For the past month we’ve been focused on enjoying California, visiting friends and family in Germany, celebrating a friend’s wedding in Sweden and enjoying Budapest with friends at the Sziget music festival. We’ve been stormed off Mount Whitney (the highest peak in the continental US), drank boots of beer with great friends in San Francisco, watched two great people get married looking out over the water in Stockholm, swam laps with Jakob’s 91-year old grandmother, stayed up until 5AM in Budapest with friends while dancing our faces off. We’ve made a lot of great memories over the past 4 weeks and apologize for not sharing any of it with you earlier!
Rewinding to California… We drove into California through Death Valley. Temperatures were as high as 125 degrees. The car held up great, but it was too hot for us and especially Leika. After seeing a group of people running an ultramarathon and driving through the park, we were ready for some activity. We headed north towards Lone Pine, CA to hike Mount Whitney. I always thought permits for the hike were really difficult to get, but when we pulled up to the permit office, they had plenty for the following day. Dogs are actually allowed on most of the hike, up to the saddle, which is only 3 miles from the peak and where the National Park starts. Nonetheless we decided to leave Leika with a dog sitter who was recommended to us. The woman lived near the base of the mountains and was more than happy to take Leika in on a very last minute notice. She had a large fenced-in yard with 3 of her own dogs and after seeing how Leika took to the other dogs, we felt very happy about leaving her there and headed up towards the campsite at the base of Mount Whitney. After getting to bed early and a 3AM wake up, we headed up the mountain. We were making great time and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. As the sun rose we were at around 13,000ft and could see some clouds beginning to roll in. We kept an eye on them but continued. Shortly later a storm came in incredibly quickly with some lightning and hail. We waited 30 minutes after the storm passed through and continued up only for the storm to roll in a second time, much stronger than the first. We were at around 12,500ft when this happened and it was incredibly uncomfortable. At that elevation, you’re truly in the clouds and seeing lightning strike around you while you’re on a relatively exposed face without shelter is not a great feeling. We descended as quickly as possible, pretty much running down. As we got to lower elevation we finally found some shelter from trees and out of the clouds. Randomly enough, near where we decided to turn around, I ran into an old friend from my days at Apple! Small world…
We picked Leika up and while she was thrilled to see us, she was tired from playing with the other dogs all day and night. If you plan on doing Whitney and have a dog, we highly recommend leaving you pup with this woman – she charges only $10 per 24 hours but we gave her $20 – she was great. Message us and we’ll get you her info or just ask at either the Permits office or at the store downtown called Elevation for her contact info.
After that experience we continued north on highway 395. The next few days we spent in North Lake Tahoe riding the Flume Trail, driving on Henness Pass Road, hiking Granite Chief in Squaw Valley and enjoying Truckee. We then took off towards the Trinity Alps. There we got a 3-day backcountry permit for free and headed out towards Big Flat Campground. The first day we hiked to Caribou Lake. The second day we hiked over a steep ridge to Portuguese Camp and then to Emerald and Sapphire Lakes where we took a nice swim and forced Leika in as well. We then backtracked a little past Portuguese Camp and continued to our camp spot for the night in the Morris Meadow. The last day we hiked the Tri-Forest trai, across another saddle and back to our car where we took a small ‘bath’ in the stream.
The next two days we drove south along the coast, stopping at a few breweries (Mad River and Russian River, both highly recommended), heading towards San Francisco!
We spent a week in San Francisco visiting friends and enjoying the city. Being back was great and made me really miss the people and city. Hope to be back soon for a more permanent stay!
Next, we had to pack up our things and Leika for a quick “vacation” from our trip to Europe. We were very nervous about flying Leika for 10 hours, but she did amazing. She had a bunch of energy after the flight (probably sleeping the whole time) but didn’t seem to be bothered by the flight at all. We spent the first few days near Frankfurt visiting Jakob’s family. His sister was visiting from Leipzig, so it was great that his whole family could be there. We then took off to Stockholm for a friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, looking over the water and great to see the group all together again. (Congrats Johan and Malin!!!) We clearly enjoyed our time celebrating there and were exhausted as we flew back to Frankfurt. When we got back to Jakob’s parents, we found them beyond excited about Leika! It was great to see how happy they were about having her around and also how happy she was there.
The next day we rented a car and left for the south of Germany to visit Jakob’s grandmother, uncle, cousin and cousin-in-law! We went for a morning swim with his grandmother and uncle the first morning. Yes, his grandmother is 91 years old and swims almost every day! With that said, swimming isn’t exactly my thing but I decided to give it a go and had a great time. Later that day his uncle took us for a hike where we collected parasol mushrooms, which we later ate for dinner. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t amazing the rest of our stay there but we made the best of it and spent as much time as possible with his family. After a few days, we left to Budapest to meet up with a group of friends coming in from London, Dublin and Berlin for the Sziget music festival. First, Budapest is an amazing city. It’s not only beautiful, but the people are incredibly friendly, lots of history, great restaurants and cheap. It was a group of 9 of us and everyone was a blast and enjoying the music, company, food and drinks. Hopefully we do it again next year.
After getting back to Frankfurt, our friend Jan came to visit! The 2nd time we were able to see him since we started this road trip. We spent the last few days in Germany with Jakob’s parents, trying to spend as much time with them as possible. It was really great to see his parents and although I don’t speak German (YET!), we’re somehow able to communicate more with each visit. Back in the states, we miss them already.
I realize this update could have covered about 4 blog posts with more detail. We’ll try to be better about it!