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50KM Nighthike… gone wrong.

I. Hate. Giving. Up.

“My phone is already at 30% battery, which means very soon I won’t have a map, it’s cold, and I hate knowing we could already be on the Brocken now…” The list of reasons I’m running by @melindavigheu on the phone, pacing the train station platform in Bad Harzburg, sounds more like a list of excuses. I don’t want to go on a 50KM night hike across the Brocken alone. But circumstances were as they were, @querfeldberg was dealing with an epic string of bad luck with the Deutsche Bahn.

Oh, another text.

Another train missed. ETA: pushed back by another 2hrs. The way their luck is running, who knows if they might not miss the last train to Bad Harzburg arriving at 11PM, too.

“Look, you’ve got a 50KM hike ahead of you, and half of the night will be over before you even start,” Melinda replies. I sigh.

I had been really looking forward to this hike.

But even though I may be endurant – I am not patient. A difference @torstenweigel had once very accurately assessed: “As long as things are moving, you’re fine. But if all you can do is wait? Now that’s torture.”

As the train back to Braunschweig sits patiently in the station, waiting for me to make a decision, while I in turn wait for the team to let me know whether they’ve caught their respective last train.

Turning back before the hike even started was a version of DNFing (did not finish) that had not even crossed my mind during the planning. I had expected to be throwing sugar-low induced tantrums, maybe have a Rumpelstilzchen-esque good cry over cold feet. But a DNS (did not start)? Bot DAMN!

No matter if outside on the trails, or inside the lab, I’ve noticed that I tend to beat myself up quite hard over not bringing something to a close, over not being able to reach as high as I’ve tried to shoot. I beat myself up especially hard if the roadblocks and circumstances preventing me from succeeding cannot be changed (at the moment).

I guess it’s my feeble attempt to take control of something I can change in such a situation:


Which is why my sour mood at potentially turning back to Berlin is all the more aimed at me.

I feel like I could wait longer – after all, a few hours in the cold in a train station platform aren’t the worst I’ve been through, right? Am I being a wuss for DNSing? Is this… weakness? Am I even still outdoorsy if I can’t even tough it out on a station platform for a while?!

Maybe. But most of all, I don’t want to wait anymore.

With me slouched in one of its passenger seats, the train leaves the station. Just that moment, a text from @querfeldberg: “We’ve made it onto the last train to Bad Harzburg! Stay strong, we’re on our way!”

Well, Bot damn it.

Giving up sucks – but the thing is, failure doesn’t have to be permanent. It’s perfectly alright to dust yourself off and try again.

50KM night hike? I’LL BE BACK.

For those of you eager to give it a go, here’s the GPX Track on Komoot:

PS: Giant kudos to @querfeldberg for staying strong and pulling through on this one! Really looking forward to having another go at a night project with y’all. ^^ 📸 by @fotografiefelixlimmer in the beautiful @ostbloc, back when … ya know.

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