A second part of a story that began here, how me and my friends went on a hiking trip and walked 60km mostly in the forest.
Chapter 5, On the road, Limbaži – Skulte
Well, we did maintain the happiness for about 15km, however we had our first stop only after 1 hour walk right after Mucenieku bridge. At that point, legs were starting to hurt and the pain was not going away after breaks. In this length, Limbaži – Skulte, most of the road was an actual road. I estimate about 10 km in forest but even though the path was quite clean and trailed. We thought it was because this length is also a Geocaching route.
After Lāde’s station, we had our second stop in middle of the road (yes, few km before the Lāde’s stacija forest path became a real cart road). At this point we started to feel a little bit tired and unhappy with the situation, because when we stood up from our sitting positions, it came clear, that our legs were protesting this long walk and started aching as hell.
Some of the problems we had. I think now is appropiate time to explain the leg pain in more detail. :D First of all, before this trip, I thought that only pain I will experience is tired legs. Wow, how wrong I was. Had NO tired leg feeling, however, had enormous knee pain, blisters’ pain and periodical hip pain. And the cause of the knee and hip pain was ligaments. I guess from the long walking, they grew tired. I won’t go into the anatomical details, which myself don’t understand at the moment, but I can tell you that the pain was excrutiating. I would say that the feeling was like when a ligament is strained and you need to walk 20+ km with strained leg (-s). A lot less fun than the first part of the trip! My friends, however, had different pain causes. :D One had similar problems with ankles and other had outer hip, guessing, ligament pain too. And we all had feet pain. :D Two of us were having fun with blisters, one had a feet cramp for at least 10km and one was having trouble with toes in shoes and overall feet pain.
So, that’s a big chunk of text about pain. :D So, after the second stop in second length we experienced the stiffness of our legs and it meant that from now on after every break we would restart walking looking like penguins. You need to experience that to really understand. :D After resting our limbs would get stiff and the first minutes after getting up would mean crazy pain and limping. To be honest the pain did not go entirely away after a while of walking, it just decreased a little bit.
In one break, about 4 o’clock in the morning, we started thinking about our getting home options. The first train to Riga was at 4:57 am and it was clear that is not a option (we had at least 10km ahead of us), next one at 6:31 am, but we decided we couldn’t make that one too, so the first realistic option was 7:37 am. The next train was at 9:38 am and we really did not wanted to spend about 2 hours in train station. So we took up the pace and walked through the pain as fast as we could. We did take few very small breaks in between but they were no big use, because we weren’t hungry, legs couldn’t rest for that short period of time and we really, really started to feel the desire for warm bed and NOT walking. To make things more fun (remember, we had blisters, aching feet, knees and hips) the last 4.5km were laid with breakstones from the train route that was there before. It did not make us walk faster as you imagine, but we tried. Finally, after long walk on stones, we reached the remaining tracks of the railway route and it meant that the train station is not far away (actually we could see the light (at the end of the tunnel, I might add) for quite some time, last 3km? I guess so.).
And so, enormously happy that the trip is so close to the end, we reached Sloka train station about 5min before the 7:37 am train departure. I’d say, pretty close. But we were determined that we have to make it and we did. Per aspera ad astra.However, we did take time to make a Happy ending selfie with the train station name in background (A must!) and a few others Happy ending selfies in the train.
We had spent almost 20 hours in almost only 3 person company (+5 men we met on the road, the Grandma and few people in Limbaži) walking the woods. We had some intrigued looks our way (starting with the train conductor and ending with a lot of people in the train station and later in Riga’s streets), but I guess we did look weird and unusual. :D 3 young people walking crazy slow and funny with stiff legs like penguins. As fast (slow) as we walked, old grandmas compared to us were ferraries. :D Also, we did laughed about ourselves, so we looked generally happy about the situation. I don’t know what people were thinking, because we were 3 healthy young people, which didn’t seem like having health problems so Why are they walking so weird? I am trying to say, that from outer perspective it looked like we should walk OK! I am so sorry that no one filmed us 3 in the train station in Riga. :D That would have been a funny look, you have to believe me. Ah, I am pretty sure, I can’t explain the image as good as it was.
Extra. The first draft I wrote on Monday evening (we got back Sunday morning) and my legs were feeling fine. They hurt a little but I could walk normally again. Toe blisters were still there, but a lot less painfull, so I would say that the recovery was quite fast and the damage was not that big.
So, the conclusion
60km is not a total piece of cake. But it is doable. You cannot understand the experience fully if you haven’t walked yourself 30+ km, but I believe every one of us would have different sensations and feelings. Also the hardness starts only at last 15km and they are a test for moral strenght and mind power. But, to be honest, determination and knowing that fastest way out of this is moving forwards, keeps you going. And my personal realization, if you wanna achieve your goal (or anything in life for that matter) you cannot let yourself go into self loathing, into thinking about how everything is aching and how bad you feel, how crappy the situation is or how you very much wanna be at home. The moment you let yourself go there, it is hard to get back on track. So, just don’t go there. You are in the middle of a forest, for crying out load! Whining won’t help you get out, so the only logical solution is to keep your crap together and keep moving. Well, this applies to long walking trips as well as for life situations, when you feel like you are in the middle of a dark forest.
Trip in numbers and short words
Date: October 17th and 18th year 2015.
Total length: 61,49km.
Breaks: Total – 10; one – 2 hours, one – 30min, others – to 10min or less.
Kcal: Burned about 8722kcal.
Leg pain: starting after 30+km.
Shoes: For God sake, wear comfortable, professional foot wear!
Food: The apetite is not that big as one would thought. Expecially at the night length. You just physically don’t feel hungry and I cannot explain it. Well, maybe I can? I was drinking vitamin water and I have observed that when doing so, I feel less hungry. Still think it was a good idea to take vitamin water.
Hashtags: #AlojaSkulte #penguinwalk #rocks #nightinforest #dogpace #backpackingthrougheurope #
Hours walking: about 17 hours.
Total time on the road: about 19.5 hours.
Time awake: about 25 hours (includes getting up in Riga at 7.15am and getting to Aloja, excludes almost 2 hour sleep on the bus).
Biggest thanks: to THE Grandma.
Photos, video: Take extra batteries and don’t over estimate your phone’s memory card’s size, if taking videos!
Tips: Make videos. Don’t forget to include the crucial numbers (which km, what time it is), place where you are and how are you feeling!
Leg recovery time: about 2 days for normal walking,but still sensitive on longer walks a week later.
Have you walked 30+km? Share your experience and insights in the comments! I would love to hear what other hikers have to say! Add a comment! :)