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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who Said Holland is Flat?!

Time flies! Today was going to be a long day of 24 kms. It started out great. At 8:15 I was on the trail and moving, as a matter of fact moving up hill. That was a surprise !
I had traveled a fair amount throughout Holland when I was a consultant for the Dutch Camping Council back in the early 70's, however I obviously had not been to Montferland, the area south of Doetinchem and east of Nijmegen, because I had no idea it was so hilly! I did not expect it but used it to work up a sweat by hoofing it through the area.
Gorgeous forests, narrow trails and nothing but trees and hills. I thought I was back in Channel Ridge on Salt Spring... However the surprise and fun was short lived when at a forest reclamation area they obviously had cut a tree with a trail marking on it. After 2 hours I knew I had missed a turn off and was horribly lost. It took me more than an hour to find my way out of the forest and ended up in Germany. The border between Germany ad the Netherlands in that area is quite vague and I never noticed that I had wandered across the border. When I finally emerged from the forested areas I noticed signs like 'autobahn' and 'kaufen' which are definitely not Dutch words. I asked a few folks for directions, neither of the 2 people I asked spoke German or Dutch but only English, go figure.

After an hour (and an extra 4-5 kms) I found the trail back and started making progress again. The terrain became rather boring, large farms, paved roads and now I was entering the 'big rivers' area again. I walked along dikes for hours and finally came to a ferry that took me across to Millingen on the Rhine, the city where I had made a reservation for the night. Today I finally met some other hikers on the trail who were traveling more than just a few days. One couple was on its way from Amsterdam to Rome. There is always a bigger fool to be found.

If you are interested in reading another blog about hiking (including The Pieterspad) here's a fun one: http://richardtulloch.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/the-pieterpad-500km-across-holland-by-foot-and-bike/ 

And if you want to keep hiking: http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/11-10/8-of-the-most-unique-walking-paths-in-the-world.html

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