2008-10-11 49 12

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Sat 11 Oct 2008 in Regensburg, Germany:
49.1883920, 12.1468141

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The spot was directly on a track (again? I'm lucky.), in a forest above the Regen valley, near Hirschling, about 25km north of Regensburg.


I went there by bike. Originally I had planned to leave at 8:00 in the morning to be back for lunch, but of course I overslept and finally started at 9:00.

Weather was a slowly sinking fog with visibility around 300-500m on the ground, which combined with about 12°C forms an environment in which you end up alternately sweating and freezing on your bike.

The first 5km were the same as my regular way to work, and I knew the next 13km after that very well from cycling to my 2005 internship at a company in Regenstauf. Beyond Regenstauf, a cycleway accompanies the main road up to Hirschling, where I turned left, crossed the river and started to climb uphill into the forest in my Rohloff's first gear. The track there was relatively new and didn't match my GPS map, but I had seen it on the satellite images already.

I had assumed that in this uncomfortable weather and so far away from any larger town I should be completely alone in the woods. Stopping for breath about 400m from the hashpoint I thought about that for a while, but then I noticed a car parked around the next corner, and an older man walking to it. He asked me if I was finished already... which confused me until it turned out he expected me to be hunting mushrooms like he was. I just said I was there "just for fun".

Arriving at the hash, the thought "apparently the trees have been fighting over something" popped into my mind. Besides neat stacks of wood along the track, there was a large pile of branches and twigs and cut-off treetops at the exact coordinates.

Looking for ways to mark the spot as visited, I noticed some saw mill shavings, and tried to sprinkle them on the ground to spell "xkcd", which sort of worked.

Another mushrooming man and a jogger passed by, and then a tractor with a couple of farmer boys on a trailer approached. They were loudly arguing about which turn to take at the fork I was standing at, then stopped and asked if I knew which of the ways lead to Leonberg. I would have had to pan around the slow map on my GPS and even then it would have been a guess as the tracks were new, so I oversimplified a little and just shouted "I have no idea at all" over the engine noise, and they randomly picked one of the ways and left.

By then it was 11:40, so getting back at the planned time was no longer possible, but nevertheless I got back down into the valley and sped the remaining 25km back to Regensburg.

All in all, 60km of cycling, 4.5 hours total including cookie breaks and hanging out at the hash. I hope I remember to bring sunshine (and not have other things planned in the afternoon) next time.