Sunday, January 9, 2011

What happened in 2010 and what's next in 2011

I left Germany in early January 2010 and had a hard year of hiking and cycling. I accomplished almost all the trails and bike trips I had planned with just some minor alterations. So that is the numbers and stats for 2010:

about 200 km in a canoe on a weird flip-flop on the Wilderness Waterway in the Everglades in Florida
1.770 km on foot on the Florida Trail
1.287 km on the Arizona Trail
about 2.000 km on bicycle in Utah, Nevada and California
223 km on foot on the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory in Australia
about 1.700 km on bicycle from Darwin to Alice Springs
250 km on foot on the Great South West Walk in Victoria, Australia
1.200 km on foot on the Heysen Trail in Southern Australia
4.500 km in a campervan through New South Wales and Queensland (luckily with my friend Maik driving...)
440 km on foot on the Hume and Hovell Track
1.000 km on foot on the Bibbulmun Track

Best towns: Salt Lake City in the US and Adelaide in South Australia

Biggest problem: Constant bad weather - I was flooded and drenched wherever I went, even in Outback Australia

Saddest event: To learn of the death of my hiking friend Dave Blumenthal in a mountain bike accident

Worst accident: To fall into an unpredictable underground cave on the Heysen Trail

On the AZT
Biggest surprise: To see how well couchsurfing and warm showers worked and the wonderful and interesting people I have met through it

Nicest people I have met: My couchsurfing host Monte in Sacramento and my warm showers host Gray in Adelaide - I came as a guest and left as a friend. And of course the farmers who "rescued" me after my accident on the Heysen trail.

Equipment problems: 2 broken Garmin GPS (one brand new!), 1 defect Suunto outdoor watch (brand new, too), 1 worn out zipper on my sleeping bag, twice zippers worn out on tarptent, 3 defect Platypus bottles, 2 defects on the Therma-a-Rest, my backpack had to be stitched up at least 5 times and I ruined 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of shoes, 1 T-shirt, 1 shirt, 1 outdoor pants, 1 cap (lost in accident)

On the AZT
2010 has been the toughest year so far on my long trip. The constant bad weather has been wearing me down, both mentally and physically. I never wanted to go back home, but on some occasions I just sat down and cried because everything just got to much for me. But these moments passed and I was rewarded with some of the most exotic ecosystems I have been in.

So what is next? I will spend 2 months in Singapore and Malaysia just as a normal tourist, backpacking and sightseeing and eating... In March I will fly back to Germany and prepare the next adventures.

April and May I will spend hiking in Germany - after one year in swamps, deserts and Eucalypt forest I am longing for German pine trees..

Giving a speech on the FT
June to August I will be paddling the Yukon River in Alaska!!!! Yes, that is the one Jack London wrote about... How did this idea come along? Well, an old hiking friend of mine, Adrian aka Matterhorn from Switzerland has been planning this as a present to himself for his 60th birthday. I had never really considered to join him, but after hiking and being on my own for a year straight I thought it is time for a change. I also want to get more experienced in paddling. So Adrian and I have booked our flights already and on June 1st we will both fly to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and start a thrupaddle of about 3.000 km of the Yukon.

From September on I do not have any definite plans yet. I might do some more hiking in Alaska if I find a decent trail or hike John O'Groats to Land's End in the UK. Remember, I try to hike with the exchange rate and the British Pound is pretty low now. But no matter what, I think it is going to be a pretty exciting year 2011.

1 comment:

Greg said...

What an incredible 2010. You must have legs of steel! Looking forward to your adventures in 2011...

Greg