How a two day escape trip turned into a challenge (Diary – Day 7&8)

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An all in one package to my liking: Reward, skill-building and challenge

Sächsiche Schweiz
Saxon Switzerland Nationalpark as can be viewed from one of the Schrammsteine lookouts. Unfortunately the morning was rather gloomy and cold and the sunset not what I had expected. Yet the mood was still great! (Photograph by Kristin Noack.)

Besides being a reward to get away from city life and out into nature it was also a private photography excursion to improve my photography skills. The trip was also a challenge. Why? Well, think about going out hiking or on even just on a picknick… The one must-have thing to bring are usually all those delicious and high calorie snack bars or chocolates, etc. They are great after all – offering a great amount of calories the least amount of weight and chewing on them simply seems to make the trip even more enjoyable.

I used to rely a lot on these snacks in the past. No matter when or where, I usually always had some sort of snack bar with me, for that quick energy boost. And for the cravings for sugar.

Not this time. I did not want the trip to get in the way with my 60 days without added sugar or chocolate mission. So I had to try it without my usual snacks or chocolate bars. In the long run I will have to figure out alternatives anyways, to continue this lifestyle using as little sugar as I can get away with. And for that I really have to learn how to make it work in all kinds of life situations. And guess what? Travelling and overnight outdoor trips are defintely an important part of my life! So I might as well start now.

How did the trip go?

The ride in went well enough and as it turned out I had brought an sufficient amount of food. On my way in I ate lots of protein-rich bread, which I had purchased on purpose for the trip, and cheese. I only had some fruit as snacks and at my destination I got myself another 1,5 litres of water and more fruit. There I also saw a vendor selling hot chocolate – and told myself, that the chocolate would be my reward on the way back, as I had only brought herbal tea varieties on the trip, besides plain water. After all I still believe that there is nothing better than a hot chocolate after an exhausting day or night.

Looking forward to that one hot chocolate certainly kept me going the next day, which was much colder and gloomier than the day before. Yet it was not meant to be. Happily, I went to order my reward, only to find out that the machine was broken and only coffee available (which I didn’t want to not further increase my bodies dehydration).

Sächsische Schweiz - Old pine tree
Above where I spent the night (a so called ‘boofe’) the sand rock walls began. Under that tree I sat down to contemplate my trip and listen to birds, before I had to leave. (Photograph by Kristin Noack.)

Disappointed I continued my trip, leaving a big chunk of my motivation at that place

It’s hard to describe but suddenly I felt really tired. My old bicycle, not the one I use for work, had been in a sad condition (chain&gears) before the trip. Because of that I couldn’t use my lower gears to move faster. On top of that I had played around with the cassette the weekend before (trying to figure out how to take it off) and cleaned it to, so soewhere during the trip the not oiled enough cassette stopped to spin freely. All these factors and the cold, seemed to suck out my energy in no time.

And that’s where sugar came into the game to save me

I’ll be honest, at some point during that trip I found a surprise snack bar in the front pocket of my backpack. I felt a bit guilty for having brought it. But decided to leave it where I had found it. It was going to be my ‘safety’. To have something in case of an emergency.  I usually carry at least one of these bars with me for that pupose.

And for exactly that purpose I used it. When my bicycle got a puncture, I was not even half the way back. There I was repairing my tube, all sweaty, with only about 1-3 degrees outside. When I finally had finshed I felt incredibly cold and really low in mental and physical energy on top of it. Enough reason for me to give in. It was not a big emergency, but I’m always overly conscious of not getting Hypothermia when I’m cold and tired. And alone.

Besides who knows for how long the snack bar had been in my backpack anyways

In the end I believe my body simply is not used to working without those sugar peaks that I used to live on. Not yet. But hopefully soon.

When I ate the snack bar, I still felt a bit guilty. But only a bit, because it was mainly oatmeal and honey – no chocolate, as I secretly wished it to be 🙁 And it probably was the best I could do to keep me going. All in all the trip had been quite hard on me. At my destination I spend hours standing, moving only a little, in one place or another taking photographs. The wind was also not very comforting. Then the bicycle that only moved at what felt like 10km/hour, turning what could have been two and a half hours into five or more hours. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you tougher, right?’


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