“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” – Carl Reiner
I am not a big fan of the cold so when the 6th trip of the 10×10 hikes was announced, I bowed out as soon as I found out that it involved snow. My friends were not having it though, they told me how much fun we would have making snowmen, snow angels and having snow fights. And they reminded me that the snowshoe walking would only be for two hours. Convinced, I signed up and shivered inside.
Two days before the trip we were informed by the shoe walking organisers that due to lack of snow, we would not be able to do the snowshoe walking after all. They offered us ice skating as an alternative. Luckily for me, a few of my fellow snowshoe walkers were just as afraid of falling and embarrassing themselves as I am and so were not too keen on ice skating. The organisers could not understand why we did not want to ice skate, as far as they are concerned it’s just like walking. Easy for them to say when they have been doing it since the age of two.
We compromised with a hike in the forests on the outskirts of Stockholm instead. When we first started walking I thought my fingers were going to fall off, they were heavy and painful and I could just about hold grip the hiking poles. This from just being outside for ten minutes and despite the fact that I had on two pairs of gloves and five layers on the top half of my body two of which were jackets.
After walking for about forty-five minutes I began to warm up, the circulation had finally reached my fingers and I began to enjoy the walk. There were no snow fights and the shiny snow was like powder and could not be made into a ball so instead, we had snow rain. Halfway through we stopped by a frozen lake for lunch which was provided by the tour operators. In the morning they had collected us from our hostel and taken us to their offices where they gave us each a backpack containing a bottle of water, a thermos flask of hot water, a humongous sandwich, a selection of teas, coffee and soup. They also provided shoes, a down gilet and a mat to sit on. Their level of preparation was staggering.
So when we got to the lake we sat around a fire that a very considerate couple had already started and tucked into our food. After the soup, tea and sandwiches, out came some sausages and marshmallows which we barbecued on the open fire. A few members of the group got creative, dipping them in the Baileys that they had brought along before roasting it on the open flame. It felt strange sitting in front of a fire surrounded by snow in all directions. But I was glad that I allowed myself to be convinced into coming. It’s not every day that you get to have a BBQ in snow surrounded by crazy adventurers. The surrounding scenery was just as great, the only thing missing was a guitar and drums.
The rest of the hike went relatively quickly. The route was flat so the only challenge was keeping from slipping in the snow and I can proudly say that none of us did. Six hours after setting off, we returned the shoes and backpacks and returned to the hostel to prepare for a much deserved dinner. As hikes go, but for the cold, this would have been the easiest one I have done. I am hoping the Blackforest will be warmer but that is probably wishful thinking.