Hiking report

Camp+hike+BBQ to Dutch German border


It was like taking a sudden farewell to this year’s summer this week.

Until Wednesday, we had this heat wave that started sometime in July. Then there was a sudden huge drop on Friday. That’s it. The temperature dropped by something like 10 degrees and we broke into the weekend. It must have been a huge blow to the 70+ people who signed up.

The option of postponing the event was there this time, as I had indicated the possibility in the event description. Still, the extremely pessimistic weather forecast at the beginning of this week was getting somewhat better day by day. And there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be better in the coming weeks, which is rather unlikely regarding the usual weather here in Germany. In the end, I decided to go ahead with the plan. After all, we’d anyway overcome any weather, but I know how much I regret canceling this kind of event when the weather forecast is altogether wrong.

So, camping. The plan was very simple this time: go to Effelder Waldsee and camp there over the weekend, with BBQ, swimming and hiking etc.

Despite the WhatsApp group being quite active a few days ahead of the event, I seriously thought I made a mistake when I saw that there was no one at the main entrance of Düsseldorf central Saturday morning.

There was one problem this time: the campsite was far away. I tried to figure out something simple, but in the end, what I could think of was this: first, everyone comes to Arsbeck (regardless of by train or by car). Then we put all the stuff in the cars, which then go to the campsite. In the meantime, those who came by train start hiking. When the cars arrive at the campsite, they put all the stuff in a few cars, then come back with as few cars as possible. Then in the end, we see each other at Dalheim, which is the train station after Arsbeck, and therefore is slightly closer to the campsite. Then we go hiking together towards the campsite.

Even though most of the people didn’t know anything about what we were up to, I didn’t have to explain the strategy many times. Maybe they all decided to follow other people.

You might be interested to know why in the first place I chose this campsite for this weekend. That’s because this campsite, Effelder See, has a lake. And therefore it’s not surprising that the hiking path was not particularly well organized. At this Dutch German border, everything was extremely flat, not particularly exciting.

But probably what really mattered was the weather. Unfortunately, it did start raining sporadically. And partially there was significant amount of rain pouring down at some point. I was pretty much the sole idiot having no umbrella and rain jacket. I shouldn’t have trusted the weather forecast after all.

Near the Dutch border, I lost my phone connection. A few minutes later, still within the German border, I got a welcome SMS from the Dutch operator. The German phone coverage ends somewhere before the border.

Before we arrived at the campsite, we had to ask the people what they wanted to have for dinner (i.e. BBQ). Jen had already created a list of things in advance, but we didn’t have a proper place for a break because of the rain. At some point, we found a Chinese restaurant, in which moment it poured so hard that there was no need to announce a break. On the one hand, we were lucky that the restaurant was there. On the other hand, the fact that they offered all you can eat (and that some people took it) might have been a bit stupid.

But it might have been fortunate that the weather was not particularly good this weekend, as the campsite was not overly crowded, although I’d have loved to curse the weather publicly when it pouring down all of a sudden when we started putting our tents. I had merely took out the cover, with which I managed to keep the nearby stuff dry.

While Jen and some other people went shopping by car, we went to the lake. By then the weather was quite okay, and the water was nicely warm. And again, I must say I was rather happy to see that the lake was not overcrowded, or rather, empty. As obviously it’s not going to be hot again within a foreseeable amount of time, those who didn’t come to the lake this weekend will probably regret their decision over the long winter which is not so far away anymore.

By the time Jen and Jan came back, we put fire on the BBQ. In general, I’m not a big fan of BBQ, probably because usually we have to clean up the place as we have to leave the place, but the great advantage is of course we can sleep direct at the same place, so that we could do as much nonsense as we wanted. Besides, we brought ice cubes this time ourselves, so that the beer was deeply cooled down. So we started off, together with Hernán’s techno, which was somewhat peculiar for a campsite.

There were of course other people at the campsite. I was almost sorry that we were making so much noise in this probably otherwise relatively peaceful place. Even though there were other groups having party, we were most likely the noisiest ones. The cool thing is, there was a security guard of the campsite, but he told us only once we should be quieter, then he simply went away. The others obviously didn’t mind much the noise.

I don’t even remember what time we went to bed in the end, but I was so drunk that at some point I realized that I simply shouldn’t be awake anymore. I quickly prepared the sleeping bag in my tent and went to sleep. I guess one more beer would have completely messed up everything.

And so, it wasn’t so surprising that I didn’t feel like doing anything next morning. I had to force myself to two pieces of bread, without even having energy to put butter or jam on them. Even so, maybe we should call it brunch, as it was almost noon when we finished. The others looked better than I, but still there wasn’t enough energy remaining to do anything.

Most of the people then directly went to the train station. A few of us remained there, to enjoy the lake, probably for the last time this year. I was happy that I got a bit of time to get a nap. I hope I’ll be smarter next time.

Olaf took most of the stuff back to Düsseldorf by car for me. Then we walked back to the train station, Dalheim. This one is the last station in this line and didn’t even look like a train station. There was of course one platform and the railway simply faded away towards the end. There was maybe one house next to the train station and otherwise nothing. And as we later found out the vending machine there didn’t even know in which fare region this station was.

And so was the camping this time. Apparently summer is over. And so this was probably the last camp weekend for this year. I might be sounding sad by saying so, but actually it blew my energy away so much that I cannot even think about going hiking next week. But this being said, I’m pretty sure that I’ll look forward to the next one next year. And hopefully I’ll see a similar success there.

The trail can be downloaded from this link (kml-format) or this link (gpx-format)

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