Sunday, April 20, 2014

Springtime in Germany

Next week I'll be sitting on a plane from Frankfurt to San Diego. Next week I'll attend the ADZPCTKO in the desert of SoCal. Next week I'll start hauling my stinking backpack from Mexico towards Canada. Next week, next week, next week! How about doing some hiking right now? So yeah, that's what I did. Some last-minute gear changes made that inevitable. Time to get moving.

Now, I don't know what exactly you were expecting, but first off let me tell you that Germany is not the Sonoran Desert. Neither is it the Sierra Nevada or the Northern Cascades, but if you know the right places it can be pretty delightful, too. In this case I did a short section of about 40 km (25 miles) on a local trail called Natursteig Sieg. Trails like this one can be a good example of the difference between measuring distances here in Germany and in the United States. The Natursteig Sieg is about 115 km (71 miles) in total length, yet they call it a long-distance trail. I guess a hundred kilometers is quite something, according to European standards.

I was fortunate enough to start my hike in sunny spring weather. Warm temperatures, yet not too hot for hiking made my trip pretty convenient. Camping down at the river bank got a bit cold in the early morning hours, though. Good thing my new sleeping bag kept me warm, but even if that fails I still have my long johns. Or I could just set my tent on fire. Or maybe myself. "Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life", they say.

After I packed in my camping gear the next morning I was in for a surprise when I got ready for breakfast. I was looking forward to some jam sandwiches, but when I opened the jar (which I bought on my last hiking trip a couple of weeks ago), its contents somehow resembled Slimer from the movie Ghostbusters, both in color and consistency. Well, mashed potatoes for breakfast it is then.

Later, when I was hiking down a ridge, I startled a fox trying to cross the path a few meters in front of me. As the fox jumped up the hill in sheer terror, it stumbled over a branch and fell. Just as it recovered control over its legs I ran into a swarm of flies. "Firefox crashed. Send bug report?" was the first thing that popped into my mind. I think I've been working in IT for too long.

Out in the woods I met Andreas from Wuppertal. He was walking a section of the same trail and so we decided to hike together for a couple of hours, chatting about our hiking activities and my upcoming PCT thru-hike. He got off the trail when we reached Herchen in the early afternoon and I decided to push on to Dattenfeld, where I started my trip the day before. Most important lesson learned on that day: even an elevation change of merely 100 meters can be a pain in the ass if you're carrying full hiking gear plus six liters of water. Having said this, I'm looking forward to meet the South Californian desert. Oh dear...

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to following your journey on the are a wonderful writer. Good luck!
    After reading this post and seeing these pictures, I hope to hike in Germany someday.