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When my friend Anja and I decided to hike the viral E5 from Oberstdorf in Germany, Bavaria, to Meran in Italy, I was really excited. You can choose different ways to cross the Alps, and we decided to hike six days in a row without a rest day – and it was a great decision. You can also make a longer trip by adding days or shorten the trip by taking the bus instead of hiking.
In total, we hiked 120 miles and 5,000 meters in elevation, all in 40 hours. We left traces along the way, and the path left traces in our life. The highest peak we climbed, the Wildspitze, was about 3,000 meters above sea level, and even in August, there was snow. We felt like children at Christmas when we did our high-five up there.
The greatest realization I always have when I do sports is that every step counts. When we started our trip, we had a long way to go. But with every day, every hour, every step, we came closer to our goal, and in the end, we reached Meran. Having a goal in mind makes you forget the pain, the sore, and the heat. It’s an experience you take with you in your daily life, as it gives you a feeling of strength that you reached your limit. Your perseverance is rewarded with a view and a connection with nature you never had before.
The mountains, the waterfalls, the animals – everything is so close, and you can forget about all the material things and the stress you are dealing with in your daily life. You are always focused on your next step, and you are happy with every step you take. This is why we were talking and singing all the time and didn’t worry about a thing. It was not solely the social connection to my friend Anja but also to all the nice people we met every night. Since this hike is very popular and a lot of people took the same route we chose, we met new people every night in our cottages. So we had the chance to exchange experiences, laugh, play games and make new friends. And some of them even fell in love with my friend Anja.
Although the cottages were very crowded, we did not meet anybody during the day, and we could enjoy the silence, the air, and nature on our own. And so we started every day very early in the morning, around 6 o’clock, got some breakfast at the cottage, and took all the things we had with us in our backpacks. To avoid back pain, we took as little stuff as possible with us. So we just had some shirts, warm clothes, clothes for rain and wind, and some power bars. We only took what we needed. One day it was really sunny and warm, one day it was raining all day, one day it was foggy, and we couldn’t see each other, and one day there was snow.
Not only were the right clothes really important but also the power bars. You spend so much energy that you need food to get your strength back.
Every day we hiked about six hours, had a break at the peak, and walked to the next cottage in the afternoon to relax, play games, and enjoy meeting people. And we fell asleep with smiles on our faces every night.
So, my recommendations are to GO out, get some steps in the mountains, be happy, and find another sweaty changemaker to bring along.
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