California Dreamin’

Circumstances really have changed since the last entry. After some amazing months of traveling and climbing with Matt and Kevin in the end both of them had to return to Germany. Julia arrived in the middle of October in San Francisco in order to travel the next 4 ½ months with me. We spent the next week in the Bay Area (SF and Berkeley just east of it) and had some nice days in downtown San Francisco, visiting Alcatraz, walking to the Golden Gate Bridge, riding the world famous historic cable cars and hanging out at a street festival in the mission district. But most of the time was needed to get prepared for the following months, which means: shopping! Julia needed appropriate outdoor wear, hiking boots and due to her tiny hands a new junior guitar.

Moreover, it was time to buy new tires for the van because there was a screw stuck in the tire and they were completely worn out. In the end of the week, I was happy to finally leave the city (too many people) and head towards Yosemite National Park and nature including the simple life again. We arrived in the morning and were lucky to get a campsite at camp 4. While waiting in line we met Martin and enjoyed his company the next two weeks. He taught us the proper way of Yosemite dirtbagging. After pitching the tent we thought it would be nice to do some relaxed hiking in the afternoon and decided to do the ‘short’ four-mile-trail. Well, actually it was no loop and had a length of eight miles and an elevation gain of 3000ft. Due to the incoming darkness we had to turn around after two thirds of the way up, but we had an amazing view over the valley anyway.We had two awesome but sometimes cold weeks in Yosemite but fortunately it wasn’t too hard to get free coffee and tea at some nice spots in the park. The days passed by fast while bouldering, hiking, slacklining and nice evenings at the campfire with awesome people from all over the world sharing experiences, beer and s’mores. After the first week we got to know Aine and Vali from Germany who are globetrotting and it turned out that they had to go to Los Angeles which was just on our route, so we decided to travel down the west coast together.

The first stop was in Santa Barbara, a nice small city with Mexican flair. Even the surrounding of Santa Barbara was so pretty and the weather was so perfect that Julia decided to make a long dream come true there: skydiving! We found a nice spot which offered tandem jumps and I decided spontaneously to join. After signing maybe forty times that we know the risk of dying caused by skydiving, we took the plane to get up in the air to an altitude of 13000ft. The emotions when you get kicked out of the small plane and the feeling during the fall is impossible to describe, it’s just incredible!

After this amazing experience we had to stay in the area of Santa Barbara some additional days and got in touch with the terrible incompetence of employees of American post offices. Anyway, at least the problem was solved and we could go on south to Los Angeles. It was a pity that we had to say goodbye to our German companions after we arrived. We really had a cool time together!

We took the offer of Heather, who we met in Camp 4 some weeks ago, to stay at her house during our time in LA. As a thank you, we cooked some original German pancakes and received an original German Christstollen in return. We had a nice time in LA, visiting the Walk of Fame, the art district, Little Tokyo and so on.

The next stop was San Diego, where we did a nice walk at the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve and had dinner at La Jolla cove with a stunning view. Below are some impressions of the sunset in San Diego! Unfortunately we had to move into the van for dinner after a short while because of all those annoying seagulls which tried to steal our food all the time.

After all the lazy time at the coast we shared the opinion that it’s time to go on to Joshua Tree National Park in order to do some climbing again! The desert offered a beautiful landscape with the famous Joshua Trees and smalls hills built out of rocks. Actually, the only thing you could do here was climbing. The NP offered some nice and for Julia even easier problems. But there is one extraordinary thing about Joshua Tree: the night sky. You could see this uncountable amount of stars so clearly that you couldn’t believe that it’s the same sky like in every other night. Fortunately I was able to take some night sky photos.

Our time in Joshua Tree was especially enlightened through the people we spent the time with. During my first stay in Yosemite I meet Chris and Kati and Julia and I met them again in Joshua Tree. They also had some French friends with them, Sebastien and Lydie. We had a great time with all of them and enjoyed their company a lot. I hope we meet again when we are back in Europe!

After some cool climbing days in the southern Californian desert it was time to move on. Next stop: Sequoia National Park. We spend two days up there and slept in between the Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia National Park. This night was reasonably cold, because we were almost above timberline and it just snowed up there. We saw the giant redwood forest and got some hiking done. Our planning was kind of unfortunate, because we had to drive up to Sequoia from Joshua Tree. That took us round about 6h, the drive from Sequoia to Bishop another 5h. The direct connection from Joshua Tree to Bishop would have taken us about 4 ½h. But now we are here and enjoy the bouldering. Julia found some fun lines and projects for her and all the world class boulders keep me busy as well.
We wish you great holidays and merry Christmas!

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