Monday, 18 May 2015

Not quite The Pacific Crest trail, but wait till you see my country..

I'm mentally prepping to go on a hike. At first it's going to be a micro hike, because – General's reasons. He wants to test me for a night at first, so I have to sleep in the woods on my parent's estate. This might happen tomorrow, as it plans to rain later and he refuses to let me run around in the rain. Then, in a week's time, I will try to do a 5-day run, looking for Geocaches from my town to my brother’s town, taking a detour though the Kozje natural resort. There was a location I wanted to see, finally, but it is too far out from my route, so I’ll just see that one some other time and enjoy the park in the meanwhile.
It has been 10 years since I trekked alone. We did it some later, but together. I am a lot fatter now, which means I tire quicker and my ankles hurt more. But also, I have my head on straight lately and know exactly what I want and what to look for. I used to pack 50 pounds of a backpack called Kingdom. I can now pack 15 of its smaller brother County. I also haven’t really done things by maps much before, just destinations. I’m printing out topographical chart sections – and the symbol list. Drej has been marching us up a steep hill every day. 

Now, which of the little dots are a leech polluted swamp and which are coffee shop littered villages?
I have one compromise and two challenges set up. The compromise is that I remain within the country’s border. Obviously, in 5 days, I will not cross many borders, but this whole conversation began because I wanted to do the Appalachian trail and the General said not only he doesn’t have the money to send me there, he certainly doesn’t have it to come rescue me when I do something stupid. Between looking at the E7, Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage and the Geocache game, I figured it would be just as fun to walk alongside the border round and round. It’s a thousand miles. I walk about 30 km a day if I pace myself properly and if I don’t spend too long looking for the damn caches, that’s about the summer’s length. Weather contingent. (Not a fan of hiking with wet feet.) The General will allow me to go anywhere as long as he is never more than two hour’s drive away from rescuing me.
The challenges are taking the camera and the dog. I have no idea how a Beagle will look at sleeping outdoors. She may be unhappy a bit. Or she may be supper happy. I don’t know. You can never tell with a Beagle. They tend to look flabbergasted most of the time. As the camera goes, it is a very heavy piece of gear. I would really love to have a small wide lens, but alas, my smallest is 50mm, which is perfect should I find anyone to portrait, not so much for landscape – in case NG decides to consider me for a reportage. But, like I said. I am nothing if not really good at this stuff now.
I would be doing this a lot more if I wasn’t so fucking madly in love with G and cannot really spend more than a day away from him.Have taken a photo of my favorite part of him this week for morale. (It's the foot, you pervs.)
The plan is to cross Svetina (or, actually, be driven up to the summit, because I hate that ascend) and head to Olimje. That’s a day’s walk, but there is a tricky destination in between, namely a lake deep down in the valley – and I enjoy walking ridges if I’m in a hilly terrain. So there is almost no way I’ll make it to Olimje in a day, as it is not going to be a straightforward hike. It is more likely I will cot somewhere before that. Then, through the next day, I’ll roll around the park, chilling, maybe down to Bistrica ob Sotli. Day three is down to my brother’s place near Brestanica. This would be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… I’m putting a day in there somewhere, because the park is really pretty and I want to check out some castles and some hilltops and smaller medieval towns. So, I gotsta be on the mark Friday night. And if this trek proves adorable and cool, I’ll have the green light to hop on a train a few days later, go to Dobova and continue alongside the Slo-Cro border for a wee longer while. The good thing about this country is that, if you see a week of rain coming up or if there’s something interesting happening back home, you can just hop on a train and return for a few days. I have to buy the muzzle for the mutt, though, as regulations dictate a dog, no matter how benign looking, requires a muzzle if you want to ride a train with it. Also, the General wants me to take along a hammock. Those are not as easy to hide when you’re sleeping, not as small sleeping arrangement under an army canvas, but then again I have no idea how either will work, so I may as well try both. That’s 6 extra pounds on the backpack, though, counting the rope.
I’m thinking, if I get bored during (which book should I take? Don Quixote?), I’ll write and illustrate a kids/young adults series of adventures and misadventures of a crime solver, explorer and sundae taster Nellie and her dog Bo. A chubby, chocolate loving traveler little girl, spending the summer vacation taking photos and talking to people and drinking milkshakes and finding lost treasures. It’s totally not based on me. 

Making myself the Morale Cheat Sheet. The biggest problem of any enterprise is always morale  - there comes a day that's been so bad you just say fuck this shit and turn home - and I always make myself a cheat sheet to look at from time to time and remind myself why I'm doing things. From leather bags I'd love to own some day, to wolf soul I'd like to own some day, to two hamsters in love, tattoos I like, battling bards and of course G's puffy feet, the prettiest feet ever. And some amazing places, imaginary or otherwise.