take me

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This post is about a 19km walk from Springe to Kreuzbuche. I walk through wind and sleet into the Deister. Then there is fog.

I woke up in a warm room with my stuff laid out to dry on the floor. Packed up. Had some food. And then I loaded up the Caboose. Just like so many times before.

I knew that this was going to be the last full walking day on The Longest Way.

how the universe works

The first thing I did was go to a bicycle repair shop. Ever since getting a flat tire a few days earlier I hadn’t fixed it, which meant that the spare wheel had become useless, as it was now flat.

I believe that if I don’t fix it now, something will go wrong up there in the forest, I explained to the owner of the bike shop.

“Yes,” he said, “that’s how the universe works.”

sweat

An hour later I was in the Deister. The initial climb turned out to be brutal. It was windy and sleeting, which meant that I was wearing my poncho. But the inclines were a lot steeper than I had expected, which meant that I was sweating like a pig under the plastic.

When I arrived at a wooden hut at the top of the initial climb, I took off the poncho, the windbreaker, the fleece, and ultimately even my shirt. Everything was wet.

I had some spare clothes in the Caboose. I put on a new shirt and a warm longsleeve. Sat in the hut having some food and some tea. And then I got back into my fleece and my windbreaker. They were still wet, but what could you do.

Luckily the sleet hat stopped at this point, so I didn’t need to wear the poncho anymore.

the forest whispers

Walking became easier after this. There was a path through the forest called Kammweg (ridge way). It was mostly a gravel road, so even with the snow and the sleet and the general wetness it never turned into a mud fest.

There was dense fog, however. It would come and go, fogging up and then clearing into thin air again after an instant. One time, as I was looking through a clearing in the trees, I understood that this wasn’t fog. It was just cloud after cloud surging against the ridge of the Deister, enveloping the forest for a while, then floating on.

I had all kinds of emotions at this point, and I liked the clouds very much.

the sign

Then darkness fell. I put on my head torch. Usually I would wear two: one on my forehead, one on the back of the Caboose as a safety measure. I didn’t put on the second one this time. I was alone in the forest. It was dark and there was nobody around. The world became smaller and smaller until the only thing that was left of it was the cone of light from my head torch.

I would see my red shoes, the pair that I had bought in Fulda, under me. I would see the road, and I would hear it, the gravel scrunching under my shoes. I would see trees, most of them naked. They ย would appear out of nowhere and then disappear into the night again just a moment later.

I had feared this forest once, during a cold winter night at the turn of the millennium.

But not anymore.

pictures

the walk from Springe to Kreuzbuche:



  • Steffi J

    Ich bin ein bisschen traurig,dein Weg ist nun bald beendet. Was soll ich dann lesen?

    Reply

  • benjamin k.

    I can imagine why you were afraid back then: A weird bearded dude might step from the darkness, pulling a fridge. That would give me a good scare ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

  • Jared

    Your writing has become more poetic, even wistful, in the last few days.
    I can hear some of your emotion in it.
    I am so happy for you!

    Reply

  • tommybrisbane

    I know the longest way has ended for you already and that you’re back home now, but I want to say that these last few entries leave me with a feeling of melancholy knowing that the longest way is almost over.

    Reply

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