When I finished section two of my E1 adventure in Smygehuk last September, I was certain that I wouldn't be back in Scandinavia until next summer to resume my hike.
Well, at that point I didn't know that my boss would come around the corner a couple of weeks later, and force me to get rid of my remaining overtime (which I was hoping to use for next year).
As any discussion is pointless I start tweaking our shift plan to get some days off. Luckily there's a lot of slack in it, allowing me to take a couple of days off in a row.
This poses the question: what should I do with my unexpected free time?
I fire up Google, searching for things or rather trails to do. I stumble across El Camino de Costa Rica, GR131 on the Canary Island, the Fishermen Trail in Portugal. While they certainly sound interesting, none of them completely convince me. And it's a bit like shopping for a new jacket: if you look at it in the store and are not convinced it's perfect, don't pull the trigger. You will hardly ever wear it. Or in my case I probably wouldn't enjoy the trip or hike as much as I'd hope.
So I keep on looking for other options until I come up with the idea to continue E1 in Denmark. Scandinavia in November? I quickly reject the thought. Too cold, too wet. But when my dad Fredy comes up with the same idea, I give it a second thought.
Yes, it's probably cold, yes, it's probably gonna rain more often than not. But then again, Denmark has a dense network of vindskydds (or shelterplads as they call them), which would offer me a dry place to sleep most of the time. And it's flat, easy walking. While bad weather might not be super pleasant to walk in, it shouldn't delay me too much.
And most important thing: continuing E1 would be something meaningful, purposefull. Something the other options were lacking. The idea to head to Denmark is growing on me quickly and starts making perfect sense.
Without dwelling on the subject for much longer, I buy a surprisingly affordable train ticket. All the way to Skagen, Denmark's northernmost town.
As the departure day is less than a week away, I can't afford to waste too much time and start planning and organizing more or less straight away.
As I am not following E1 straight from the start I need to plot a route. Luckily, I soon discover there are existing trails already and all I have to do is somehow connect them.
The route I come up with initially takes me along the North Sea Trail and the west coast before I join the Hærvejen or Ox Road, which leads away from the coast and will reunite me with E1 somewhere halfway between Skagen and the German border.
Resupply is straight forward as should be wayfinding and navigation in general.
Fast forward... Writing these lines I'm sitting in a intercity overnight train, somewhere between Zürich and Hamburg. A 12 hour ride. Plenty of time to finish up my preparation. However, there's really not much to plan or do anymore once I have finished this blog entry. I'll try to get some sleep even though I'm not overly optimistic that will work. Luckily I have a book lying next to me, ready to be read.
In Hamburg, I will have an hour to stretch my legs before I hop into another train for another 10 hours. ETA in Skagen: 1700 tomorrow evening.
It's a lot of sitting indeed. But all that sitting around will certainly guarantee a highly motivated me to hit the trail on Wednesday.