The last days and reaching the finishline; Canada!!

The last section! From Stehekin to the Canadian border and back to Hart's Pass; 4 days 112 miles / 179,2 km. 

 Out from Stehekin  

Out from Stehekin  

It is always hard to get out on trail after a zero, maybe especially after this one, but we had decided to head a last time to the bakery for breakfast and hiked quite happily the two miles up there, packs full ready for a new section and stomachs empty.

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After filling our bellies one last time in the bakery we hiked out. After talking to the locals we had decided to take an alternate route up and over McAlester pass that would also give us an extra 5000 vertical feet, but hey, we love views don't we?! It was hard, legs still tired and stiff after resting the day before. It turned out to be an exhausting day with no spectacular views and mostly "BOregon" (our nickname for South Oregon) all over again and we struggled to keep the motivation up. The last few miles into Rainy pass we kept ourselves entertained by talking about food. Our favorite passtime activity. Finally at Rainy pass and the campground sucked big-time, in between the smelly outhouse and the highway. We pitched our tents and hoped the next day would bring more motivation. 

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The next morning we climbed out of Rainy pass and up, up, up to discover the North Cascades unfolding in all it's magnificence. A sea of mountains. Breathtaking and pristine. We just sit and take it all in. Such infinite beauty. 

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 What an excellent place for a family photo!  

What an excellent place for a family photo!  

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We have decided to push a 30 mile day and reach Hart's Pass. The day gives us so many wonderful views and the scenery is just amazing. It proves to be a long day, but our spirits are high and we talk and laugh, whistle to marmots and laugh again.

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We hike into Hart's Pass quite late, happy to have found water in a creek nearby and with aching joints and feet. 31 miles/ 50 km takes it's toll but reaching camp always gives us smiling faces. We are pleased with ourselves, our first 30 turned out to be a pretty great 31 mile day. Go us!!

 

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Since I decided to hike to the northern terminus of the PCT and don't have the PCT entry to Canada permit, I can't cross the border into Canada and Manning Park with the others. I therefore decide to leave a bunch of my gear with the Ranger at Hart's Pass and almost slackpack to the border, just bringing food and shelter, tag the monument and hike back the 30 miles again to the pass. Our plan is to hike and camp a few miles from the border, tag the monument the next morning and then part ways; my family into Canada and me heading back.

I already dread the moment of goodbye, but strive to keep myself happy and enjoy the last day. Even though I strived; there were moments of tears on trail that day.

 My pack slimmed down to almost nothing. Thata girl! 

My pack slimmed down to almost nothing. Thata girl! 

After lunch we decide to take an alternate trail along a steep ridge to save us some vertical feet and time. We feel smart and happily stroll past the "trail abandoned" sign. It turned out that the trail was abandoned for a reason and we soon found ourselves trapped in the rocky mountainside with no trail and a too risky turnaround. With shaky feet we decide to traverse down and end up using 1,5 hour on 1 mile of trail.. Exhausted we hike on the last 10 miles to camp. Bites and Radio took the same trail, but were able to turn around before it got too bad. Smart. We were all glad to be safe and sound together in camp that night.

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On our way we met a couple with their two packllamas; Llamarama and Llamakazee. Llamaazee did not like hiking and was left behind in a meadow to be picked up on their way home! 

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The sight of llamas made me ridiculously happy!  

  Just beauty

 Just beauty

 Feet after a long hikingday; kinda grimy.. 

Feet after a long hikingday; kinda grimy.. 

 I had just brought my rainfly as shelter and staked it up with my stakes and trekkingpoles. It worked out excellently! Versatile Agnes!  

I had just brought my rainfly as shelter and staked it up with my stakes and trekkingpoles. It worked out excellently! Versatile Agnes!  

Alarm rang at our normal 05:00 the next morning and we packed up, last breakfast together and off towards the border. All excited and ready to get there. After an easy 3,4 miles we could see the clearcut through the forest and the monument appeared in a little clearing.  

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 The PCT register is hidden inside the border column. 

The PCT register is hidden inside the border column. 

 Radio excited to find the book! 

Radio excited to find the book! 

Wow! We ran and all felt the awe. It was a moment filled with feelings of accomplishment, tears of happiness and sadness. We all had reached it, Mama bear and Patchy done with over 2000 miles; now heading back to finish their miles in the Sierras, Radio and Bites finished with Oregon and Washington; now heading south to finish California southbound and me done, 1600 km in 53 days! only 30 miles left. 

 Such good hikingbuddies; Radio and Bites!  

Such good hikingbuddies; Radio and Bites!  

Pictures were taken, dancing and jumping around the monument was done, writing in the PCT register, smiling and celebrating. Then the moment was come to say goodbye. I had a long 30 miles still in front of me back to Hart's Pass. My family was heading to Manning Park. 

 Family forever  

Family forever  

It was an emotional moment. Maybe the hardest goodbye I have ever done. After spending all hours of the day over 1,5 month and 950 miles together it felt surreal that it was over. So many tears. So long hugs. So much love. I could never have gotten a more amazing trailfamily. Mama bear ; the most wonderful, loving, badass superwoman and Patchy; which made me laugh ridiculously every day on trail, my dearest forever friend and the kindest person I have ever had the pleasure to get to know. We have stood by each other every day, for miles and miles and I have never one minute wanted to be with anyone else. They are my family now and forever. We have shared life in it's purest form and experienced true happiness and bliss. We are forever bound together. I am beyond grateful.  

 I made it!!!  

I made it!!!  

My goal was reached and I hiked away with tears in my eyes. Everything felt surreal. I was soon finished.

Happiness ❤

So second section done! Crater Lake to Shelter Cove; 80 miles / 128 km in 4 days. Yey! We're rollin'. Still hanging with my wonderful trailfamily and feeling extremely grateful. 

Getting the coolest hitch up to the Crater Lake rim, a Swiss couple that gave us Coke and beer and were just the nicest people. Moments like this makes you still believe in humanity.

We hiked the Rim trail. Wow, Crater Lake is just amazing! Blue and clear and just beautiful. Pure bliss! Sunny day, we hiked up and up to "The watchman" our highest point on trail in Oregon. Breathtaking views in all directions and a perfect place for lunch.  

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The benefit of climbing a high point and snow is the ridiculous fun of getting to glassade down the mountainside; yes!! Superfast and superfun!!  

Hiked two days up and down in snow and mosquitoes. So so hard. Miles and miles without water. Pushing on with a lot of liters in our packs. Water is rare and when we find a pond, creek or spring we camel up and drink as much as we can and fill up all we have of bottles and bladders. Then we hike on. Snacks in our pockets. Energy. Stiff joints but happy faces. Laughing. We hike on. And hike on. Miles and miles. Then camp. Yes! We made it! Again. Shoes off. Assessing the blisters. Tent up. Dinner. Fighting mosquitoes while peeing. Sleeping bag. Out. And repeat. And it feels like pure bliss. 

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The two last days was excellent snowfree fast hiking. Mosquitoes has been baaad!! Sworms! No breaks. Eating while walking. But beautiful lakes to swim in. Finally!! Wow, head under water, clean toes, all clothes hanging on clotheslines around camp. Hiking on. 

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 Oasis is close!! Shelter Cove appears in the forest by a huge lake, with pizza, beer, showers, smoothies, wifi, rest. Much needed rest on a tired body and sore blisters. Laying flat on the pier and laughing around the fire. This zeroday was so needed and I enjoy every minute of it. 

Being out here is like living in a parallel reality. I couldn't be happier. I actually think I have never been happier in my whole life. Thank you trail ❤

Next update in 5 days in Big Lake!  

(Wifi is unfortunately bad, so not so many pictures this time.. Will post more next time hopefully!)

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I am in it! Ashland to Crater Lake - 177 km in 5,5 days

Wow! I am in it! The trail got me now! Done with my first section; Ashland to Crater Lake. This last week has been all of the things; joy, hard work, solitude, loneliness, togetherness, smiles, laughter, pain, hunger, thirst, exhaustion, trees and views and wonderful people. 

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Started out from Ashland alone and was planning to go slow. I am not so good at slow obviously. So I hiked on, mostly forest the first days, felt good to walk finally! Big trees, easy trail, heavy pack. My first night sleeping alone in the tent, yikes, freaked completely out, no humans in miles, animals moving around everywhere, my headlamp on and off trying to scare away imaginative ( or not) bears. Feeling ridiculous in the morning having breakfast with a deer munching leaves beside me. 

 Well, hiked on. Long day 2 and far to water. After dragging myself the last two miles I could not have been happier to see tents, people and running water. This was my first meeting with Mama Bear, Patchy and So good and we laughed around the fire. Can't believe how fast a situation can turn from complete exhaustion to pure happiness. 

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 We woke up, the tents and sleeping bags completely soaking wet from condensation. Yey. Crawling out of the tent; completely stiff. Downjacket and hat on. Make coffee. Suddenly everything feels better! Pack up camp. Hike. First hour pain, then robotmode is on and I hike for hours without a break. Eating while walking. On and on through forest and lavafields. 5 minutes meditation with ants crawling in my drying sweat. Energy-gel, water, hiking on. Goal: Fish Lake; people, rootbeer and ice-cream. I make it! Reward is a rootbeer float, chili-cheese fries with the best company. Ending the day camping on a spot with a trailangel making wonderful food for us and being handed a beer from a friend. Bliss!

The trailangel Chef makes cheese-omelettes for breakfast and I hike out grateful on a full stomach. I hike all day alone through dead forest, blowdowned trees and sworms of mosquitoes. It was horrible! I just hiked and hiked. I was creeped out from that forest. Finally after a whole day of walking and no breaks because of all the mosquitoes the trail started to climb. Up, up and away from that haunted place. I fall exhausted into a campsite, make dinner and collapse in the tent. I can't sleep, don't like camping alone... Miss my love and wish for morning to come..

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Next morning; raingear on for mosquitoeprotection. Packing up camp and hike on fast. I catch up with Mama Bear, Patchy and So good and decide to try and hang on to them. We hike the alternate up around Devils Peak. So much snow!! What?! We step in each others steps in the snow along the ridges and get the reward to slide down the hill saving a mile and getting to laugh ridiculously. 

We hike on in the snow, it is hard, body is in pain,I hike on pure will, downed trees everywhere. I can't believe we will ever get there. But one step in front of the other one more day and we get there! Mazama Village here we come!! Yey! The bliss of getting to sivilisation, people and a store! I pick up my resupplypackage, buy rootbeer and candy and we smile and drink beer and just feel like everything was worth it. Wow, life!!! 

I am excited to meet my friend Lindsay here, that woofed at Lykkebo 3 years ago. She works up here for the summer and has offered me to stay in her house for the night.  I get to shower and eat and sleep in a bed. Now I am resting my feet, blogging and talk to loved ones. 

I am good!!! See you in a week folks!!  

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Great news! Opportunities and wildhearts

Countdown has started. Less than three weeks to go. Right now I feel like I am on top of things. My head above water. It feels surreal. 

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I am also  excited to be invited to be one of the 2017 thruhiker bloggers on the website The Trek which is the king of trailwebsites for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian trail. Thank you Zach Davis (Badger) and Maggie Slepian! I will strive to do my best! So follow me on www.thetrek.co also! Lots of great bloggers and fun reading. I feel really honored to be a part of their team.

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A few weeks ago I also had the pleasure of being part of a photoproject of one of my wonderful friends. The project is about Wildhearts; your inner wild woman, about finding your inner strength. We spent an afternoon at the beach in the magic hour before the sunset. My friend is such an excellent photographer and it was a pleasure. So many beautiful pictures. I would really recommend you to take a look at her work at www.wildandfree.no and www.mariavatne.no.

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I will blog about my food and resupply in a few days! And a post for The Trek is coming up! Meanwhile enjoy this amazing video about the trail. It touched my heart and made me feel even more excited about the hike. 

Long hike - new gear! Yey! The inevitable gearlist

Time has come to talk about gear. There are so many gearlists out there, but admit it; we all need it and we are all interested in it, maybe some a little bit obsessed with it.

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I am not obsessed with it, but definitely interested in having good gear. Lightweight and functional. Fitting and good quality. When I decided to hike the PCT I already had some gear since I love the outdoors and had done lots of backpacking. But it was not very lightweight and the fear of hiking miles and miles with a too heavy pack I realized I would need to replace some of it to ease my packweight. So after a thorough research on all of the hikerblogs I replaced the big four; shelter, pack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. And then one thing followed another and through the year I have added one and one thing to complete my optimal gearlist. Right now I feel pretty pleased with it and my backpacking testrounds has made me feel familiar and comfortable with all of it. Already walked many miles with my pack and it distributes the weight really well. Thank you to the staff at REI in Olympia, WA, for excellent customer service and lots of patience and competence on packfitting! Wouldn't have found the perfect pack without them. Had the pleasure of getting help from the cutest and most skilled old mountaineer and we had an amusing time putting up the tent and trying out sleepingbags.

Well, departure in three weeks and last minute changes can happen, but here it goes; 

The big four:

Shelter: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 

Sleeping bag: REI Joule Woman Down regular

Sleeping pad: Ajungilak mammut air

Backpack: Deuter woman 60+10

Clothing:

  • Icebreaker hipster underwear merinowool x2
  • Icebreaker Sprite sportsbra merinowool
  • Devold of Norway thin longsleeve merinowool
  • Kari Traa thin long bottoms merinowool
  • Mountain Hardwear Ghost whisperer UL downjacket
  • Bergans of Norway UL woman rainjacket
  • UL rainpants
  • Salomon Fast wing synthetic running shorts
  • Rab Crimp synthetic fast dry t-shirt
  • Bandana
  • Sun hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Thin wool hat
  • Thin wool mittens
  • Clothing stuff sack

Footwear:

  • Altra Lone Peak 3.0 running shoes
  • Injinjii toe socks x2 (one pair merinowool, one pair synthetic)
  • Altra gaiters

Cooking:

  • Jetboil Minimo with included cooking pot
  • Fuel
  • Sea to summit titanium spoon
  • Silicone cup
  • Sea to summit 4l water bladder
  • Life straw water bottle 1l
  • Sawyer Squeeze water filter
  • Aquamira water purifying drops (as backup)

Other stuff:

  • Black Diamond Spot headlamp
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Trekking poles
  • Bug headnet
  • Dental floss with needle inside
  • Duct tape (wrapped around my trekking poles)
  • Compass Brunton Truarc
  • Maps; overview maps and section papermaps. Will also have the apps Halfmile and Guthook.
  • PCT-permit, ATM-card, insurance card, cash, credit card and passport.
  • Phone, headphones and charger. Extra memorycard.
  • Powerbank 10k + 6k
  • Journal with important phonenumbers and resupplyadresses and pen
  • trowel
  • Stuffsack for these items

Hygiene and health:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • First Aid survival kit
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Blistercare
  • Band aids
  • Sports tape
  • Painkillers Ibuprofen or similar
  • Anti diarrhea pills
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hairbands
  • Antibiotics
  • Ziplock bag for these items
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Alone - why not..?

People ask me so many questions about my hike. Why do I need to do it? Why on earth do I want to hike for so many miles? Why do I want to suffer? Am I not afraid? What do I want to get out of it? Do I think I will "find myself"? And so on. I like people asking questions. I cherish curiosity and answer the best I can. Yes, I do it because I cherish solitude and I love nature and no, I am not afraid. Byron says it perfectly ;

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society where none intrudes, By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not human the less, but Nature more." 

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The question I get most often is; Am I really hiking by myself? Alone? But why? Really? But am I not afraid to be a woman alone in the wilderness??  The answer is no. I am not afraid. I can't wait to be alone. And if I was to be a woman alone anywhere I would much rather be a woman alone in the wilderness than in a city. I have never seen myself different than a man. I can do all of the things. I don't put boundaries on myself just because I am a woman. There is no difference. Actually I think it is pretty cool to be a woman. And I will do this hike for all women, all women with dreams and goals and invincible powers. This hike is for all of you.  

These women are already out there. Brings tears to my eyes. I love this video!! You go girls.  See you out there!

Inspiration and passion - about mental preparation.

I thought I would write a post about mental preparation and how I am preparing for the hike. Because hiking almost half the way through the US will be as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge I have prepared and are still preparing myself to endure it.

The forest and the sea has always been my sanctuary. A place to seek refuge and peace. Alone or with my animals. The healing energies of trees and the forever rolling swells of the sea. Being and walking in these sceneries always brings clarity, new strength, calmness and happiness. The healing of nature has also brought me to the trail and given me strength to believe I can make it.

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I think I have done a lot of the mental preparation for the hike in general in this thing we call life. Being a vessel for new life and birthing my three wonderful kids into this world is one of them. The sum of 27 months of pregnancy all together while running a farm at the same time has given me quite some stamina. Surviving the struggles of a period of mental depression barely able to get up in the morning for a year. Leaving the one I had lived with for 16 years and never doubting in all the pain that I made the right decision. Standing tall in the midst of the storm of other people's judgement and opinions. Keeping myself calm and together when everything was kaos. Thinking of it life has thrown me quite a lot and I am deeply thankful. Thankful for where it has led me today. Thankful for forcing me to make choices for myself. To get to know myself better. To prioritize myself. And to give me the belief that everything is possible. Thankful for the strength to endure. To have a big heart. To forgive. To love. With all of me. To believe in myself and make me feel brave every day.

Key number two is inspiration! Inspiration gives energy, faith and happiness! And passion! I have a lot of passion. It leads me to fantastic places and lets me meet amazing people all over the world. I definitely have a passion for books, and reading people's stories and experiences about the PCT has inspired me tremendously. Carrot Quinn; my heroinne! Cheryl Strayed, the Hikertrash people, Nicole Antoinette on Real Talk Radio; check her out. So good. And of course Zach Davies' Pacific Crest Trials. Loving it, using it. Making lists of "why am I doing this?" now so I can read it on trail when I lie there half dead in my tent with blisters, two toenails less and 400 mosquitobites.... and no more food..

I love this quote from the French writer René Daumal:

You cannot stay on the summit forever, you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

I am ready to see. I am ready.

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