As the restrictions are being lifted, I decided to create two hikes every weekend, in the hope to distribute the people more evenly to make the density lower. Quite obviously, it didn’t work.
This being said, I guess we are getting more and more used to the situation. On the one hand, it seems to me that the police don’t care so much anymore, on the other hand, social distancing is not so badly ignored anymore.
Today’s hike was in Essen. And when we go to Essen from Düsseldorf, we usually go over the Ruhr area. This time, we had a layover in Wuppertal, meaning we were supposed to meet the people from the Ruhr area directly at Essen-Kupferdreh, where we started the hike. For some reason, they were waiting at a wrong location or whatever. Anyway, when we started hiking, we apparently left a large fraction of participants. Actually this wasn’t so bad, since this gave us the possibility to walk in a small group, which made it easier to keep distance to other people.
Right after the beginning of the restriction easing, a lot of the former participants came back, but then as I expressed my frustration, many of them disappeared. Today, many of them were new, the ones that started to join us after the restrictions were partly lifted. Somehow it’s a completely different atmosphere.
We first walked down to the Ruhr and had to walk along the river for some time. I had warned everyone of the danger along the river, as there are quite a lot of cyclists there. Since the Ruhr is in a valley, the cyclists can cycle only on this path (and the other side of the river). And we’ve experienced difficulties several times in the past sessions. It didn’t take much time to leave that area today, but indeed it was not very comfortable there. If the weather had been better, it could have been even worse.
There’s this one railway line that goes along the river in this area, which is used only for freight trains (or maybe not used at all). It’s kind of nice to see this type of isolated railway lines. From the industrial point of view, it must have been an important one.
While every single path on the northern side of the Ruhr is well maintained, this side was somewhat wilder. There were quite a few narrow paths which were partly so narrow that I wasn’t sure if they lead us to somewhere. For some reason, however, there were a few hikers along the way, even though it was not particularly flat.
Before the break, there were less and less people in my group. At the end, we were 10, which means we didn’t have to evoke attention of the locals. It was somewhat a relief to me. When we were about to have the break, everyone appeared.
We could get a bit of grass field on the edge of Heidhausen, in the middle of a few restaurants etc. Even though there were indeed cars nearby, it was a good place to have a break. I stayed far away from everyone, sitting alone in my camping chair.
And after the break, again we were in a small group. I wonder whether everyone could make it to the end. Well it was Essen after all – you cannot be completely lost wherever you go.