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    The Westweg: the first two stages (1)

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    The Westweg: the first two stages (1)

    A hike on the Westweg? 280 kilometers by foot? Sure! A description of my joys and sorrows and my very personal journey back to freedom, in several chapters.

    First stage: Pforzheim - Dobel - 27 km, 1517/915 Hm

    How a once rich city, the Goldstadt Pforzheimhad come down so much... After a night in a nondescript, but clean hotel the trail started in a nondescript and unclean quarter of the city. Even the search for the trailhead, the Golden Gate Pforzheim, is quite difficult, but still feasible. The obviously only friendly person in Pforzheim helped finding it. The day went quite uneventfully except that I realized my condition was still not impressive. The (un-)regular jogging in the eight weeks between hospital and tour start was obviously not enough, especially since the backpack countered any appearance of Elan. So I wheezed and gasped on the slightest climb, even the day after. And actually on all days. But more on that later.

    Peeling body and mind out of four walls and adapting it to it's original environment, the forest, was a rather sobering task. If the Black Forest club had not paved so well all the trees with the red rhombus, I would have hopelessly gone lost after just an hour. But there were only a few short detours into the unmarked wilderness just behind Pforzheim.

    The sun shone through the canopy, a brook rushing, park benches are prevalent. The sweat flowed in streams, the water consumption was enormous. I should have stuck to the 10% rule, which says you should only increase the amount of exercise every week by 10%. For a long time I was not even able to walk for a while, then the wall was at 5 kilometers, then 10. A single 27 kilometer walk and then, a week later, 300 kilometers? Stupid idea.

    The village Dobel came in sight. Dobel was somehow extinct, only the "Flammeria" had opened. A sausage salad and a Radler (Beer mixed with lemonade) later I filled up the water bags and a few kilometers behind Dobel, in the twilight by a forest hut, erect the tent.

    After about an hour I got used to the sounds in the forest, my feet were just tingling a bit and I fell asleep. In the morning, I got up with a big grin - so wide that the coffee almost went wrong. What a great idea this hike was! Strangely grounded to earth, I slipped barefoot through the tall grass, felt the cold morning dew and the tickling of the blades of grass. This enthusiasm even lasted when I laced my boots, but then abruptly stopped at the next climb. Rarely have I experienced the fight body vs. mind so closely!

    Second stage: Dobel - Draberg - 19 km, 873/665 Hm

    Under the blazing sun I dragged the backpack up the mountains and down again and hardly had an eye for the beauties of the Black Forest on the second day. Not even for the landscape. However, I was happy at the Hahnenfalzhütte about the blessings of civilization: a well and a cold cola.

    At the Moors on the Kaltenbronn it dawned on me what an outrageous luck I have. Not far from my front door lies such a natural jewel as the Black Forest and I started to enjoy the trail slightly. Very slightly.

    Inspired and slightly lighter in feel, I kindled a campfire by the Draberg Hut and cooked some food in the sunset high above the tree tops and valleys. Gorgeous!

    the next two stages: 2 >>

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