Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Some Highlights from the Malerweg Trail in Saxony, Germany!

I postponed doing this post so long that almost one year has passed! I hope I learn a lesson from this procrastination habit of mine since I've probably forgotten about 98.5% of all the cool details, but I still want to share some highlights (the ones I remember or am reminded about by looking at photos) for my wonderful bloggies (blog babies?).

Last April, Bjorn, Hans and I decided to tackle the famous Malerweg Trail in Saxony, Germany. Truth be told, I had never heard about this trail before, and the less you know, the more inclined you are to say "I'm in!" and then forget to research about it later to freak out. As a result, I only had time to freak out about the hike after one of the Germans told me it was considered "difficult."
Not scared!
While I am no expert, I enjoy hiking, and have a surprising (given my love affair with procrastination) ability to "soldier on" and power through hikes, with the only negative experience I can recall being in Armenia, when the day after I arrived from Canada, jet-lagged, tired, and slightly delusional, I went on a six+ hour hike with Bjorn and Liz. I legitimately could not grasp my breath the entire time and had to take a break every 45 seconds of hiking. I thought I would lose my title of "Benzoar" that day (Lena + Bezoar Goat = Benzoar) but Liz and Bjorn were super sweet and supportive and even occasionally pretended that they too needed breaks every 45 seconds.
There were also good times! I swear!
Anyway, back to Malerweg! It was all planned very last minute, and we decided we would do the entire trail from finish to start since we arrived to the location closer to the end. Any good trip begins with me pointing at something:
We all got some snacks and Hans is a vegetarian chef so he brought some awesome treats for the trip, including vacuum packed vegan burgers (with local green garlic!) and hmoz. The trail itself is estimated to take between 8-9 days and is meant as 9 days of day hikes, but we camped & covered so much distance daily--despite our super heavy bags--that we finished in 5-6 days. Our first day was more about getting to the actual location and coordinating meet up times, and of course we were all on time because Germans. We also got in some much needed sleep:
We still had a pretty sweet night set up the first evening, and woke up ready to conquer & had our first delicious oatmeal/cashew butter breakfast courtesy of Hans and his cooking gear:
Although we began the hike at the end, the trails were all similar in that there was a lot of up and down, and oftentimes just when you thought you couldn't go one more step, there was another hill or another set of steps ahead.
Nooooooooo!
The views--and I mean every single one--were absolutely worth it and deserved the kind of pauses where it looks like you are thinking about the meaning of life but are really just wondering what to eat that night:
You guys don't fool me!
The areas, for the most part, were equally as nice, and we learned to appreciate the beauty while being resourceful:
It only rained one full day and although it was annoying to wake up to wet socks/clothes/shoes, we still seemed pretty OK with life:
I lost that handkerchief on the last day! :(
The rest of the time the weather was typical of March--not cold, not hot, and some days there was even some sun!
No, you suck!
Hans wanted to try boofen, which traditionally means spots for climbers to sleep outside, and I think it was the first time for all three of us (I hadn't even heard of the word before). The weather permitted it and it was not as scary as it seemed, and we busted out some Armenian cognac to celebrate not dying.
I had gotten a little unwelcome demon surprise a few days into the trip so I ended up being cold always and forever after this point and refused to leave my sleeping bag:
I will die here!
Eventually I got out (there were promises of hot oatmeal and coffee...) and we soldiered on.
Some of the only boring aspects of this trip was when the trail would lead us into full-on towns, but that also meant resupplying on food (aka all of the German bread) and getting so close to seeing wild cats:
I remember a day or so before our hiking would come to an end--at the sight of one more uphill trek, I did feel a little zzvadz like OK WE GET IT THANK YOU, but even during those times, the views were so worth it.
Where's Waldo aka Bjorn?
One of us had to fall, with all the ups and downs going on, and I sacrificed myself for the greater good. It was worse than this picture shows, I swear. And I still use these stockings when I'm running for reasons unknown:
On our last night, Hans made us an amazing pesto pasta dish with veggies and I still remember how delicious it was:
On our last day of hiking, the sun was up and the view was particularly beautiful, and getting to the end of this bridge signified the end of our journey:
Just as I had begun this journey, I had to end it by pointing at something (a bird?)
And that's a wrap! I am so happy we did it, and that Bjorn and Hans were the ones navigating the entire trip so we didn't get lost. Although a few times the uphills just seemed over the top, as mentioned many times before, they were totally worth it. While I should end this post with this photo Hans took:
Or maybe this one of all three of us:
I will instead end it with a shoutout to our cutey pie fire salamander friend, who led our way for a full 15 seconds:
All photos taken by super duo Bjorn and Hans!

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