If you had asked me after the last hike in November, I’d have answered that there’d be another hike in December. Things got unexpected turns all the time. It’s hard to believe that after the long tradition of regular hiking, we managed to overcome a long winter this year.
There were some attempts every now and then to organise hikes by other people, but this is Germany – there were always people who pushed back. I personally never really suffered in the 6 months. There were simply so many personal things to do that I was even almost grateful that there was no need to think about organising something.
And this week, the state government unexpected published a new set of regulations, according to which it is now in principle possible to organise hikes. Compared to older versions, this one became much more complex, especially regarding the fact that rules depend on the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 7 days (which we call 7-Tageinzidenz in German). And the number is considered to be lower than a certain limit if it stays stable for 5 working days, and the new rule applies 2 days later. You don’t get it, do you? That’s what the new decree says (taken over from the federal law), which was one of the most impossible things to understand for me in the German law. And while the regulation had a set of complex formulations, it rarely specified “who does what”, especially when it comes to test control, like I don’t know whether I as an organiser should make sure that all the participants have had a quick test beforehand. Or this dependence on the local number of infections applies to the event taking place or provenance of the participants. For now, many things I do are based on my presumptions and hope for the best.
And so, I tried to find a location with a low number of infections, and came up with this area around Overath, which we visited right before the lockdown started. But it’s also an interesting area we haven’t explored a lot. So why not.
During winter, I also left Meetup. Now things happen only on FB. I’ll have to see how things evolve, but since I’ve already got so many people here, so probably for now it’s going to be good enough.
Our starting point, Honrath, is a very small station. I chose it partly because I didn’t want to draw too much attention for a potentially large group. The group had maybe 15 people today, but compared to what we saw during the lockdown, it was still a relatively large group.
This time, since I was anyway not expecting a large group, I chose a super random trail. From the beginning on, some paths almost looked like they were simply not removed from Open Street Maps, but fortunately it was good enough everywhere.
Some people were clearly out of shape this time. There was no large mountain whatsoever, but on slight hills it started to become already somewhat complicated. But then we had fields everywhere, meaning we had great views every now and then.
Until yesterday, it looked like we were going through an endless winter, but then the sun appeared all of a sudden yesterday, and today we had nearly 20 degrees. That’s a lot for Germany.
As I said above, much of today’s trail was not part of a real hiking trail. There was even one guy wondering why we were hiking there.
I thought there was no place for a break, but then there was Heiligenhaus, a small city on the way, where there was a café open. During the winter, I wondered whether small places can make it there, but it’s nice to see that things are slowly coming back to the new normal. I had a break in front of a church.
And there was also a chance to have an ice cream at the end of the hike. Just like before. Brilliant 🙂