Back to the daily life – hard or easy?

Right now, I imagine you get a newsletter from Hiking4Haiti and wonder. How come do I get a newsletter, the two are back a long time ago. Is this spam now? But you are curious and click on the newsletter. At least I hope so. Well, if the email has landed in the spam, I will never know. And you don’t either. So everyone is happy. Unless you then miss out on what happens to us.

So in November 2019 we came home safely. By the end of the year we had the third well together and so another community in Haiti could enjoy potable water for life. By the way, we are in regular exchange with Haiti Outreach, often I also follow in the database the status of our communities. All thumbs up, the municipalities adhere to all agreed things, the wells are functional and are cherished and maintained and the monthly account balance for any repairs increases in small steps.

Still full of energy from our year we sold our apartment, organized a move, bought a car and both started working again. Me on january the first, Heiko one month later. How fast you are again in a rhythm that is so contrary to that we had last year. We were surprised at how little painful the return was. Somehow, in that year, we never questioned where we were. Where we were, it was good. And so it was good to be here again in Germany. So not the feared “hole”. Nevertheless, there are, of course, days when the simplicity of the previous year was missed. Simply “sleep – hike – eat”. The biggest worries were whether you could cross the river and if there was enough chocolate and whiskey. The contrast in possession is striking. For a year we carried everything around in a backpack – and we didn’t miss anything. When we packed for the move, the question often arose – why do we have so much stuff?  Nevertheless, you have more than you need, and the possession doesn’t really make you happy. The days of complete satisfaction last year were certainly more than in any other year before. But, you quickly get used to having a whole cupboard full of clothes, taking a shower every day and just opening the fridge when you’re hungry. Have we changed this year? Not fundamental. I think some things you take in more conscious. The biggest change is that Heiko now wears shorts all the time. He never did  before. J

But what remains in any case is the certainty: if you want to change something about your life, it is only up to oneself to do it.

Rotary Club – Südliche Bergstrasse –> together for potable water in Haiti!

Enough philosophical thoughts, after all, this is a hiking blog and you still don’t know why I’m writing a newsletter in the first place. So.

With the move, of course, the move came to another Rotary club. My new club home is the Rotary Club Bensheim – Südliche Bergstrasse. I was incredibly warmly received here. In this small and fine club are many new Rotarian friends who have one thing in common: they want to help make a difference. On my first visit, the question was whether someone had an idea for an international project.

Hah, of course I have. The club followed with enthusiasm my stories about Haiti, the work of Haiti Outreach and the wells already build, and immediately agreed that we would continue the project together. A club project is born. We will try together to fund another well, with your help maybe even two, who knows. If you donated last year, as you are already generous donors, then I cordially invite you to support our club project. As you know, I can guarantee that the money will go 100% to Haiti Outreach and from there without a water head into the projects.

My new club can also give donation receipts (from 200€, before the deposit receipt applies). I have adapted our website accordingly, set the donation barometer to “0” and with this newsletter I set the starting signal for our club project. Join us!

Here you can make a donation.

Nibelungensteig – or- after how many kilometres you won’t get blisters with new shoes?

Since the website is called “hiking4haiti”, I would not only like to exchange boring philosophical thoughts or make appeals for donations, but of course I would like to continue to entertain you with hiking experiences. Naturally, this is more of a 2 blog a year kind of thing, as we work full time and can’t go hiking all the time.

As chance would have it, our new adopted home, Zwingenberg, is the starting point of a German long-distance hiking trail: the “Nibelungensteig”, 133km across the Odenwald.

So it is not surprising that it soon itches us again in the feet to hike a little. But hiking isn’t really my favorite activity. But we missed beeing outside the whole day, beeing in the nature. To get started we want to hike the first stage, without luggage, only as (half-day hike): From Zwingenberg to Reichenbach (we walk the other way). At 13km this is a nice walk after months of sitting at home. We start at the Reichenbacher Felsenmeer, an impressive rocky landscape. Of course, we are not alone here. Countless people use the beautiful weather to compensate for the corona-related sporting inactivity with a walk. But, we quickly set off from the others and can then enjoy the unreal landscape on our own. Step by step, we feel immediately transported back to 2019 and look forward to the movement, the environment and nature. The ascent to the Felsberg is of course easy for us and does not slow us. It goes downhill again through the beautiful Odenwald and then onto the Melibokus, which threatens over Zwingenberg. A total of 750 meters high and 650 down later we quickly arrive back home. This makes you want more.

Niebelungensteig – Freudenberg to Hesselbach – 50 Hiking kilometres!

So we take advantage of an extended weekend and want to hike from Freudenberg (the end point of the Nibelungensteig) towards Zwingenberg, as far as the feet carry us. We want to be self-sufficient and take tent and food with us. Whether we can find sleeping places is uncertain, but we want to try it in any case. After all, this feeling of freedom, if you don’t know where to stay, is the real attraction for me on such tours.

In Freudenberg we treat ourselves to a schnitzel and a beer and then run off at half past four. You realize that we don’t really take the tour ahead of us seriously. If we had planned and prepared such a trip before the year, the preparation this time was to pack the backpacks in 20 minutes, get some muesli bars at the gas station and then run off. We have to laugh at ourselves as we start with a full stomach moaning about the weight of the backpacks on the first ascent from Freudenberg. We deserved this. Our destination is Miltenberg, or a nice sleeping place just before Miltenberg. This first stage has only 12.6 km, but at least 500 meters of altitude up and down. With the (again) unfamiliar backpack weight and the already advanced hour a good goal, as we think. The path itself is rather a bit boring, as there are wide paths. But the beautiful Odenwald compensates a little. After some time we found our rhythm again and are surprised when we arrive in Miltenberg. Crap. Now there will be no opportunity to camp. No matter. We are looking for a small guesthouse (are lucky and can get the last room) and end the evening in the beer garden in this pretty old town. A successful day.

After a quiet night, we are highly motivated for a real hiking day: Destination: Preunschen 26.2 kilometers and 800 meters of ascent are ahead of us. The weather is wonderful and we start hiking.  So far we haven’t needed anything from our backpacks. It’s good that we have them with us… By the way, a few blisters have formed. When I see them, I remember that I already had problems with these shoes in Gran Canaria. Well, maybe they will magically vanish. Heiko looks skeptical, since I have already run over 200 kilometers with the shoes, he doubts my theory. But no matter, let’s go!

The path is more beautiful, it goes up and down on paths. We see deer, hares, cats, birds of prey and no humans. Except for goats Peter. That is how we baptized him. With a stick and a dog, he had the goats nibbled on a few hazelnut leaves. When our curious questions about goat farming visibly get on his nerves, he whistles once and the goats run in rank and limb behind him. We are impressed. With great admiration for this obedience, we miss the turnoff and run cheerfully in the wrong direction. This is an art on this way, as the Nibelungensteig is really extremely well signposted.

When we notice our mistake, there is no motivation to run back. Thanks to google maps, we are aiming for the direction and running cross-country. In the forest, the direct path is a bit difficult. It goes down steeply and the bushes get higher. But compared to our backcountry experiences from Newfoundland, this is of course a piece of cake, as we insure each other as we struggle through the bushes. But finally we reach a path again and actually find the way. Great. Yield: each 2 ticks. Finally, something from the backpack is used: the tick tongs! So not everything was dragged along for nothing 😉

Meanwhile, the blisters have become a bit painful, which I don’t admit to Heiko, of course, but just keep going. After 23 kilometers, our motivation has fizzled out. The backpack is heavy, the sun is burning. Search of campground unsucessful. And a bed would be nice somehow. And a shower. After we have admitted this, we call holiday homes at our destination. And we are lucky again, a room is free. The last 3 kilometers fly in no time and we arrive at the guesthouse “Holidays on the farm”. The hostess is super friendly and offers us to grill and make salads for us. A dream. A beer, perfect. The food after such a day always tastes best and we enjoy the evening to the fullest.

The next morning I can no longer hide the blisters from Heiko. Sad record: 10 blisters. Well, don’t howl, bubble patches on it and off you go. Stage finish: Bullau, again 27 kilometers and 900 meters of altitude. Who would have thought that there is so much going on up and down here! After a great breakfast we set off. We cross two national borders, which are marked with stone columns. Bavaria, Baden wuerttemberg and Hessen meet at the “Dreiländerstein”. As a native of Bavaria with a 13-year residency in Baden Württemberg and now a residence in Hessen, we are particularly pleased about this point. Otherwise, the trail is lined with beautiful views and the paths alternate between hiking trails and paths.

At noon, after 12 kilometers we reach Hesselbach. In a beautiful beer garden, I take stock of my feet and come to the conclusion that I don’t want to continue hiking today.  The motivation to torment yourself is not so great away from the Te Araora and so we let the hike end with a cool beer and call us a taxi.

Crazy. After more than 2600km of hiking we are no longer able to walk 100 kilometers at a time. But we are still completely satisfied, it was a nice hike. In addition, of course, we carried all the luggage for nothing. But that’s good training for the next tour.

😉 with new shoes

Tomorrow we will hike the new shoes a little on another stage of the Niebelungensteig. Training for the upcoming holiday. Here we have chosen something beautiful. A hut hike in the Tyrolean Alps. Are you curious if we can cope with a challenging mountain tour? We are, too 😉

If you feel like it, I’ll take you on the hike in the next newsletter.

Until then, take a look at the website, maybe you want to move the donation barometer away from the 0. Haiti still needs our support, because it cannot be the case that there are people without access to clean water!

Here you can make a donation.