This day was tough. My first thing in the morning: the last hopeful try to get the camera back to life. But no luck… It was dead.

We started hiking out from our campspot. A straight 3,500ft climb again. After a few minutes I couldn’t keep up with Kaylee anymore. My pack felt heavy like s*!t. We had to carry water for 14 miles today and we still have food for four days in the packs but it was more than that. Everything poked and hurt. The hip belt was extremely painful on my hips, my shoulders hurt and everything just felt wrong. I was slow as never before. But it was especially the mental component which slowed me down. The loss of my camera had ruined my day already again. And to make that clear. It – fortunately – is not a financial loss but the knowledge of missing out on so many beautiful impressions in the next weeks which made me sad. I had enjoyed photography in the last month and after my inspirational encounter with Dietmar like never before. And even though all of the editing and posting in the tent cost me my rest and sleep I enjoyed it and especially the outcome.

On the way up I felt like I didn’t want to go anymore. I just wanted to get to the border and get it over with this morning. Other people hike without cameras and enjoy themselves. But that was too far a way for me at this moment to even be an option. I had to stop every five minutes. I just couldn’t do it today. And pushing was impossible. I was sad and really mad at the camera as well. I had it in my hand a few times and was close to throwing it down one of the steep cliffs. Only my complete conviction of the “leave no trace” concept stopped me from doing it. It was a weird feeling. It was like taking my camera away from me took away all the joy. And even taking the joy away from what was ahead of me. The photo topic apparently has become a very important part of my life…

On a side note. We are back in a bubble. End of solitude and peaceful hiking. There are PCT hiker everywhere. The eclipse, the fire closure and the fear of running out of time has spilled many into Washington now. So they are everywhere. I have to admit I don’t like it. I don’t even feel like talking to them. The same questions over and over again. I just want peace. Please don’t talk to me…

Kaylee had long gone and left me with my unbearable mood and in my grief. Probably a good decision. On one of the hills I had reception and called Olympus. In over 90% of the cases where water gets into the camera it is usually totally damaged. And the effort to fix it if possible is usually higher than buying a new one. So there was clarity. This one was not gonna come to life anymore. But what now? Hiking without a camera? Impossible to imagine for me. But how to make a choice without a proper research and comparison? I haven’t had a look into the camera marked for the last two years and had no clue what was going on anymore…

After I caught up with Kaylee who sat down and waited for me worried we continued together again. My thoughts were circling around the camera problem all day. Micro four thirds vs full frame sensor? Olympus vs Sony? What did I like about my old camera? Would I buy it again? What if I go with one sensor technology? Will that be the right call? What does that mean for the lenses? No chance to make a call without research… But how? On a phone in the woods. I would usually prepare a proper excel spreadsheet and invest a few weeks before making a call. But that would mean no photos on the trail. I was going insane.

Fortunately the landscape didn’t really need my attention today. And if then I missed out on it. The few attempts to capture anything with my phone disgusted me so much that I quickly stopped again.

 

The only highlight today. In the afternoon we hit the blueberries. I stuffed myself. They made me happy. I think blueberries actually rank first now before strawberries for me. A change after 35 years 😳

We decided to camp early at Blue Lake. Why? I was done. And there was reception. I went off with phone and battery pack to do some research. Kaylee took care of the camp and everything else tonight. When I came back from my “reception-rock” more hiker trash had arrived. We had a great dinner together with a lot of laughs. It was good.

And then we crawled into our tents. I showed Kaylee what I had researched. But she also didn’t know what to tell me. And then I just ordered what I thought was the right choice. No clue if it is. But hopefully I will have a new camera in a few days. I feel better now.

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