Hiking from Bensberg to Hoffnungsthal!
It was quite some time ago that Bhagyashree, who joins us every now and then, told me she could also organize hikes. That was a huge relief for me, at the time I was worried about the sustainability of the hikes. This time, she decided to organize a hike near Cologne, where she lives. As you may already know, this region is extremely beautiful. Almost unfair, as the monthly cards in Düsseldorf don’t cover this area.
She also made me an organizer, even though I was not quite sure if I could participate, just a day after I came back from Greece. So I didn’t even specify a meeting point in Düsseldorf (the official meeting point was in Cologne), which made me even less motivated, because there’s a cheap group train ticket for 5 people in this region in North Rhine-Westphalia, but I would have been pretty much the only one starting from Düsseldorf. So I was about to say I wouldn’t join. Then there was this guy, Olaf, who could take me on his car. So in the end, I almost directly went hiking after my return from Greece. Brilliant.
It was a weird feeling to wait for the others at the starting point. In fact the beginning, is the most stressful part, from the meeting point to the end of public transport. I’m happy that I could be spared of this part.
Bhagyashree and I have different attitudes towards the organization. I am rather the person, who doesn’t really care about the others, essentially because for me, the spirit is the same: I just go hiking. Bhagyashree, on the other hand, decided to wait for those who were arriving late. She also stopped very often during the hike to wait for the others. She has her own style to handle the stuff.
However, there are important reasons for what I do. Firstly, as you may already know, these hiking sessions have an aspect of experiment for me, too. And the condition of this experiment is the assumption that there will always be people who go faster and those who go more slowly. So the inherent risk of losing some people will probably forever be there. Now the question is, will it evolve in the way that people naturally get around the problem by waiting for those far behind them, when they notice that there’s an ambiguous turn and a significant distance to the following group at the same time. Or will they always get lost if the organizer doesn’t pay attention, regardless of how often people participate.
Secondly, as you might have already seen before, I still stick to the idea of “independent hikers” instead of defining a group. The main reason why this is important for me is because it appears to me that the act of identifying ourselves with a certain group of people is the source of discriminating others. Especially these days we know that the stupid political propaganda always focuses on creating social groups, just in order to discriminate “the others”. From the practical point of view, it is sometimes the case that we cannot avoid creating groups, but during the hike, there’s the WhatsApp group and they should have access to the hiking path. So I avoid to promote the idea of group identity.
Well, all this being said, it does not go beyond my personal taste. It is anyway important for me to see a different style. So there’s no reason for me to intervene in this matter.
Today’s trail was modified from the one proposed on wanderwege-nrw.de, as it was too long for a one-day hike. I must have done it quite some time ago. I didn’t really remember that I had this trail.
It is actually the first time that a hike takes place near Cologne. And Cologne has a much larger population than Düsseldorf. So maybe about half of the participants were new. Probably all of them were from Cologne. Unfortunately I could not talk to everyone there. To be honest, I was still quite tired from my business trips. I was still enjoying being in the nature, though.
In the last sessions, we always had something on the way, like cafés or a farm. This time, we clearly had to have a break in the middle of nowhere. Bhagyashreee looked it up in the internet beforehand, which turned out to be a quite proper place for a break. Not bad to find something like this in such a place.
Bhagyashree even took care of the icecream parlor after the hike. As I wrote below, the tradition was supposed to be that we go to an icecream dealer after the hike and order beer. Obviously, I was the only one following my tradition. Well, maybe it’s not that right to call something a tradition that started 2 weeks ago.
Well, whatever the tradition is the icecream parlor is the best part of the hike. So great that we revived this part.