First night ruck
Only 6 weeks left till the Megamarsch in Munich. In the recent days they altered the course minimally and that means I should test it out. Well with nothing to lose, except for time, I decide I might as well do a night ruck.
I have never done a night ruck before and I didn’t know what to really expect. The only thing I know is that I am really excited towards it. Because tonight is when the time changes for daylight savings.
Packed my ruck and off I went to the train station for the ruck from the 30th March to 31st.
Since from my past ruck/hike two weeks ago, sadly my ArmaSkin socks developed holes at the typical hot spot regions like heels and ball of foot.
Thus I thought, what alternatives exist and came to the realization that one can use ski socks. They are padded at least at the two critical areas plus also on the shins.
If they are good enough for skiing, maybe they work great for walking as well. The only bad thing that can happen is that I develop blisters.
I was debating between going with my Haix boots or VivoBarefoot shoes. Since the weather has been fairly nice and warm here in Munich area. But then again from my last hike, the balls of my feet were on fire after 40km. Though today’s ruck will only be that distance.
At the end I decided to go with the boots. And it was a good decision, because there were longer sections where one had to hike through snow. Additionally the ankle stability while going along root filled trails in the night helped a lot.
The plan is to ruck from Bichl towards Mittenwald. I starting at 22.25 with a 10kg ruck. Followed the drawn out path from Megamarsch as well as possible. Though some areas were closed off due to species safety.
The first 3km were flat. Nothing too special to report other than the detours one gets to take among the villages.
On the other side of Benediktbeuern is where the fun really started. Had to put on my headlamp and navigate along the path through the forest.
As soon as I was out, the climb began. Went up gravel roads. Had to constantly check the GPS if I was on the right path. Sometimes I went too far and had to turn around. Best part is when the directions say take a path and at your location you cannot find it until you realize that it is this small single track.
Of course I had to make it as difficult as possible for me. Because later I realized that the section I did, I will be doing in the future during the daytime.
The forest became thicker and thicker. Meant I had to make the headlamp lighter and lighter. Though luckily the path was well visible.
I was really loving the path on the single track. Constant switch backs followed by descends and ascends. Every once in awhile a bridge came along with either a waterfall or just a potential one.
Within no time I was out of the woods but still on the mountain. Luckily far enough from any rural area to not deal with the light pollution. I got to experience the lovely moonless night. The stars were so beautiful. They gave off enough light to follow the gravel path without additional electric light.
Once I came to Kochel I got to endure some pavement throughout the city. Though it didn’t last long and as soon as I surpassed the Kochel Lake it was back to gravel roads.
The path follows the Camino de Santiago (more specific the Jakobsweg Isar-Loisach-Leutascher Ache-Inn route) and also the old Kesselberger road, which is quite epic when you get to experience the steep slope filled with larger stones. Half the time I was questioning where in the world did this path bring me.
The higher I climbed the stronger the wind became and the more snow I saw till the point that I had to hike through it. Good thing I took my boots instead of shoes.
During the climb I got to experience time travel. That moment when the clock changes from 01.59 to 03.00.
Up and over
Once I came to the top. One gets to walk on the road. Luckily it wasn’t too busy. Though weirdly enough there were street lanterns, which helped with saving the battery power of the headlamp.
I didn’t know how long the battery could last. Supposedly the manufacturer says 6-8h. But who truly knows if that’s the truth. And additionally I don’t know if I can charge it while using it. (In a future hike I will realize that I can charge and use it at the same time.) Though even if the headlamp would fail, I could use either the flashlight on the phone or on the power bank. Both aren’t as convenient as the headlamp.
Both, while climbing and descending I was contemplating with myself when I should take a break. I told myself at the next crossing, but once I get there, I am too hyped to continue. This constant battle between I should take a break but I don’t feel like it.
Once I descended down to the village, I got to walk along the lake. It was a fairly long distance but went by quickly. I don’t know if it was due to the audio book I was listening to or still from me being hyped. Probably a bit of both. I listened to David Goggin’s – Can’t Hurt Me – audio book. Which is a long book and sadly my Bluetooth headset will die before I am able too finish it. Though that’s where the next hike comes into play.
The special thing about the lake is that it is used for pumped-storage hydroelectricity. Also Vicki the Viking was filmed here, so you will be able to see a Viking settlement.
First onset of tiredness
The lovely road along the lake came to an end and with it also artificial light. With the lack of light came also the first onset of tiredness.
After being awake for 20h it was no wonder that it would eventually come. The only thing that was really fueling me was the first half of the homemade energy drink that I had before catching the train. Though as soon as I yawned the first time, I took a couple gulps of the beverage.
It did help with preventing the yawning but that was only the first symptom of what is about to come.
Though just because I am safe now doesn’t mean that the journey is any easier.
Within no time on the path my Bluetooth headset died and so did the headlamp as well. Good thing that it slowly has become somewhat lighter. The gray tones weren’t as dark as during the night.
The more I saw the more it pushed myself to move forward. Though at the same time from the nagging sensation that I should sleep I was contemplating if I should sleep and where. Constantly seeing low barring evergreens and picturing myself making a make-shift shelter to get some shut-eye. I knew in the back of my mind that could be my potential death and also by the time I create the shelter I could be at the destination.
The first stop
Constantly moving, just taking one step at a time, I slowly came back to civilization, Wallgau to be exact. Though I didn’t stop instantly as I arrived. I walked until I saw a bus stop and that is where I finally rested.
I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad one. Though the only thing I can be certain is that my pace dropped heavily.
Getting back into motion was painfully hard. All the aches intensified with each step I was taking. First I was barely able to place one foot in front of the other. Then waddling like a penguin while trying to regain warmth from the excess of shivering. Though once the muscles were warmed up again, all was well, except for the pace.
Where’s the sun
Left the village fairly quickly and was on the last stretch. Was pondering when the sun will rise up high enough to give off some of its warmth, where I had to wait till 10min of arriving to the destination.
Nonetheless while waiting for the sun and its strength I finally saw the moon in the south just hovering over the Alps. The scenery was breathtaking.
If it weren’t for the lack of warmth and everything else on the list, I would have endured it a bit longer.
The last stretch
While following the path, I decided to end the journey in Klais due to the fact that I didn’t feel like taking the SEV (aka bus) between Mittenwald and Klais. This did reduce the distance by 2km.
Just because I decided to end earlier didn’t make the journey much easier. I still was ascending though not as strenuous as some portions earlier in the hike.
My hands were cold but not numb. It did make it an interesting and struggling experience trying to use the phone.
With only 2km to go I decided to take another break, again a bus stop. This time I was contemplating of actually taking the bus. I just wanted the struggle to end.
I looked at my phone, noticed the distance and the departure time of the train. I gathered all my strength and focus and asked myself “do I really want to wait an extra hour for the next train?”
With that realization, off I was with a slightly higher pace. It is quite remarkable what our subconscious tells us on our state of being.
First I didn’t pack my ruck well enough. Second I should have checked the weather/temperature in multiple locations and not just at the start and end points.
Did learn a lot about myself during the ruck and will be learning much more in the upcoming rucks. Since it was my first night ruck, I wasn’t too shabby.
A couple of things that helped a lot:
- a good distraction
- carb-loading, never got to the point that I didn’t have enough energy to continue. If I ever decided to stop it was either due to soreness or my mind questioning my sanity.
Here you can get the Strava report with its summary and some more pictures.