This winter has been the real thing with weeks of icy mornings and a mix of rain and snow and slush. In this area of Germany the snow never sticks around for long but surprisingly only an hour’s drive can take you to a different world.
I still try to go hiking every other weekend. It feels good to be outside, to be moving. I can’t do other sports right now and hiking is really my only chance to challenge my body until the breath comes short and the muscles start to protest. It feels good.
We often pick the Eifel National Park – about 1-2 hours drive by car it affords endless walking opportunities (do you call it hiking or walking by the way?).
On this particular day we had set out early in the car with not a flake of white in sight. We had picked a 12 km hike (about 7.5 miles) which we estimated would be a comfortable distance to do on a winter day. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in a perfect winter wonderland!
The snow was ankle deep and untouched, sparkling under blue skies. It smelled clean and frosty like open spaces filled with snow always smell.
So much for poetry. After the first quarter hour of laboriously tromping through the hard, shiny mass we realized that those 12 km would maybe be a little more challenging than we had anticipated.
It was one of those hikes where perfect beauty matches perfect exhaustion – we lost our way and ended up making a detour thus bringing our total up to 15 km and four hours with no opportunity for a real break. One of those times when you find your limit and push past it out of necessity, feeling ridiculously proud afterwards as you nurse your aching limbs. One of those days where a hot shower and a comfortable evening on the couch wrapped in blankets at the end of it has never felt so good.
I love those days.