I’m going for a long, solo walk through the Thüringer Wald from the 4th to 13th of November. I’ll post photos from the trail, and sometimes write notes and stories to go with them. Think of it like medium-length Instagram posts, but without the algorithms.
If you want to get those letters, put your email in the box below. You’ll get photos and notes for ten days from the 4th, and then after the walk I’ll delete the mailing list. There’s a little more about the how / why under the signup form.
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In 2018, I walked for eleven days along the E5; a long-distance hiking trail, along a section that starts in one of the southernmost towns in Germany, crosses the Alps, and all of Austria, and ends in Bolzano, Italy.
Something about walking in the mountains took hold in me. In 2019, I walked along the Allgäuer Höhenweg. In July 2020, once it looked like the COVID restrictions were easing, I walked a ten-day trail through Tirol, Austria. In 2021, I spent six days rambling new routes through areas I’d been before, and can now tell you half a dozen ways to get from Oberstdorf in Germany to Zams in Austria. The hobby is a part of my life now; the geography a part of my memory.
I haven’t had time for a longer hike this year. It’s already cold, the days are already short, and the mountain huts are shut. So I’m walking the Rennsteig, an old trail, a famous trail, through the forest in Thüringen, in the middle of Germany. I think it’s normally pretty touristy, and also pretty accessible? It’s different from my mountain hikes; there are towns you can sleep in every day, there are “all inclusive walking tours” which include luggage forwarding, so the only thing you need to think about bringing for a day is your lunch and enough water.
It is now, however, off-season. The luggage forwarding has stopped, and some of the hotels are taking a break before the winter season starts up. Presumably there will be fewer people on the trail. Maybe all the leaves have fallen off the trees already.
I’ve had stories – about mountains, walking, forests, and the interconnections between them all – stuck in my Drafts folder for years now, and in an effort to condense “everything” into “something”, I’m bringing a laptop. I’m not expecting to be able to “bang out” high-quality essays from the road while walking 20km a day! But I’m hopeful that the rigor of the process will help crystallise the ideas. You’re a part of that – once I’ve publicly said that I’m going to write things, once people have signed up to receive them – then I kinda have to do it? You’re an accountability partner, if you will. 1
I don’t know exactly what I’ll write about yet. But there may well be paragraphs about
- mushrooms, and
- weather, and
- the habit of long-distance hiking, and
- taking photos of power lines, and
- how there’s no such thing as a bad hike
(except for Stage 14 of the 66 Lakes Trail).
A lot of it will be very draft-quality, but I’d love you to join me anyway. Sign up here.