions:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pacific Crest Trail. And so the story begins!

When I hiked the John Muir Trail in the Summer of 2013 just as often as I would pass JMT signs I would pass PCT signs. Mexico that way, Canada the other way. And when I ended my hike on the top of Mount Whitney a tear passed my smile finding its way back to the rocky strong mountain beneath me, happy I made it to Whitney, sad I couldn’t continue hiking. I would have loved hiking on to a border, no matter which one.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A walk with my ego

Today me, myself, I and my ego went for a walk. In fact it was just me, myself and I walking. My ego was, as always, sitting on one of my shoulders, just riding along, commenting on each thought coming to my mind.

“So you’re gonna hike the PCT?” my ego asked.
“Yeah, I’m gonna hike the PCT,” I said.
“Wow you’re frikking awesome!" ego said.
And I was like: “Na, I don’t know.”

While we were walking, our conversation kept on going…
This is how it went:

Ego: “You’re special.”
Cat: “O shut up!”
E: “Not everyone hikes from Mexico to Canada!”
C: “I’m just walking.”
E: “But you’re walking more than 2000 fucking miles.”
C: “Yeah, well, I’m not sure if I’m gonna make it.”
E: “You’re badass girl!”
C: “hm”
E: “O come on, you’re a star!”
C: “I'm not even half a star!”
E: “I’m coming with you. If you’re not gonna shine I frikkin am!”
C: “O ego, could you like please just shut up, just for one sec?!”
E: “Jee, don’t ruin all the fun here. It’s my chance to get attention!!!”
C: “Attention for what ego?”
E: “For being so fucking tough, walking to Canada!”
C: “It’s not you hiking ego, you’re just riding along, as always. My feet are gonna do this.”
E: “Really girl, you’re gonna ruin this for me?”
C: “I don’t know ego, I’m not sure I wanna carry you on my shoulder. After all my base pack weight should be under 10lbs. There’s no room for you!”
E: “Fuck lightweight backpacking! Why can’t you be rich and famous? I’d be getting so much more attention!”

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moving and staying

I haven't hiked much lately. I haven't written much lately. I haven't "been" much lately... apart from "been working"... Summer is high season in our wilderness school, it's the time of the year where we make our living for the rest of the year. Plus since fall has come, we've been building our tiny home to make sure we have a roof above our heads in winter. So I've basically "been working" since I got back from the Haute Route. We need money to get us through the winter and 'thru' the PCT and through the winter after that.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gear review Haute Route

I've been postponing and postponing and postponing this gear review. First because I just didn't have time to write. Second because o well I'm not the one to write those superlong detailed gear descriptions and reviews. So as always: Don't expext too much details and technical information, I rather just give my opinion and thoughts. Maybe it's useful to some, maybe it's not :cP Anyway I still learned some things while hiking in the high Alps that I wanna share.
I pretty much took the same stuff I took on the JMT in 2013 and on my hike across Tenerife last spring.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hiking = Resetting to original mode!

Some people don't seem to get it. "Hiking is boring. Why would you wanna walk all those miles? What does it give to you? There are so many cool things to do and you go hiking? Really?"

Hiking is human nature! It is what we are designed for! That's right, look down... Do you see them? Those two things carrying you around are your feet! They're not made for highheels, they're not made for stitting still 8 hours a day. They're made for walking, for running, for moving! If evolution would be working faster I guess the last 20 or 30 years would have eliminated our feet and legs and we'd be growing cars out of our ass, or seats, or whatever that makes us not use our feet anymore.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Le Haute Route: Chamonix - Zermatt... or... How things never go as planned!

Day 1: Monday 30th June 2014: Freiburg – Cabane Albert I, 2745m/9005ft

The alarm rings at 7am. I am awake already, the rain falls down heavily on the roof of Angelika’s sheperd hut. „I should have brought my rainpants,“ I think. Fuck! I can’t believe I’m having vacation. It doesn’t feel like it. It’s raining. It should be warm and sunny. I take the umbrella, step outside in my undies, my trailrunners and my puffy and I pee under the umbrella (never done that before haha :cP) Big Badger is going back and forth whether he should take grandma’s woolen socks or not. I say: „Hell no, you got 3 pair of socks already!“ So he leaves them there and we head over to Angelika to have breakfast. While I have breakfast and chat with Angelika, Big Badger arranges our membership with the „Bergrettung“. At least when I fall down a crevace, then they’ll come and save me and I don’t have to pay tons of money for an unwanted helicopter ride. At 8.15am Angelika brings us to the railway station. Ow fuuuck her car doesn’t start. Praise the fucking lord my car is there, so I give her the keys and off we go. It’s a bumpy ride with Angelika driving my car for the first time haha. In 4 hours the train takes us to Martigny, where we buy tickets for the Mont Blanc Express. I’m not used of speaking French anymore and I have a hard time finding my words.
First days of travel kinda always suck. I feel stressed and hungry. I know it will be better as soon as I start hiking. So I tell myself it’s ok to feel like this.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting ready for the Haute Route / High Route Chamonix - Zermatt

When we were kids our parents took us hiking in the Alps. We loved Switzerland and when we left the flat and tiny country Belgium is and drove to those majestic mountains, each year again our mouths would fall open, we'd rubb our eyes like as if we couldn't believe something like that really existed.
Now when I write hiking, I mean "real hiking". Na a not to the nearest swimming pool, but rather we'd hike high up to snowy passes, across glaciers, ... We'd get up at 5 in the morning and start hiking at first daylight to make sure we'd be able to cross the glaciers before the midday sun would make the ice all mushy and soft. We weren't fast but hell we always did it and we were proud as can be when we reached the pass, the hut or the summit. One time we climbed towards Cabane de Bertol and met a belgian climbers team hiking the Haute Route. My brother (who was 9 or 10 back then) joined them towards the hut and reached the hut first. Man he rocked it!!! Anyway that was the first time I heard about the Haute Route. At the age of 11 I actually never thought I'd ever hike the Haute Route myself (even though my dream back then was climbing Mount Everest haha).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New gear toys

Houdini overload :c)
Alrightyyy... It's been a while since I've written anything gear-related. Time to change that and show you the toys I got in the last couple a months.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The question ain't "Why do you hike?" but "Why do you blog?"

As a writer you sure have to deserve your credits the hard way. As thruhikers do too.

When you hike and reach the end-terminus, your peeps at home congratulate you, they're full of "wow you did it" and "it must have been amazing". But after a week (well if you're lucky maybe two or three) the excitement calms down and things go back to how they were before (that is for the people around you). So there you are, having hiked hundreds or even thousands of miles, but now standing in the middle of that old living room again, sitting at the table in the kitchen you've eaten so many breakfasts. And you can't help asking yourself: "Has it all been a dream? Or why is it that I feel so lonely, so empty and so out of place?"
Being a writer ain't much different. When you write something the people out there like, you get nice comments and they encourage you to keep on writing. Lots of people read along but don't say anything, so you kinda have to make up in your head what they think of it. And then I always end up asking myself the same and highly uncomfortable questions: "Girl, why are you sharing your thoughts with the world? Are you just doing this to get attention? Do you seriously think you got something to share?" These are the questions that come to my mind in the calm after the storm, when encouraging words only ring from the distance.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Liebster Award

Yey. Chad aka Stick from Stick's blog gave me The Liebster Award. Whoop whoop it's my first award ever, so I better put on a nice dress while I write this post haha. Maybe some make-up too?
Na a you know that ain't me. I like the dirt under my nails and my dreaded hair. I'd be fucking thrown off the red carpet if I turned up the way I look right now hahaha. It's a good thing an outdoors man like Stick gave me the award, cuz he too prefers a trail over a red carpet, right Stick? Our red carpet is the beautiful red and yellow pattern the trees color the trails with in fall. Our red carpet is a trail carved in the rocks in remote places where no other paparazzi but our own shadow chases us. Our red carpet is the ever winding dusty snowy muddy road that brings us to places we've never been. So THANK YOU Chad for the award. I love to walk the red carpets of nature! (Actually I'm currently writing a post about why I blog and how -as a writer- you gotta earn your credits the hard way... So the award came just in time hahaha.... I'm not all done writing that post but I'll try to finish it soon ;c)

Now what does it mean to accept The Liebster Award? It means I gotta answer the 11 questions Chad asked me, come up with 11 new questions, tag other bloggers and ask them to answer my 11 questions. Of course none of these bloggers is forced to answer these questions. They can either leave it or accept the award and pay it forward. As I'm not good in explaning (hell I would suck in being a schoolteacher) you better read the full explanation here.  It basically is a way of recognizing/promoting other bloggers and the things they do.

So here are Chad's questions and my answers to them:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Loveletter to a thruhiker

I was just talking to a hiker trash friend when we started chatting about how beautiful thruhikers are. That's when the idea came to my mind to write a loveletter to a thruhiker. No it's not just dedicated to one particular thruhiker, it is written to all thruhikers, the ones that hiked in the past, the lucky bastards that are rocking the trails right now and the ones in the future. Now this might be a bit cheesy, but hell, I don't give a fuck, you know that ;cP

Here's to all of you thruhikers, men and women: MY LOVELETTER TO YOU:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The freedom of owning little!

Do my hands hold nothing? Or do they hold the world?

I own nothing! Basically nothing. I have no house, I have no kitchen, I have no washing machine.

I do have a tiny car. It is so tiny, you probably can not even buy it in America. I have a computer, clothes and outdoor gear. That's about it.

Now the question is: Does owning little makes me poor?

Monday, April 21, 2014

168 Reasons to hike the John Muir Trail

Soooooooo: Why would you wanna hike the JMT? O dear, there are tons of people who could come up with tons of reasons why not to!
But NO NO NO... that ain't the way we roll right? Always be confident and positive (that you oughta know since you read my last post.... Haven't read it yet? Total shame!!!)! Hell there are hundreds of reasons to hike the John Muir Trail, 168 to be exact! One reason for each day between the moment you apply for your wilderness permit and the day you're about to set your first foot on the trail!


Friday, April 11, 2014

About to hit the JMT?

Allrighty folks... Hiking season is open! Those lucky PCT bastards are hitting the trail, taking pics at the monument in Campo, working their way thru the desert...
Na a don't worry, we JMT wussies still have a bit of time to prepare. Allright allright... of course we are no wussies, WE'RE ABOUT TO ROCK THE SIERRA. Well actually, not "we"... "YOU" are! I'm stuck in Europe, so "you" are gonna have to do it! Climb your way out of the valley, or worse (well that actually depends on how you see it), climb Whitney on day 1! O man! How jealous I am of all of you, whether you're about to embark on a journey of thousands of miles or may it just be a few hundred through the magnificent Sierra! You damn lucky merican hikers, YOU'RE ALL GONNA HAVE A HIKE OF A LIFETIME!!!

As I am not qualified YET to give you any advice on hiking badass trails like the PCT or CDT, I'll have to stick with the JMT. For now my ego is fine with that ;c) After all one must say: The John Muir Trail is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS AMAZING BREATHTAKING MOTHERFUCKING GREAT! Yet it really ain't about the name or the trail or whatever. It's about nature, about wilderness, about the delicate beauty of the tiniest plant, about the majesty of those granite walls, and about everything inbetween. It's about the soft yellow light that hits your eye first thing in the morning, about the smell of cedar trees when you hike down from Sallie Keyes Lakes (or towards SKL if you're a northbounder), it's about the view that makes your body freeze when you see Center Peak and the mountains around, it's about being a part of it all when you sit down in Mc'Clure Meadow, watch the sun set and you feel so grateful that you are right there on that one spot in the middle of all that beauty!!! O you know... it's about soooo much more than just "a trail"!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lessons learned

After each hike it's time to ask some questions: What went wrong? What worked well? What did I swear about? What would I do different on future hikes? Well well let's get to it:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hiking across the Teide National Park - Tenerife

Cat about to rock the Teide!
First decent hikingtrip of the season: Check! First camping on a snowfield at 3400m (11154ft): Check! First sunburn of the year: Check! First cactus fig picking and eating: Check! First time nauseous of gaining too much elevation meters in one day: Check! My hikingtrip across Tenerife was a trip of "firsts". And it was a trip of "finally-s": Finally, I'm hiking again! Finally, I'm out in the wild again! Finally, my feet do what they are ment for again! Finally, I'm eating shitty backpackers food again! Finally finally finally!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pico del Teide... here I come!

Yesterday I started preparing for our hike across Teneriffa... Eh jep apart from gear and food, there ain't much to prepare. We have a map, know where we wanna go, we'll see what we get when we're out there. Wuhuuu I can't wait to be hiking again. Nothing like a thru-hike, I know, but at least HIKING!
My gearlist is very similar to my JMT gearlist, except that I won't bring a tent but a tarp and no bearcan haha. I think I'll go without a rainjacket (no rain in forecast), but maybe will take another lightweight downjacket. I haven't weighed my backpack yet (jeeee girl!) but it feels pretty lightweight! As for food, whoops I think I have toooo much. O well whatever, I'll try to eat like a trailmonster :cP
Anyway, I'll be back in one week and tell you guys all about it. Meanwhile: Happy trails to all of you (those lucky PCT bastards are about to hit the trail! Go hiker trash!!!!!)!!!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oops I did it again!

Wuhuuu! I am proud to announce: I QUIT MY JOB!!! Again! Am I crazy? Yes! Does it feel good? Yes! What are you gonna do now? What I love! Things can't change if you don't start making changes, right?  Last monday I was on my way to work when all of a sudden a feeling came over me like "I really don't wanna do this anymore", it was like a heavy load pushing on my chest. I managed to stay on that job for 6 months, whoops... I'm just not made for that "normal life thing"! I feel trapped and caged, it restricts me and kills my creativity!
I remember the words that came to my mind when I was hiking last summer.  As long as I feel trapped in a normal job, I just can't be me...

Not to be tamed
Not to be caught
Not to be caged
I am like a fire
like hot burning flames
I am what should be
set out to be free
I'm not to be kept
in one place to stay
I'm not a hunter and 
I'm not a prey
I'm raw like a wolf, like a bear, like a shark
I'm like a cat with eyes in the dark
Don't come too close
Don't hold for too long
I'm ready to bite
I'm ready to fight
I'm not to be tamed

So what I'm gonna do is: Fly to Teneriffa on saturday, hike across the island and climb the Teide next week, come back and start having the guts to really live my life the way I want it. How I'm gonna make a living? Get more involved in our wilderness school, try to start giving courses in lightweight backpacking, let my creativity grow again (I have a tiny brand called "Helenmade" under which I make and sell hats, jewelry, felted stuff,... ), write songs,... 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Rockland Legend Trail

Go figure... Just about 1,5 h driving from my place starts a trail called the "Rockland Legend Trail". If you now picture deep canyons, rapid rivers and high mountains I might have to disappoint you. Yet after my 3-day hike along this trail I still concluded... hiking in Europe ain't that bad after all. It do is very different from hiking in America, except for the part where you put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. In Europe we don't have many big wilderness areas left so you'll be going through little villages and towns at least once a day. No worries about resupplying or water yet also no getting away from it all for days and days and getting back into your "natural mode" (which to me is one of the greatest things about hiking in a country with huge non-civilized areas). Anyway, back to the Rockland Legend Trail. I guess the trail just opened a few years ago. The trailsigns all seem to be very new and it looks like hardly anyone has been hiking there (though that might of course be because of the fact it's still winter here).The trailsign definitely is one of the cutest I've ever seen... a little blue ghost making a peacesign (or do ghosts only have two fingers???)...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How to recognize HIKER TRASH in the "normal world"!

It's been a while... I know... I feel it... I'm getting all agitated and fuzzy. I haven't seen a trail for too long... I mean like a decent trail... In one year I'll be all excited and preparing like nuts for the PCT... Right now I feel winter is getting to me, even though we haven't got real winter this year (not just yet but who knows what is coming tomorrow). Once again I find myself asking questions like "Is this how life should be?" and "What the heck am I waiting for?" I guess it's the time of the year. Till February I seem to be able to keep the winter darkness outside of my soul. But then all of a sudden it hits me and my heart feels the aching and longing for springtime, for new life, for bird songs, for wearing T's, for getting out into the woods barefooted... And meanwhile while I get up when it's still fucking dark (which should just be prohibited!) and I drag myself to work, I'm trying to figure out, how to change my life so that I'm not ending up in that rat race.
Na a don't worry! This ain't gonna be a "drag you down" post... Cuz underneath my fuzzy mind there's a heart jumping up and down, looking forward to the adventures that lay ahead. Oh and there is my soul... my brave little soul that has the need to fulfill dreams!

Allright now my question for this post is: HOW DO I RECOGNIZE HIKER TRASH IN THE "NORMAL WORLD"? There could be some debating done on what the "normal world" is but heck we'll have that discussion some other time, over some beer, na over some wiskey. Cuz I kinda got tired of those "we live in a bad society-"discussions. So you might wanna bring something to drink if you wanna have a conversation like that with me. Anyway back to hiker trash. For those people not familiar with the thru hiking slang, let me explain what hiker trash is supposed to be:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I won I won I won!!!

Wuuuuhuuuu allrightyyyy! I won a ti pot from Gossamer Gear! I participated in a game on Facebook and I hardly could believe it when I read my name in a post a couple of days later... announcing I'm one of the winners!!!! Yeeeeeeeeeeah!!!
It took some time for it to arrive coming all the way from the US. But it got here and the next day I went out into the woods to cook a great lunch in my new ti pot... So thank you Gossamer Gear! I love the pot!!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

He said "You're crazy!" ... I happily confirmed!

Allrightyyyy... Last week the hikingseason 2014 started! Even though my knee ain't better I really wanna get in shape again cuz 2014 is gonna be a hell of a hikingyear... Climbing the Teide and crossing Teneriffa, hiking through Sarek NP in Sweden or the Tour du Mont Blanc in France and hopefully hitting the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand by the end of the year. Along with getting in shape it's all about gear testing and just being outdoors... enjoying nature, connecting with the land, feeling Mother Earth beneath my two small feet. I call myself lucky living in the middle of the woods. I just have to grab my backpack and go. Leave the daily routine behind, come back to my senses, remember what life is about... It's funny cuz when I'm in my tiny cuddly warm home I sometimes (eh yeah that's an understatement) have to give myself a decent kick in the ass before that same ass is willing to move away from the comfy sofa...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

JMT 2013 - complete gear review

Aaaaah!!! Is this it? My last post about the JMT before I start preparing the Te Araroa Trail, the PCT and some smaller hikes across Europe? Jee... not sure... It's so DAMN hard to let go... O I know there is so much to look forward to and I consider myself being one of the luckiest persons on earth... I guess I'll always find myself inbetween trail melancholy and trail excitement... except if I'm on a trail... then I am trail happiness haha :c)

Anyway, considering the title it ain't hard to guess what this post is about: IT'S ABOUT GEAR. Again! DAMN RIGHT! (Guess I'm a gear junkie after all... whoops) In one of my last posts I wrote about my favorites and my yeah... not-favorites. This time it's all about the details. Now don't expect me to be all technical and rational (na-a that's just not me ;c)... I'm gonna do this the womad-way ;c)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Trailart? Suuuure...

During my JMT Thru-hike I did a bit of water colors in my journal... Nothing fancy, but just for the fun of it. I am no Kolby Kirk (check his journals, he is absolutely AMAZING!), that's for sure... But I enjoyed painting so much (even when I'm not too good at it... who cares ;c) when I had a longer lunchbreak or I got to camp early... That wasn't all too often, but still.... When I'm hiking the PCT I'm definitely taking my mini water color set along!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gear junkie?

Am I a gear junkie? Yes... No... Maybe...
Fact is: I love nice lightweight gear. Fact is too: The lightest gear is the gear you don't bring. The JMT was my introduction to lightweight backpacking. I think I did fairly well, though there certainly is a lot of room for improvement. My backpack weighed about 26 lb (13kg) at it's heaviest (leaving MTR with 9 days worth of food)... That didn't feel toooo comfortable, so for my PCT thruhike I'm definitely gonna make some changes.

My top 3:
  1. My Dirty Girl Gaiters: ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM!!! Kept all debris out of my shoes: Result: Zero blisters!!! And never having to stop to take little stones or rocks out.

My JMT in numbers

  • Number of days on trail: 25
  • Number of rainy days: really actually just 1, and then it wasn't just rain but hail too.
  • Longest day: 16 miles (eh right, definitely am no fastpacker)
  • Shortest day: 6 miles
  • Number of time I fell: 3 times
  • Number of days with a hurting knee: 25
  • Number of bears spotted: 3 (eh yeah... on freakin' day 1!!!)
  • Number of mountain lions spend the night with: 1 (eh yeah... on freakin' day 2!!!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The freedom of going solo?

When I hit the trail at the 23th of August 2013 I intended on solo thruhiking the JMT. I never had done anything like that before. I had turned 30, got divorced in the past year and I felt like if I needed something what I call "a battle for FREEDOM".
I've done a fairly amount of travelling around the globe but I never did a solo thruhike. I decided I didn't wanna wait no longer for anyone coming along, cuz somehow waiting for other people also feels like being caged. I told myself, if I'm brave enough to do a thruhike on my own, I will feel free. And I did feel freedom to a certain point, yet I also realised freedom is something you create in your mind.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Finding answers...

A rainbow coming out of Muir hut!
It's been 3 months now since I summited Mount Whitney and thru-hiked the John Muir Trail. Especially the first month after I got back hasn't been easy and even now after 3 months I still miss the trail and everything that comes around with it.
I've really had a hard time adapting to "normal life" and civilization, going back to work, having the daily worries (which I of course mainly create myself), meeting up with society's and my own expectations, picking out clothes everyday (ooo trail life was sooo easy), being all clean and tidy... Na I don't like it! I'm the kinda woman who likes a bit (eh yeah a fairly bit) of dirt under her nails, and the story of a trail carved into the lines of her face (even though I'm only 31)! I'm the kind of person who likes the tan on my skin from which you can't say whether the sun gave it to me or if it's the trail dust sticking to my legs...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DAY 25: Sunrise on MOUNT WHITNEY!!!

Monday 16th September 2013: Guitar Lake - Mount Whitney - Trail Crest - Whitney Portal

The last day on trail... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! My heart is crying and big tears drip down from my cheeks before I am ready to get out of my sleeping bag. I don't want this to end. This is perfect. This is what life should be ALL the time!!!
I force myself to get up shortly after Joe's alarm plays "The final countdown"... It's a bittersweet wake-up call at midnight. We have breakfast and coffee in the dark, though isn't all that dark as the moon is almost full and lightens Mount Whitney and the mountains and rocks around it. OMG! In a few hours I'll be up there!!!

Day 24: Playing my ukulele at Guitar Lake :c)

Sunday 15th September 2013: Tyndall Frog Ponds - Bighorn Plateau - Crabtree Meadow - Guitar Lake

Today should have been an easy day. Only 10 miles, no passes... Still we had to descend and climb quite a bit. Soon after we left camp, we reached the Bighorn Plateau, which I've been curious for since I hit the trail. Kind of a surreal landscape!!! Descending through a pine forest (and again a forest that had a totally diferent "character" than the forests I crossed before) we ate lunch shortely before the crabtree junction.... After that we only had a few miles to go but DAMN that felt hard. As I was passing Timberline Lake I was like: "Now where is that fuckin' guitar????" Haha! Yet we saw Mount Whitney rising up in front of us!!!