The signs were getting more and more obvious – even in Arequipa. On our way back from the Colca Canyon the roads were flooded, massive traffic jams and back in the hostel these signs were greeting us:

IMG_6884

My plan to continue to Lima with a bus and a few stops along the way was risky. Most buses had been cancelled for the last and the next day and so I opted for the airplane. So I went to the airport in the evening and checked in – “Flight Demorado” (delayed). Well and then after four hours one flight after the other was cancelled in Arequipa, including mine. So I went back to town for another night and tried again the next day. After 5 hours delay the plane finally left for Lima. Arrived late at night with a nice German couple which I spent the day at the airport with in a loud and sticky hostel right on the bar street in Lima during St. Patricks Day. Bad choice to get some sleep… 😂

Well, and the situation in Lima and Peru was getting worse. Lima was without water supply since three days already. During the day the road between Huaraz and Lima had been washed away by a flash flood and there was no improvement in sight. At that point of time there had been already 70 tragical death counts and the country was in a severe state of problems.

fullsizeoutput_5594

I used the day to take care of the most important thing now – getting a new pair of shoes. Lima fortunately has a Salomon Flag Ship Store which had my size. So we strolled through the city on our way to the store. Lima is extremely clean and organised – maybe also because we went through the very nice parts though…

IMG_6899

And then I finally got them – shoes for the next 1,000-1,500km! I opted against the new model Speedcross4 since the heel part is lower and did not fit perfectly. So it’s now pair #4 of the Speedcross3 since I left on this journey. I will go and ask for a sponsorship now! 😎

fullsizeoutput_559a

IMG_6901
Bye bye pair #3. Thanks for carrying me through Canada, South America and even the Antarktis! RIP.

After some good food and coffee I had to make a call. Another night in the hostel was not really an option. Day four without water and the hygienic situation was getting unacceptable. Just imagine one single toilet per floor for about 40 people which can’t be flushed… Huaraz and hiking was also not really an option anymore. The road was gone and no indication when it would be back in operation. And more over and more important people in the region definitely had more important problems than foreign hikers searching for adventure. So I decided to:

fullsizeoutput_559b

…and fly to Bogotà, Colombia with a night flight at 2am which saved me from changing the hostel again. I think it was a good  call, also looking at Peru in the news now. One person less that does not necessarily has to be there right now.

What to do this summer?
And another important item was still open. What to do during the upcoming summer. I had a long phone call with my friend Jeremy from Seattle who is keen to join me on the Iceland trip. We met on the trail in New Zealand on the day after I fell in the mountains, being alone, dislocated my shoulder and was stuck in wasp nest. Since he and Anna where the first people I met on the next day they will always stay very special trail angels to me… So one more reason to go to Iceland this year – doing a solo and unsupported 30 day traverse in a remote area where there is basically nothing is done better in a group of two I guess. And you can share carrying the equipment which is not to be neglected when carrying food for 30 days. But on the other hand this would mean more smaller trips, more organisation, more moving around, more spare time in between. I have to admit I am getting a bit tired of the permanent organisation, comparing options, hostels, things to do and with this spending an enormous amount of time on mobile devices. I really want to spend more time outside again – just walking, eating, sleeping, repeating. Now my option in Huaraz with two to three weeks disappeared as well. Well, and in this process I caught myself how I downloaded an app for the “Pacific Crest Trail” on my phone. Is that a sign already? For everyone who has not heard about it or has not followed my thoughts around this topic: The Pacific Crest Trail or also called PCT is one of the most famous long distance trails going from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada through the West Coast of the USA – a 2,659mi or 4,279km long hiking trail.

And then I left for my plane to Bogota. Arriving at the airport and getting in the line I was told by my fellow traveller that they are checking for a return or onward flight and won’t let you on the flight if you don’t have one. Again? I almost didn’t make it from Hawaii to South America because of this a few month ago when you remember. And actually I had the same discussion from Buenos Aires to Peru but could buy myself out of it with having a European Credit Card which apparently was enough to prove enough funds to be allowed in. So again, booking a ticket which I was most probably not using? Good thing I remembered this one little thing someone told me a few weeks ago. There is a website (Returnflights.net ) which provides you with a service of giving you a flight confirmation which looks very convincing and real. You just fill out the dates and routing and then you get you booking confirmation. What a great idea for all the hassled and free-spirited travellers that don’t have fixed plans. Well, not saying I actually used this service 😇 but what a great idea. And yes, I made it on the plane… 😎

Sitting in the plane also showed me I actually miss flying myself. I would love to sit in the little GOMC again and fly a few turns… Let’s see how I can get some flight time in in the next weeks or month.

After a good nap in the hostel and a hot shower I started organising myself. What to do in Colombia now? Replying to messages and what you have to do. And then I found myself on the US Immigration website researching for requirements to get a visa and just started it. Now a little insight in the sometimes annoying traveler life: Besides the fact that they want to know quite a lot of details and it actually takes a bit of time to research some of the facts it can be the most frustrating thing to fill out a form which will reload every time after you fill in one piece of information and then crashes because the internet connection is not stable. One of the highlights in this process was answering the question “Which countries have you visited in the last 5 years?”. Seriously? In the last five years? I started filling out the form, selecting every single country one by one with a reload of the page between every entry. I think it took me about 1,5 hours to complete this single page. It probably also didn’t help that the count of the website told me 47 visited countries after I was done… 😂😂 The entire form took me about 4h to complete but now I have my photo and fingerprint appointment tomorrow and my interview the day after. I guess it’s official now. The PCT is my goal for this summer. Five month of – hopefully – undisturbed hiking being back in my tent and what I enjoy most – nature and mountains. I can also say that I feel happy with this decision. The restlessness of the last weeks has finally settled and it feels good to know where to go and what to do – especially knowing it’s going to be five month of hiking…😍 Also from a rational perspective (which probably and honestly didn’t play such a big role in the decision) all of the smaller things can still be done in a “normal” life – if I ever go back to it. But a five month hike will be difficult. And there is even a secret little plan for Iceland as well. Let’s see if it works out 🤙

PCT, I am coming!

 

%d bloggers like this: