I love my creature comforts. Hiking and climbing activities, for me, are challenges. I’ve never ever done it in my youth so it was difficult to get my adult mind around it when Easy Hiker suggested I come along for a hike. I had loads of imagined fears.
But Easy Hiker promised to be gentle with me on my very first hike
My first hike was at the Lieserpfad in the Eifel. Easy Hiker chose a relatively easy trail.
First off, we went to and spent a night in Gerolstein, a small German town. Early next day, on a pleasant crisp spring morning and after a hefty breakfast in the hotel, my first hike started.
For my initiation to hiking, a 10-15 km (8-10 miles) for the first of a 2-day trek was programmed. The way to the easy hiking trail went through a town park, through a children’s playground. It was not as I imagined a hike to be.
“Ahh,” I thought, “this would be child’s play after all.”
Easy Hiker was in charge of planning our hike. But I had to know the basics all the same. He showed me the map of the trail, the elevations and told me what trail markings to look out for.
My first adventure with nature involved some uphill trails that were narrow and slippery. The spring rain has made sure my hiking rite of passage involved dragging me (at least my feet) through the mud.
But what was particularly exhilarating for a city bug like me was being so close to nature as I have never been before, crossing rivulets, drinking from little springs whence raging rivers start, seeing wild flowers along the paths, clicking away at panoramic views of towns and ancient fortress in a verdant valley and always accompanied by the gurgling river.
The thrills of my first easy hiking adventure were not lacking either: bouts of vertigo because of narrow slippery uphill trails that didn’t have protective barriers that could stop a steep fall straight to the Lieser River.
The appreciation of spending a holiday this way slowly crept up on me. Although we were walking for hours with only a short break for a snack, I was tired in a different sort of way. My back didn’t hurt as it usually does after a few hours walking up and down a city shopping high street (I hate window shopping, truth be told) or going from one tourist site to the next in a city or town.
The following day, another 15 km hike was ahead of us. To be honest, the second day was rather daunting, mostly for me, considering how tired I was from the previous day’s hike. I was a bit slower but the excitement I felt doing my first hike was as fresh as the day before.
But during moments when I was literally panting for breath, red in the face, sweat streaming down my back on a cool spring day, struggling up a particularly slippery steep slope, I confess to thoughts like: “Gawd, this will be my first and last hike. I’m dying. Never again!”.
You get the drift.
Finally, we reached the top and we had that awesome view of the town we left down below (and the delight of knowing that if there’s an up it can only be going down next).