Sunday, February 27, 2011

Westweg - Super Fun

So as I strode into Forbach on the 2nd and final day of my Westweg walk (which goes all the way to Basel by the way... another interesting feat if anyone is interested), I was recounting my steps that day. You could see from my previous postings it started to snow on the trail... which turned into pretty much a blizzard as I trudged into Kaltenbronn. Then suddenly as I was walking -POOF- no snow. It was so strange! Well then it became rain and so it began.

So here is day One of my Westweg hike- from Pforzheim to Dobel. I do not know what happened but my GPS missed some mileage... so just imagine a line where it makes sense! Oh and its in two maps... but I was happy GPS worked.

Day One - Part 1: Pforzheim to some random point on a river
Day One - Part 2: Neunberg to Dobel
Day Two: Dobel to Forbach

For the lazy people here is the summary:
Total Distance: 59.43 km
Total Time: ~13 hours
Average: 4.5km/hr

Not too bad if you ask me!

Some things I learned on the trip:

  • Band-Aids are so important: and tissues work in a pinch, but be prepared to reap the consequences
  • When you think you've overpacked... you haven't: After the first day I was thinking how silly I was bringing snow pants and crampons. Halfway thru the 2nd day I was counting my blessings!
  • Breakfast is important: Mom was right, it IS the most important meal of the day! I didn't bite into my Snickers bar until Forbach (but then I instantly became ravenous and the granola came soon after)
  • Music is good to lift spirits
  • Do not rely on your phone to get you directions: I had FULL bars in Dobel but was getting nowhere with Google Maps or the interwebs, luckily the Gasthof had signs from the trail
  • Talk to yourself: Else you will go crazy(ier)
  • Take photos!
  • Cherish the moments, all of them: Sketchy/hilarious moments make for great stories to fellow hikers


Its now snowing on the trail-- 12 miles to go!
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What a difference a day makes!

So I woke up this morning to nebel (fog) and lots of it. Gestern das wetter war sehr gut, heute nichts sehr gut! (Yesterday the weather was good, today not so good).

The gasthof I am staying at is wonderful (Gasthof zur Linde). I don't know if they speak Enhlish, but they tolerate my schelcht German with a smile. Maybe they appreciate the effort. I had a huge breakfast with Black Forest Ham, salami, cheese, brot, kaffe, OJ, and yoghurt. I think I have enough carbs to last me thru the day!!

Today is the true test for the Coast 2 Coast... How will my feet feel after two days of continuous hiking? We shall see...
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Halfway There!

So the walk thru the Scwarzwald is well underway. I reached my destination at around 2:30, walking 30 km (about 17 miles) in about 6.5 hours. I got misdirected only once and the GPS on my phone is doing a great job in tracking my route and not eating up my battery.

As for myself- I was QUITE happy to get to the hotel. My little feet were feeling it quite nicely, and I am sure I have a blister. And here is my first lesson learned: BRING BAND-AIDS

Das wetter heute war SEHR gut. Blauen himmel und sonne. Temperature sind 7 degrees C? Morgen, regen :(

Ayways, I am pretty much starving so its time for a bier and some abendessen. Tchuss!
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Itinerary Planned!

So it's complete! I got all the places booked and confirmed... its a bit ambitious, but I know the toughest leg altitude wise is the Lake District (the first leg) so after that behind me I *hope* it won't be too bad!

-- DALES --
There are a few days I am worried about... especially the last two. So many miles right at the end is probably being very optimistic. However I have Tom and some friends meeting me at Robin's Hood Bay.... so I have something to look forward to! I am pretty sure I can convince them to buy me an ice cream cone or two as well :)

Well I did a bit of hiking in Davos, Switzerland this last weekend to help prep again. I did two mini hikes.One was up Rhinerhorn, which is about a 600 meter (~2,000 ft) climb in about 2-2.5 hours. That was only about 3 miles. However after my trip down (so double it! YEAH!) and a bus ride to Davos to find some coffee, I walked back ~5 miles to the bus stop to take me back to the hotel in Monstein (a place I highly recommend...beautiful and quiet). Oh and I went paragliding... amazing in the Alps!

To be honest, I was feeling quite sore after this... which makes me quite nervous. There is the option to climb Helvellyn (pictured left), which is the 3rd highest peak in England, clocking in at 950 meters, which I definitely want to do. I hope if I keep training and keep walking with varying elevation changes it will be ok....

I am actually doing a section of Germany's Westweg trail this weekend in the Schwarzwald. 15 miles both days ... thats if there is not a ton of snow. My friend Kris let me borrow her crampons just in case. The 2nd day looks to be quite a steep decline, so let's hope I am sure footed enough!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Post Amsterdam aftermath....

After a fun respite from my workout regiment, I started again today doing the dreaded stair climby thing. Maybe to everyone else it isn't daunting, but just think of it- 20 minutes of constant going up.... No going down, just varying degrees of ouch.

I am sure long distance runners scoff at my dread, cut me some slack eh?

So I did the 20 minutes on 'cascade' (of death.... It didn't say that, I just added it for dramatic effect) and all in all not too bad. My heart rate recovered quite nicely and I burned about 240 calories and climbed the equivalent of 94 floors! To put that into perspective, the Empire State Building has 102 floors. I was not dripping sweat like after a spinning class, but man never was I so glad for a workout to be over!

To be fair I didn't really take a break from working out. Tom and I went to Amsterdam for 3 days, and in that time we did a decent amount of walking and even a bike ride for a couple of hours (including me just going for it in an intersection... Whoo adrenaline rush!). True, much alcohol was consumed... but it could have been worse. Tom took it upon himself to ingest some frites covered (I am sure he disagrees) in mayonnaise. What? I almost had a whole wedge of Old Amsterdam cheese by myself? Psh! Calcium! .

...Let's consider it a wash shall we?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

(Mostly) Behaving

So... I -think- all of the hostels/B&B are booked except for the one in Robin's Hood Bay. I even had to mail (as in POST) information to people because they did not have the Internet. Crazy to think how in this day and age that is even possible, but go figure. I will post my mileage and stopovers as soon as I have time to dedicate to it. Work has been a bit crazy these last few days, so be patient!

I have been managing to work out every day as well- and still watch what I am eating. I am trying to stay away from carbs, and I am noticing now if I have carbs with meals I get full much faster than I used to.

I also found out it is almost 1.25 miles to walk to work from the train station, so when I have time I try to walk to/from work now. Also if it's not bloody freezing, I have my limits. I also found out walking to trivia downtown is also around a mile. I am doing more walking than I realize!

Everyone have a great week!

By the way... Wallace and Gromit is one of my favorite shows/films to watch. Classic British humour. Not as classic as The Ministry of Silly Walks, but its getting there!
Picture from:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Great Weekend!

So despite going to a very fun party for Kos on Friday night (and maybe getting a doner on the way home), I still managed to walk to Esslingen on Saturday. I think I did fairly well, although I cannot say the same for the GPS on my Blackberry. It did not work for a very good portion of the walk, and it started working around mile 6 (only after a hard restart, man I hate Blackberry's sometimes). Anyways, if you really the lowdown, here is all the info but I found out my mile is about 19:45, which is what I thought. It was not that hard, my back felt a little 'meh' though with my pack but I think with some back exercises I can fix that. Also most importantly, I felt fine the next morning, and my feet were not in pain walking around in Ulm. All in all, about 3.5 hours for 10 miles, including stopping and shooting some photos, which you can see here.

Today I went to Ulm and climbed the World's tallest church steeple, which is a 768 step workout, (1536 steps if you count going down) which I completely negated with the beer I had for dinner... never mind, sometimes you have to treat yourself :) FYI the gemusestrudel in Ulm is -amazing- and I highly suggest it.

Oh and thanks to Wikipedia I found out its the birthplace of Albert Einstein. Awesome!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Working hard.... is it Necessary?

So I figure it seems smart to train for this almost 2-week trek of non-stop walking. I don't think any of the days I am walking are considered 'difficult' but when you combine the days I am sure it becomes tiring on the body (and soul!) So I decided now time is better than now to start. Sadly I do not look like the lovely lady on the right, nor do I have batons with pink pom poms on them... I wonder if I am doomed to failure??

For a while I have been trying to do P90X workouts, and, forgive me Mr. Horton, I do not do them every day. Nor do I subscribe to your newsletter/RSS feed of recovery drinks and snack bars. Also, jeez, the nutrition guide requires me to amass a small fortune to eat for a week. Breakfast is supposed to have 4 egg whites... 4, so a whole carton only lasts 3 days. And apparently if I was going for muscle gain, it would be 6 egg whites... holy moley! Chickens would tremble at my approach!

Despite this, I really like the workouts. I can do them at home with not a lot of equipment (I have bands and a yoga mat), or I can do them at the gym if I so choose. However, I figure I need to spice it up a bit more, so I am incorporating spinning, running.. and of course walking. FYI spinning is like my favorite thing in the world and I suggest everyone tries it once.

So for my walk this week I am unsure if I will traipse thru the Schwarzwald (thats the Black Forest) or save some Euros and simply walk along the Neckar to Esslingen. According to radrouteplanner (maps you biking/walking routes around Stuttgart) its 10 miles to Esslingen from the Bahnhof. Then if I'm feeling spry, there are walking path up in the hilly vineyards. (Esslingen is one of the stops along the Weinstrasse, which is over 500 km long.. I am not walking that, that's a bike trip) I think 10 miles is a good start. I was also thinking about walking to/from work (but may wait till it gets a tad warmer).

I have GPS on my phone but I am wary of it sucking all my battery power, as a fall back I got my Nike+, but I definitely want to record my progress.

Photo of Awesome Lady:
Photo of Esslingen:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is the Coast to Coast Walk?

So this trail was "founded" by Sir Alfred Wainwright who wrote many books, mostly about walking. He wrote the first definitive guide to the C2C trail, it seemed like just a collection of walkways beforehand.

This trail highlights a lot of the best of England: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. So lakes, hills, rocky bits, and... moory bits. Actually the Moors are a great place to see fields upon fields of the purple Heather flower in bloom, but not when I am going. Of course as seen above you go from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, and Wainwright suggested 'baptizing' your boots in each of them when you come across it. Some take a pebble from one beach and put it on the other. A symbolic gesture to the true beginning and end of the walk (although mine will probably be to the nearest Chippy)

So there you have it, a tad bit of history, a brief description of what I will be traversing across, and perhaps a bit of humour thrown in for good measure. If you want more (better) information, try these places:

  • This is how it all started for me
  • : Great Place to see where to stay and a brief description of all the towns, as the name suggest they also move your luggage around for you for a fee
  • Coast to Coast Path by Henry Steadman: Contrary to popular belief, people still buy books these days... true they can get wet, but at least they don't run out of batteries
Might buy a trail planner or an actual map but I am not sure how the one in the book I own compares, a little more reading will help to determine how good it is.... Or I might just buy it to be safe because the last thing I want is to be lost.

Next Post: My plan of attack, with accommodation (hopefully)

map from:
Moor picture from: