Hiking: 2021’s head start

After the end of 2020, I haven’t expected much from myself when it comes to my physical activity at the start of 2021. The truth is: I quite surprised myself. Weather being (so far) relatively cooperative is a strong factor, but not the main one.

To start from the start, the end of 2020 was a major slump for me in all hobbies. I took a break from writing as I finished some revisison on the draft of #2 and had to ask my betas about their availability, I took an unplanned break from reading as well, and my time outdoor was reduced to easy walks around the suburbs as I was still dealing with some light issues caused by what was likely a light version of COVID back in November.

And it was the coronavirus what had sent me towards a head start: with all the restriction, staying up on 31.12. became pointless, so I prepared my backpack and outdoor clothing, kept the alarm at 5:10 (the time I get up for work), and decided to spend the day in the hills. While the suburbs drowned in fog, the hills enjoyed clear skies, and so my intended short “warm-up” walk stretched a lot.

By then, the snow was only above ~900m ASL, so the landscape was still quite green (and what white was seen was just icy grass). But the slopes hidden in shade had a bit of winter look.

Since the weather was favorable, and I was feeling surprisingly well, I threw away the idea of a short walk and went on, to enjoy the day.

So the final distance walked was around 28km – definitely the longest winter hike I’ve done so far, though the lack of snow in the lower portions helped it.

2021’s second weekend was overcast in both hills and lowlands, and thus my next day outside wasn’t as photogenic. By then, snow was holding lower (I guess around 500m ASL) so most of the ascension was done on a thin layer of snow. The descent, using a main path, was mostly on ice as the countless people taking that path made their mark.

Thus, a shorter (17km) hike had me slightly more exhausted due to using different muscles to keep my balance on the steep and icy path.

By the way, fatigue was one of the reasons I had posted nothing the last weekend – I had no post fully prepared and I couldn’t get to prepare the photography highlight for 2020 I planned.

In the coming days, winter had made its way to the lowlands as well, with the temperature in the city being around -3°C, accompanied by light but persistent snowfall. Mid-week, I went to take a few photos in the park during my lunch break.

By then, I was already thinking where to go for the third weekend’s hike, but the forecast hinted even more snow in the hills, and I had to change my plans.

2021’s third weekend promised a different challenge: up to 30cm snow in the hills during the day. Thus, I had to stick to some known places, but I wanted to avoid the totally crowded ones.

I succeeded, and took a path that would be on a forest road in normal case, but the road was buried under some 20-30cm of snow already. As the snow was light, I could make my way through it just fine.

The second part of my journey wasn’t much different – I expected more people in this part, as it is quite known, but the weather had likely warded some people off, so the walk through a deep layer of snow wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. One of the places was good for quite a charming picture, though.

This winter atmosphere stayed with me all the way to the end.

So, I had quite an active start of the year, and I hope it to stay, though probably not to the point I’d venture out every weekend – I doubt the weather will be that cooperative long-term. I had already surpassed 2020’s beginning by far – these three hikes were more than 2020’s January and February combined.

For now, I hope the beginning of 2021 has caught you well. Feel free to share how is the new year going for you.

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