Given that I like walking to work and given that I wanted to set myself a little challenge I went for a walk in the park.
Not just any walk, nor any park. After thinking things through I decided that walking to SO at work and then driving back with him would be a pleasant option. The full distance is too far and not that interesting from a walking perspective, but there is another way as between there and here there is a beautiful area which we do not often visit and SO drives past on his way to work.
With the help op the wandelnet trackplanner and my trusted Garmin bird I set up a track through the dunes where the drinking water services (Dunea) have a few large areas that really are a few large interconnected nature park reserves. The south end is not that far from where we live and from there to SO’s work is a manageable distance of 17.5 km.
The weather decided to look kindly on the adventure and surprised me with sunshine and nice temperatures. A bit high normally for a walk starting midday, but as this was coastal I gambled, rightly, that there would be a sea wind cooling things down. I prepared myself well: food, water, phone, lots of sunscreen, GBird, money, batteries, printout I had it all thought out.
Around midday I went to my starting point at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen. Lots of busses and trams go there as it is the main beach area for Scheveningen. I got off and started to walk, noting a considerable refreshing breeze
After about 500 m I entered the dune area and walked along a nice busy path toward the Dunea visitor centre and watertower. A rare falcon lives at the top of it and is a bit of a celebrity. From there one sees less and less people on the walkway as the next stop is the entry to the beach, then another beach entry point and by that stage there are still some people just very very few. Which in the randstad is slightly weird, it is always busy here.
I went out to one of the vantage points where you can see for miles. The city, the dunes and the sea and it is pretty as a picture. It was so clear that all planes heading into Schiphol could be seen starting their descent. I could even detect their company logo in most cases.
I was in awe of the nature I encountered, lots of birds, plants and pretty things. It was so nice and I loved it. It is a bit more hilly than I am used to; up and down and my calves were feeling it. Ok nothing like you find in most countries but still good excercise! Then I got to the first major point and turned left toward the sea. So close to the sea in fact that I was on the beach, with my walking shoes and backpack.. The next 3km was ploughing through the beach sand, Trying to find the wettish areas that have most grip, but with an incoming tide that is a bit tricky. That stretch was sooooo tiring and I lost a fair bit of time there. As pretty as it was, it is not worthy of repeat in my book; too hard, but then again also good excercise. So maybe once I have forgotten the immediate pain, you never know. Worse though was that the beach was also where my GBird decided that it needed more battery power. Ah brought those. ……… Except they were left on the table at home. Bummer! Thankfully I had my phone, ……. of which I could not see the screen as there was too much light. Oh well; I have a print out……..at home on the printer. Yes. well uhm.
Resourcefully I decided just to follow the coastline to the next village and through the dunes as SO’s place of work is only about a km from the coast and I know pretty well how to get there from the village. Once off the beach my legs almost jumped for joy. Easy walking from thereon, just up dan down the dunes but on a good path. I managed to coax the GBird back to life long enough to show me where to turn north. I had a short rest then and a drink. I continued my way and happily walked and looked and loved where I was, Knowing full well I was a little behind schedule and having no real idea how long or far my walk would be from thereon. Just a very rough estimate.
As there were no busses in that area there was also no way to cheat, but plenty of cyclists once I got to the main cycling route again. By the time I got to Katwijk, I thougt I was nearly there and my legs and feet decided it was time too. Boy; that was so not true! SO had called to ask where I was and also though that is close-by. The thing is things that are close by car or even bike are a bit further out when walking and most certainly when tired from the distance. Distance has a certain elasticity when it comes to the means of having to cover it I have found.
So I walked some more, at least now knowing my surrounds. Switching to using the cyclingknots. Not only are they easy, every knooppunt (knot) has a map of the area right next to it. It helped me for the last points where I was a little confused. At 17.30 SO called a little worried that I possibly was lost or damaged. I had overshot my ETA by at least 30 to 45 minutes. Thankfully I could tell him I was about 5 minutes away and if he got his stuff together we’d arrive at the front desk of the company around the same time.
I hauled myself into the car, feet hurt, legs hurt and I felt so utterly tired. Okay and somewhat smug that I had done it. SO bought me an ice-cream and we drove home. I took a bath to relax my very sore muscles and wash my sand blasted face. This morning I found that I had used sufficient sunscreen for the most part except the back of my arms that show a small red patch. Nothing huge but rather red. I am a little sore, but not majorly and acquired one blister.
I will do this again minus the beach. It was a beautiful wonderful walk and I loved most parts of it. Now I know that I can achieve this distance without trainwrecking myself and I intend to start walking some longer distances more often.