Nach dem Urlaub ist vor dem Urlaub

Until I can land a job as a full-time Alpine hiker, I generally start planning (dreaming of) my next trip on the flight back from my existing trip.  Granted, the realist in me appreciates that wandering (it is very fitting that the german verb “to hike” is “wandern”) probably isn’t going to be my full-time career.  Besides, what would I do for a vacation then?  Most likely visit a metropolis and work as software engineer for two weeks. 😉

Me around Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland in September 2010. Did I mention I like the food…?

Before we get to the next trip, let’s wrap up this one.  First, I want to make some comments about the gear that I used:

  1. Handheld hiking GPS.  I know Garmin’s stock went down when Apple announced it’s maps initiative, but the iPhone can’t beat the battery life and sensitivity of a dedicated GPS (currently), especially one that can’t get connected to the Internet.  My Garmin eTrex 20 was fun on the trail, with constant moving averages and recorded the data to produce those great Google Earth maps.
  2. Camelback.  Absolutely essential in my opinion.  I had a backpack with a Camelback sleeve and it makes a huge difference having the water fit nicely in the mid of your back vice carrying water bottles.  Plus, it’s easy access to water.  I was drinking about 3 Liters of water each trip and honestly, I should have been drinking more in the 80+ degrees.
  3. Dry-fit clothing.  I sweat profusely.  After switching to all dry-fit clothing I adamantly avoid cotton on hikes.  When we stopped for breaks and I took my bag off, my shirts would dry.  The smell on the other hand…
What would now be called a geocache, around Lauterbrunnen, September 2010. It was a long way down…

Experience highlights:

  1. A lot of spoken German practice for me, which was fun.  After a few trips to Germany, I quickly became a fan of the German Trinkkultur, hiking and the language.  I mean, it’s a great language for Computer Scientists since it uses a stack; in some cases all the verbs pile up at the end of the sentence and once complete, one pops the stack of all the verbs!  I even was able to help hikers and tourist with directions in the area, in German!  So, you know… go me.
  2. Hotel-to-hotel-hiking is the way to go.  My previous hiking in Berchtesgaden and Lauterbrunnen were both amazing in their own rights, but having a luggage service really opens up the day to maximize time in the mountains.  This was also my first experience with a travel agency and Wanderweg Holidays really made this effortless.  They also specialize in this kind of trip.  I highly recommend you check them out if you are interested in a similar vacation!
On the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, October 2009. Another visitor yelled to me: “Come on American! Get over here already!” Apparently, tort litigation is on the side of the tourist attractions in Germany…

So, what’s next?  Some possibilities:

  1. Another hiking trip.  I would love to go back to German speaking countries (mainly for point number 1 above).  But there’s a lot on this geoid where I haven’t been, mainly I’ve never been in the Southern Hemisphere!  Despite a circumnavigation through both major canals and visiting Singapore (1 degree away!!), I’m still a pollywog.  So, if it is a hiking trip, New Zealand is looking like the candidate.  Or New Hampshire if we’re driving 🙂
  2. Cruise.  Cruises are effortless vacations.  I get massive amounts of reading done on these while I’m sitting on a deck looking out onto the sea.  It’s great, relatively cheap and easy.  While great, we’ve done our share, so meh.
  3. The Alps in the winter.  My wife is a skier, I’m a faller-down-the-mountain-and-kill-myself-so-just-stay-in-the-lodge-and-read-guy, so it works out great!  Plus, point 1 again.
Sign on the Zugspitze for the path to climb to the cross (see above picture). They are not kidding…

So, probably back to Germany 😮 , but I’ll work on my plans some more.  Of course, if you have suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!  Well, I don’t have any more hiking adventures upcoming anytime soon, but I’m burning through a backlog of books and my database class is interesting (sounds of massive unsubscribing… 🙂 ), so feel free to stick around.

Bis bald!