The following day I went hiking again. This day was the day before Easter, and I’ve mentioned some of this hike to you before (see the third bullet point on Ein Osterwochenende, Pt. 1). But in addition to being a super Eastery hike, the long time alone allowed me to reflect on the day before as well as my time this far in Germany.
Normally when I hike, I enjoy wandering for hours and just looking at the nature that surrounds me. I’m fascinated by the way sunlight hits the bark of trees. I relish the sound of a hidden brook.
But this solitary enjoyment of the world doesn’t mix well with companions. With friends in tow, you usually need to have a more solid point to the hike and plenty of conversation. You walk a little slower and observe a lot less. But you also have others to experience the day with you and to push you to do activities you normally wouldn’t do. If I had been by myself, I definitely would have been too timid to explore those two towers. But with hiking companions, I had the chance to be a little braver. Nonetheless, this day-before-Easter hike alone was a much-needed chance for me to delight in the little details along the way.
On this hike, I found what would become my favorite way up the mountain. In previous hikes, I would follow what most people seemed to do: turn right at the fork at the base of the mountain, and zigzag your way up. Instead, I took the left-hand trail. It was a sharp climb upward and curled around the narrow valley. This path was significantly thinner than its broader sister I was used to taking, likely because it was steeper. But it was definitely more beautiful. The treeline was guarded by squatter trees who had borne the brunt of wind along the bare slope, and I couldn’t help but think of Fangorn forest.
The open meadow was where I finally placed the giant cross, where I spotted a hare, and interrupted a teenage couple’s murmurings. On the hike, I also discovered an overly enthusiastic tree, a bridge cut lengthwise from one tree (I was a little nervous to walk on it), and a branch spotlit for its theatrical debut.
At the time, I had no one with whom to share these little discoveries, so thank you for being my cyber travel companions!