Goodbye California

We made it! On Saturday, the 29th of July, exactly four months and four days after we started our journey at the Mexican border, we finally left California into Oregon!

Two proud hikers

Again, we cannot believe how lucky we are to experience this feeling; To be so blessed to escape fires and to avoid injuries; To make it through the Sierra Nevada and following big snow patches; To have a strong mentality and also the will to overstress your body. Thank you, California.

Follow our journey on Instagram!

But let us begin from where I last wrote to you: Mount Shasta. We left this vital hiker town and went out intending to make the next 100 miles to Etna within four days. A tough stretch, but we need to get some miles in to make it to Canada on time. We climbed the beautiful Castle Crags and because we came from town, of course, it was a bit later than usual and also very, very hot. Because of that, we had a very tough and hot climb that for the first time almost brought us to our limits. The scorching heat and no shade made us empty all our water and we were very happy to camel up on the next spring.

Long and hot days, but still a cool breeze up in Norcal

Let’s swim!

Talking about water: the last stretch to Oregon was filled with cool streams and lakes, where we could dip in and recharge our batteries within seconds. Nasty Cheese is a water baby and flies down the trail after a skinny dip. Swimming in the Sierra? We don’t need that! We got Norcal!

California is trying its best to keep us there. So beautiful

Also, we feel like we have the trail for us. We meet many Sobos, but the Sierra Bubble that is with us is quite small and we never have to worry about crowdy campsites or lakes. How good can the gods of fortune treat you?

Trinity Alps and Russian Wilderness

The second day to Etna was a hard one for me on a mental basis. For the first time on this hike, I listened to podcasts because sorry to say: I was bored! I know how that sounds, but it is true, I am a spoiled little hiker and somehow I had a bad day. But also the darkest hours go by and I could get over it. Mostly because we got into the Trinity Alps, followed by the Russian Wilderness!

Trinity Alps

I heard about them before, but never looked it up, and oh my god. The views, the picturesque landscape, and the gray mountaintops in the distance, how much did I miss that, how stunning was it to see them? Also, the Wilderness is crowded with little chipmunks that always let our hearts melt. These little upstanding tails are too cute.

Could something be any cuter?

Etna, a healthy little community

Whoever follows other fellow bloggers probably knows how nice a stay in Etna is. A small community in the far North of California. Molly, a 83-year-old former race car driver (according to her drifting skills downhill =D) showed us around this town, which has a free swimming pool, a park that allows hikers to camp, including showers and a charging station, bars, stores, and bakeries. What else would you need?

Russian Wilderness

We quickly resupplied here and had a hiker dinner in the park, together with “Lookout” and “Chainsaw”, a Slovenian hiker, and the American (finally an American hiker again!) “Rabbit” who also went all the way through the Sierra.

Altras are horrible

All together, we went back to the trail the next day and started doing our daily planned 25 miles. Since I had to switch to Altras in South Lake Tahoe to still be able to wear Crampons, I began having Achilles problems. Who wonders, people love them or hate them, because 50% start having these problems. Since my exchange back to Topos in Mt. Shasta, my Achilles was feeling better, but still not back to its old strength. I also had blisters for the first time since my start in Campo around the heels.

Blue mountains in the early mornings are our favorite

Having these two sources of pain, a yellowjacket decided to give me a third source of pain and crawled underneath my gaiter. I don’t know how it got in there, but that stitch hurt a lot and made my body react in a way that it sent all its healing power in this direction and accidentally healed my Achilles as well. In Germany we call it: luck while having bad luck. I don’t mind that.

A zoo called Norcal

When we road walked into Seiad Valley, we had seen the whole Norcal Fauna: wild turkeys, grouses, approx. 50 deers, more (green) rattlesnakes, little colorful snakes, and finally one blonde black bear (sadly just for Nasty cheese =( ).

Trees give shade, but they also block the view

Seiad Valley had kind of a cool vibe, as it was remote, with a dusty old general store and a very American breakfast diner. No, we did not try the pancake challenge, but we know that “bubbles” will do it. A huge young man from Bavaria who should be there while I am typing this report.

Our actual strategy is, to resupply for just a few days, max. four, to cover a bigger amount of miles. With food worth another three days in our packs and a much too-long break at the breakfast diner, we went out to tackle the infamous climb out of Seiad.

Record player Needle scratch

We roadwalked.

Yeah, sorry to disappoint you, but I wanna be honest with you, and it was what sounded to be the best option for us. It was really hot, the climb was moderate, and we had a waterfall almost all the way up to cool our bodies down. We could also stuff our faces with blackberries and I found a huge wild turkey feather. How much more signs do you need to know that you did the right decision?

Goodbye California

The next day it finally happened: at 1:00 p.m., we jumped across the border of Oregon. What an achievement! We celebrated ourselves like rock stars for being able to stay Nobo all the way up here and had some whiskey and beer.


But because we already rested too long at the Donomore Cabin, there was no time to relax for too long. We had to carry on and get enough mileage in to reach Ashland at noon the next day. There we would have to do a double zero to prepare our resupply boxes for Oregon and Washington.

Donomore Cabin, or is it Heidi’s Hut?

Oregon you beauty

The landscape changed immediately. Wide views, blue hills in the morning, new plants, and Shasta in the far distance, watching our journey and slowly saying goodbye to his kids, five really dirty hikers, who would cravy nothing more than a shower and a laundry.

Resupply can lead to serious burnouts

Tired but happy, we stopped a couple by the road, who were so kind to drive us into town and to Medford the next day. People treat us like super Sportsmen, but we are just normal walking people with a big dream: reaching the bridge of gods and after that: Canada

Best wishes go out to Rita and Bill for helping us so much and treating us like their kids. Also a big shout out to Glen, who as well chatted with us and then commented here on the Trek, because he googled my Trailname! 😀 

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Comments 22

  • Tom : Aug 2nd

    Congratulations on reaching Oregon. As you noted, total strangers will help you and what a boost that must be. From trail magic or just a ride to town, MOST people will go out of their way to help. Besides all the scenic wonders, help from local people must be special.

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      Thanks Tom! As always you are the first to comment. Thank you for following all along. You are a digital Trailangel 😀

    • Jamie Mallory : Aug 5th

      What a fantastic article. I am here in Washington State at the mouth opening of the Cascades and meet many people walking the PCT. They are all fascinating with rich stories on what led them to this calling. Keep this dream alive and good luck on your many travels.❤️

  • Susie : Aug 2nd

    Wow–Big Congrats & Welcome to OR!! (Hope fires/smoke will get under control & let you enjoy OR’s Cascade Beauty)
    Good Wishes

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      Hey Susie, we hope that too and that we’ll be able to finish this hike in one piece

  • Louise Brannon : Aug 2nd

    I grew up partly in Seiad, so I totally understand you walking up Seiad Creek Road instead of tackling the trail to Lower Devils and beyond. You missed some amazing views, but of course you have had many of those and there will be many more. And I envy you the trip along the Siskiyou Crest.

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      You are absoutey right about the views, but the waterfall was too nice.

  • Renee Smith : Aug 2nd

    You guys are awesome….

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      Aaaw thanks Renee!

  • Michael W, Meredith : Aug 2nd


    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      Well you seem to! 😀 Thanks for the comment, any traffic counts! =)

    • Rich : Aug 4th

      Hello Refill,
      You’re famous! Your note popped into my feed. You’re doing great. A lot of smoke in Oregon, I’ll think good thoughts for you and your friends.
      Going up to the Trinity Alps next week!

  • Glenn & Carol : Aug 2nd

    We’re back to actually say congrats on reaching Oregon and we enjoyed talking to you and Nasty Cheese near Grouse Gap. Look forward to following along on the rest of your hike. Enjoy Oregon while here and stay safe.

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : Aug 4th

      Thank you both! We heard that Ashland is now a bit smokey, and we also had a bit of that, but we are through that now. Wish us luck to escaoe any fires!

  • Junie : Aug 4th

    Just finished Section G in Oregon, no bugs, beautiful views, the Paradise loop near Timberline has massive wildflowers, waterfalls everywhere you look.
    Viel Spaß!

  • Kk : Aug 5th

    Altras are a zero drop shoe and Topos are typically not. That likely explains why your Achilles hurt. Unless you train and build up to them, it can cause injury. Most people wear shoes with some type of drop, meaning the heel is 10-13mm higher than the toe box. The higher the drop, the easier it is on your Achilles.

    Altras aren’t horrible. They just aren’t for everyone. I happen to love them for day hikes.

    • Bob : Aug 26th

      As a physical therapist I can confirm this.

  • Kerry : Aug 5th

    I stumbled on your blog and appreciate the details of the good and the challenges while you pursue Canada via the PCT. Congratulations on making it to Oregon! You really are heroes!

  • Lou : Aug 5th

    Just came across this page detailing some of your amazing experiences. Can’t wait to follow the rest of your adventures! The pics are beautiful. Safe travels!

  • John : Aug 6th

    I’m glad you were able to at least stay on the west coast.

  • Bob : Aug 26th

    As a physical therapist I can confirm this.


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