I would have never thought that one day I will be walking such a crazy distance at once. A few months ago @auminda and I had the idea to walk from her home to her camping place. Distance: 56km. Is it even possible? With the help of Google Maps we found a good route and knew it was possible in just one day. So we planned everything and I traveled to @auminda.
I arrived at 3 PM. Her husband and two children took the car to travel to their camping place. The plan was that they will be waiting for us at the next day. We took our time and chilled on the couch. We cooked spaghetti squash (delicious) and went to bed early.
The night was bad and short. The alarm took us out of the bed at 2 AM. My only thought was: "Why the hell am I doing this to me?". But on the other side we had this goal that we wanted to reach together! We got ready and started our walk at 3 AM.
It was dark, very dark in the beginning. Luckily (it was clear that we'll need it) I found a flashlight in my backpack. We started with high walking speed. Nothing could ever stop us... or could there be something?
We walked through the night with everyone else laying in their cuddly beds. How unfair! Why do I have to do this? Oh wait.. It was my own choice. I was really sleepy and at one point I was even closing my eyes for 10 seconds just to feel what I couldn't have right now. (sleeping while walking doesn't feel that nice)
Taking a break
At 6-7 AM the sun was slowly rising. That was nice, because it helped me to feel a bit more alive in my head. That was also the time when we felt first exhaustion in our legs. Our original plan was to make no breaks (we = stupid idea) for the whole walk. Our original plan changed to having a break at the half point. That was something to look forward to.
Pain started coming and first blisters on the foot appeared. I also always have the problem with my thighs rubbing on eachother really easily. I was wearing cycling shorts to prevent it but I found out that it had holes in it. That became a big problem for me at the whole walk.
We were close to our break. We were walking through a village with many benches to sit on but unluckily we wanted to reach 40k steps before taking the rest. We reaches the end of the village with close to 40k steps. So we kept on walking. On the way to the next village there was not even one FUCKING bench... we didn't want to sit on the cold ground so we kept on walking and walking. 45k steps.. we really needed that break right now (mainly because of blisters and the thing with my tights rubbing on eachother)
At the beginning of the next village we just sat down on some cold stairs as we couldn't find a bench. (Of cource there are hundreds of benches if you don't need one). I used some more tape on my feet and prepared the cycling shorts so there would be as minimal damage as possible on my tights. I was also very hungry but luckily (I packed it) I found a sandwich in my backback.
We were already really damaged, particularly @auminda on her feet, she didn't even want to take off her shoes while being afraid to cause even more damage and not being able to finish the walk.
Taking a decision
While cooling down on the stairs it became very cold for us. Starting to walk again was hard. Muscles needed to get used to it again. Injuries were more difficult than thought. We really thought about giving up. The thought of not having to walk anymore was tempting. But on the other side..
Don't get me wrong, we were mainly doing it for US! Finishing a big walk is a great achievement. It's also finding out more about our own bodies, what they are capable of doing. But what I really thought at the moment was what I would be telling other people who knew about our walk.
"Uhm.. yeah we managed to walk MORE THAN HALF of it and it was really great but than we couldn't walk more because of blisters" That doesn't sound nice. It sounds like a complete failure. It was clear to me that there are only two options: 1.) Failure or 2.) Success. Nothing in between. I wanted the second option no matter the price. @auminda had the same opinion.
Taking the climb
From now on it should become even harder. Right in front of us were the Swabian Alps. Our destination was way higher than our current place. The path led right into the forest bringing us higher and higher.
Like most of the time we used Google Maps to find our way. At some point the GPS seemed to be bad. We were following the way as it seemed that there was only this way. After walking 2 more km we found out that something was wrong. We took a small break to find out what's going on. We were walking into the wrong direction!
But how could it happen? There was no other path. We decided to turn around and walked back. There had to be a mistake. Do you know how frustrating it is to walk 4km for nothing if you already thought about giving up? It really is. But the option of giving up was gone!
So we found our mistake but we felt messed around. There was a really really small path leading into a crazy climb. This was our way? How does Google even recognize it as a way. Fine. There was no other option. I don't know how to tell the ascent in % but we had to use our hands on the ground at many points. It was slippery. There were tree trunk on the way. One wrong step could have easily led to a dangerous fall.
The picture does not give you the right impression of the real ascent
I still could not believe it being a real path. We needed 30 minutes to climb the top without any accidents. Here is a sign we found on top of the "path". (We just took a forbidden path).
That was exhausting but it also gave us new power (adrenaline?). I was empty in water and @auminda only had 400ml left which she shared with me.
Where is the water?
It was pretty clear that we needed water now. The next village was in a 6km distance. The way to this village was steep. It only took half an hour and our power that we felt before was gone. Our only motivation was the next village where we planned to buy water and a bit food. We tortured us to there. What came was the worst village I have ever became a witness of in my life. Not one store was oppened.
It felt really bad. By mouth was dry. My power was gone. The only thing that kept me going was that I would not give up. Only 12km left. After a small break we took our last power and went our way to the next village. Again 6km away. But this time we knew for sure that there would be many opened stores.
I think this part was the worst part of all. We needed another break. We even slept for a few minutes. We just layed on the half wet grass in the middle of the two villages. We didn't care. We didn't give up.
Another 6km were gone. Our speed was at the lowest. But speed didn't matter anymore. Finally we reached an open store. It was like finding an oasis in the desert. I was never in the desert but I swear that's how it has to feel! I bought water, cola, beer with lemonade and two strawberry bars.
Picture from 2315319 - Pixabay
It tasted so delicious! And it really gave us a lot of power back.
The last 5-6km felt really easy compared to before. It was great to know that we will manage to reach our goal without any help. There was nothing left that could stop us now. And so we reached our destination: A camping place with the family of @auminda waiting for us and ready to serve us some great barbecue. After a shower (we were walking to the showers like ducks) and the barbecue we felt great (with some pain).
We did it! We walked 56km in 16 hours. Not the greatest time but that's not important. We learned a lot. For example: We need more water on our way, without water you will lose your power. My smartphone showed 91k steps at the end. My next higher record in my life was 35k steps.
The walk itself was no fun. I'm telling this because some people told us something like it sure was fun. Not it was not! But we don't do it for fun. It's for achiving something. To train our bodies. To learn more about us. To show ourselves that we have willpower.
I already am planning my next walk with @auminda. It will be the same destination and starting point but with another route (without the forbidden path). I am looking forward to finding out what we can do with more experience. I need other shoes (or socks) and of course more water.
I hope I didn't describe our walk too scaring because it is a great thing to do. I would encourage everyone to do something like that. It will hurt, it will require will power (depending on your physical level), it will feel GREAT.
@auminda and I are no top athletes, we are more like average people. We prepared ourselves a bit with walking more but that's it.
(I am annoyed at myself for not taking more pictures, but while walking I thought "Fuck it".)