This morning went differently to the expected. Well, maybe not completely. Without talking about it we hadn’t set an alarm but let our bodies decide about when it was time to get up. But when we woke up Kaylee felt worse again – coughing, hot and just weak. Not good.

And something was in the air. Not spoken out yet but still tangible somehow. I asked her what she wanted to do now. More rest? And then she said it. She doesn’t want to hike anymore. She feels too weak. And she just doesn’t enjoy hiking anymore. Not even yesterday where the landscape was so stunning. The last week she had fought with this feeling every day. Some moments it was better in others it was worse. Even though we had talked about it and it did not come as a real surprise I still didn’t expect it to happen and not today.
She herself is torn. Torn between the will to finish and going to Canada and on the other side listening to her body and mind which are saying “I don’t like this anymore”. I told her that I could try to help her by making the hike more enjoyable, more breaks or other things in between. But walking she had to do by herself. And also the will to continue was something I couldn’t “produce”. It’s a very difficult call. Especially after having hiked for 2,000 miles already and only having 750 left. But it is what it is. It is a personal journey. And it’s not really about getting to Canada. If you along the way realise that you are in the wrong place and you don’t enjoy yourself then you should not continue. A very tough call. Something which also Matthias did earlier in the season. It takes a lot of strength to stop and not to do what others and yourself maybe expected you to do. Failure of not making it to Canada. I don’t think that’s what it is. Same as Pengu’s story – it is about finding your environment and of course to “Do What Make Good”…

After breakfast she had decided to try to stay with her cousin in South Lake Tahoe – 75 miles from here. He had expected us already and wanted to host and hike with us for a bit. By this she had time to recover and think about how to continue with a bit of distance. Not having to do what you feel that you don’t like makes it easier to take a rational decision – I guess.

Even though we knew that we would see each other in only two or three days again and nothing was decided on it was a tough good bye. We have spent the last 2.5 month together – every day. The longest we had been separated from each other was probably half an hour. Hiking together is very intense. Your personal space almost doesn’t exist if you hike with someone. You share everything. From moods over smells to food but of course also views, happenings, a lot of joy and fun. It was a long and big hug before I went up the road to catch a ride back to the trail and she went back to the porch to wait for her cousin.
When I got to the road Flame was still sitting there waiting for a ride. Nothing for 45 minutes. Very unusual. Maybe because she was using the wrong sign???

Quiet a while later someone had mercy with us and took us to the trial. We wished each other “Happy Trails” and set off into different directions.

For me the first time on the PCT that I really hiked on my own. So far I had either hiked in bigger or smaller groups or with Kaylee. It was weird. Not to follow someone – that’s how we had always hiked. Kaylee in front so she was able to set the pace and I wouldn’t run off. Now there was nobody in front. Nobody to share thoughts with. Nobody who would request a break and you would be happy to have an excuse to stop as well. I guess on the one hand side we had become an amazing team – sharing tasks, planning, doing but also enjoying this hike which made it so much fun. And on the other hand I guess as Janet Jackson once sang “Don’t know what you got till it’s gone”…

This day was weird.


Even my first bear sighting couldn’t really cheer me up. A mother with her cub was sitting right on the trail when I came over a little saddle. Not a good situation. I gave them space and made a lot of noise talking to them in deep and loud voice and tried to appear as big as I could. Not easy if you only have a 157 pounds left 😂. But it was enough to scare them off. I saw the cub running up hill when I passed them – extremely cute. I guess I will be able to appreciate more tomorrow.