2008-12-31 49 8

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Wed 31 Dec 2008 in Mannheim:
49.0251925, 8.2977929

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Expedition

ilpadre

Part 2 of a two-day expedition. Read Part 1.

I knew I would have to walk 4.3 km from the first hashpoint to get to hashpoint #2. I also knew that most of these 4.3 km lead through fields and only about 500 m could be expected to be illuminated by street lights. That is why I not only brought one LED flashlight, but also a second one to be on the safe side. With almost a new moon and no ambient light whatsoever, nothing scared me more than the thought of a defective flashlight.

I arrived at hashpoint #1 at 22:50, so i had 70 minutes to find my way. When I walked along Hagenbacher Straße, the headlights of occasional cars blinded me and forced me to pause every time until my eyes were accustomed to the dark again.

I crossed the Landesstraße 540, and to my surprise, the paths leading through the fields were part of a official hiking trail - asphalted and comfortably walkable (besides it being completely dark and freezingly cold, of course). I only had to walk through a field once to save 500 meters. After a few hundred meters of restorative walking on the edge of a residential area with street lights, I plunged into darkness again when I entered the footpath along a Rhine dike.

After 600 m, the path took a turn to the left. I saw a group of trees 50 m behind the dike. I knew that the hashpoint was beneath them, and there were only a few more minutes until midnight. I opened my bag, took out my thermos bottle, drank some warm tea and ate an apple. After that, I proceeded to cross the dike, flashlight in the left hand, camera in the right, slipped on the frozen grass and, without having my hands free to break my fall, fell flat on my face. With much more caution, and the camera safe in my pocket, I walked through and over some bushes, to the trees, and back to the footpath.

I had about 20 minutes left to walk 1.8 km to Maximiliansau Eisenbahnstraße to catch the last tram to Karlsruhe at 0:26. If I had missed it, I would have had to wait two hours in the cold for the next one. I arrived in time, drank some more tea and watched groups of drunk teenagers enter the tram and offering the driver liquor as it crossed the outskirts of Karlsruhe. At Karlsruhe-Durlach I got off and waited for the ICE to Heidelberg.

At 2:30, I was soundly sleeping in my bed.

You can watch a video of both expeditions!

There is a nice (daylight!) view of the hashpoint site here.