Friday, September 14, 2012
Into The Woods We Go
Up and away early. I like to get 10 or 12 kms under my belt before it gets hot before the middle of the day. (we are lucky with September weather in Holland right now!) However it also can have its issues. Today the first 5-6 kms took me through a section of trail adjacent to meadows. The farmer had not mowed the trail, as a result the wet grass was knee deep and by the time I had hiked through it I was soaking wet from the knees down. In addition I was wearing shorts and there were lots of thistles and nettles so my bare legs were hurting pretty good.
More fields and farms to get through as well as a few small villages. This time the official trail did go through a section of Germany. (I was not lost for once). I kept on going for 12 kms without stopping or resting because I was going to meet a Canadian friend in Beek. Maurice Verkaar, a fellow hiker who last year did the Camino de Santiago, so we had lots to talk about. Maurice was born in Holland, but only 1 year when his parents emigrated to Canada. He decided a few months ago to go and live in Holland for a year and experience live over here. I met him at a restaurant and to our surprise Margriet showed up on her bike from Groesbeek (8kms down the road). We had lunch and a beer together. After we said goodby to Maurice we hiked another 8 kms to Groesbeek where Margriet had arranged to rent a cottage in the forest. Here I will take a day off from hiking and we plan on visiting the Canadian war cemetery here nearby. After we left Maurice we again had a bit of a surprise because we encountered a steep hill while leaving town. Holland may not be as flat as I always thought or was lead to believe.
Today for the first time I used my iPod to listen to music while walking. It helped me to walk to a beat sometimes or just to hum along. Funny to be listening to Kashtin singing in their Inuit language while walking through flat farmland with cows.
I am using the hiking poles religiously these days. Until a month ago I never used them, since I hiked primarily on relatively flat ground. However the week before I left on this trip I went for a 3 hours hike with an 80 year old friend whom I had not seen for 14-15 years. I decided to take my poles just to try them out. I liked it and decided to take them with me on this long distance hike. They sure are working out fine. They help me keep my balance on uneven ground which I encounter frequently and it provides an upper body workout, especially walking with a 20 K pack. Last but not least it releases some of the pressure on the feet when you lean on the poles at every step. I have become so used to them that when I got up from a rest earlier today I noticed within 5 steps that I forgot my poles under the picnic table.
And so, on we trot!