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Another mission accomplished: I crossed the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge finish line in the company of some Wandelgrrls on December 30th, 2009! * whispers * There were two more secret challengers among them… :))

The original hike from Garderen to Putten got canceled because of the bad weather forecast, but 5 of us decided to go on another hike anyway: NS-wandeling Utrechtse Heuvelrug, from Driebergen to Maarn. We made a pitstop in Austerlitz, where we had some hot chocolat! The weather was fine btw; none of the promised rain, snow or ice came in our way. Still, we didn’t make a detour for Austerlitz Pyramide. But we did pass Stoop Pavilion, where I ate my Herfst Hike Bento on my first walk for the fitness challenge ;)

So, the numbers (drum roll): from October 20th – December 31 I walked 107 miles / 172 kilometers!

Better still, I’ll probably update this post later on with a new total because I am going to end this year DANCING. And in the new year? I will join in the new 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! Because I have had fun :))

WISHING EVERYONE A WONDERFUL 2010!

Just another 6 miles to go before January 1st and I will have accomplished my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! I started on October 20th and got 94 miles / 150 kilometers done within two months so it must be easy peasy getting there in time.

Last Tuesday I went on another 15.5 km solo-walk, from Terschuur to Amersfoort. It is called Barneveldse Beek, after the stream that runs along the track for about 2 km. I liked that part but overall this isn’t a hike I would recommend: I had to pass a lot of motorways as well :\ Thankfully it was a quiet day, but it will probably be horrible on Saturday or at rush hour.

The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS — cold, frosty and sunny! That made it a hike to remember after all. Look at some pictures if you don’t believe me ;)

Dutch windmill

I came by some kawaii donkeys (aren’t they the cutest animals?) and I even saw a Kingfisher — of course that one was too quick to photograph. So I had a nice winter walk this week, even though it is still officially autumn ;)

Something really bad has to happen to prevent me from accomplishing the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge in time! Oops, better touch some wood — no need to tempt the gods :\

Some other hiker got blisters and decided to go on barefooted?How am I doing on my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge? Great! I’ve passed the 100 kilometer / 75 mile milestones! The exact numbers are: 124 km and 77 miles. I am still in the running for this challenge!

I had two really nice walks this week: about 15 km around Nijkerk with the Wandelgrrls and another 15 km with wlfr (a.k.a. @variomatic) from Delft to Zoetermeer for the first stage of our new hiking project: Groene Hart Pad. We finished our other project, 163 km of Utrechtpad, last July. It took us about three years and the Groene Hart Pad is just a bit longer: 192 km… I hope we will be able to finish that in three years as well!

These boots are made for walking…

The picture of two hiking boots was taken on the walk with wlfr… It was really weird to come across these perfectly good shoes standing idly ‘in the middle of nowhere’! Well nowhere: the name Groene Hart signifies the still ‘Green Heart’ of urbanized Holland; the area around Gouda where cows for Gouda cheese need to graze ;)

Ha! Yesterday we were out of bread so I bought a veggie ekiben for lunch on my 15 km hike from Delft to Zoetermeer; the first stage of our new hiking project: Groene Hart Pad. An ekiben is a bento sold at railway stations (eki). Of course it was no smart thinking on my part because the weather made it difficult to stop and eat lunch… Sammies are way easier to eat on the road! But on the bright side: now I was treated on a marvelous lunch while working at home today!

Ekiben lunchWhat did I have? Kappa maki (cucumber), nigirizushi with tamagoyaki (omelet) and chuka wakame (seaweed salad). Accompanied by some first flush sencha tea: Shincha. I am such a lucky grrl sometimes :)

I just wanted to share that with you — oh, and make you drewl of course ;)

Of course I already wrote a post about my progress in the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge on Tuesday, but to keep in sync with the other challengers I’m now writing my official Friday update — not in the least since my yoga class increased the number to a round total of 40 miles. Gnoe going strong! ;)

The highlight was definitely seeing some real cranes! Yes, I know that’s not a fitness triumph ;) But I would never have seen them if I hadn’t gone on that walk. If all goes well and the weather will be playing along, I hope to be going on two more hikes in the coming week… Looking forward to it!

Quickpicnicbento #87Today’s bento-for-two was assembled in a hurry before going on a 16 km (10 mile) hike across the Kampina nature reserve (walking from Boxtel to Oisterwijk). The picture was taken quickly too — there was no time to mess around with furoshiki’s etc. because Mr Gnoe and I wanted to be on our way before the cleaning lady arrived ;)

(So the clear background has nothing to do with your picture preferences, elm@! ;)

Wilde craneWe threw together some edamame (with African peper) and salsa picante as dip for a veggie nugget. Mini wiener sandwich rolls with garden cress, two boiled eggs, and a small bag of cashews to put in between the mini bread rolls. It may not look too great but it actually was quite good; kept us on our feet when we got tired & hungry.

The hike was wonderful, even though the weather could have been better; it was foggy and we even had some rain. Photos of our day can be found on Flickr. Today was extra special because for the first time in my life I have seen real life wild cranes! They are beautiful birds! Let’s hope they bring us luck, like the Japanese believe :)

I want to use the opportunity for a progress report on my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge. Last update was on the first day of autumn (Wednesday October 21st), when I had managed a total of 7 miles. My main ‘workout’ activities since then have been yoga, some cycling, walking around our city canal and last Sunday I danced A LOT on the Shabushabu, Oruutaichi, La Veuve Moustachue and maho+thaidisco concert in Rotterdam. I must have been swinging uninterrupted for at least two hours! It definitely was a great night out :)

I’m down to a total of 37 miles! And in only three weeks, since I didn’t join the challenge before October 20th. With 7 1/2 more weeks left of 2009, it must be possible to walk those 100 miles before January 1st!

Some strange coincidences happening this week. Today we met just one party of other hikers — including someone of my yoga group! That’s weird since the Kampina is in a whole different province. And the concert on Sunday attracted a maximum of 50 people… among which a former best friend of my brother I hadn’t seen in years! Holland really isn’t that small LOL! Many things happen in threes… what chance occurence will happen in the next few days???

Kampina Hike

Yesterday I went on a hike on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (‘Utrecht Hill Ridge‘). If I want to participate in the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge I’ve got to get outdoors! I walked for 9.41 km and (in this case) I am also counting my cycling to the train station, so I’m 7 miles down for the challenge – 93 more to go!

For lunch, I brought bento #81, called Herfst Hike Bento because I like alliteration and ‘herfst’ is the Dutch word for autumn.

Top tier

  • Crackers
  • Crispy fried seaweed snack
  • Mini matcha muffin with azuki filling
  • 2 yoghurt coated apricots
  • Fudge candy
  • Corn cob
  • Watercress leaves
  • Cove-ripened goat’s cheese star
  • Fairtrade African pepper spices (hiding under cheese) for corn
  • Lemon infused extra vierge olive oil for corn cob

Lower tier

  • Falafel (chickpea patty)
  • Chili-tomato sauce for falafel
  • Mini carrot
  • Yellow Cabbage quiche (a.k.a. pie of slobber cabbage ;)
  • Garden peas with Fairtrade Basil Herb mix
  • Sundried tomato spread with another goat’s cheese star

I thought I had some edamame left but when I got the bag out of the freezer it appeared to be garden peas. No matter, I like them too ;)

CSA (& organic): corn, carrot, yellow cabbage
Organic: watercress, falafel, tomato spread

My hike took me through different types of landscape: estates, sands and moorland, but mostly forest. Which is preferable for autumn ;) Especially when you can enjoy the great weather I got! I should confess I took a wrong turn somewhere, but I got back on track quite easily ;)

Along the way I also released a bookcrossing copy of Almayer’s Folly for my 2nd round of the 2009 History Challenge at Stoop Pavilion (de Koepel van Stoop): a folly itself.

You can find the pictures I took on my hike in a special set on Flickr.

I’ve joined another challenge! But don’t worry, it’s on an entirely different level than my reading challenges. I have committed myself to the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge, which requires me to walk a 100 miles before January 1st. If everything goes well, you’ll frequently find my update posts here on Graasland.

There’s one small issue I haven’t figured out yet: I’m supposed to round down my miles to integers but since we’re used to kilometers in Holland instead of miles, hikes are usually set to round kilometers — which gives me a small disadvantage. Well, I think I’ll just wait and see if that is going to be a problem (and in the meanwhile keep track of the exact distances of my hikes ;)

How many miles is 1 kilometer?
100 miles = 160 (point 9) kilometers. That’s about 54 km a month! But: every 15 minutes of exercise other than walking or running — ha, like I would do any running! — counts for 1 mile. It has to be for the purpose of workout only, so I am not counting my 4 x 15 minutes cycling to and from the train station on my way to work. Even though it’s a conscious decision not to take the bus ;) Of course exceptions may be possible.

Of course I could combine this challenge with my several reading challenges by listening to audio books..! ;) For now I won’t, because I like how hiking clears my head :)

This is my acceptance post for the challenge. And I started off with a hike on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.

Exploration journal: The Mapmaker's Wife

Ik was even een weekendje weg met familie. Op de boerderij, in een hooiberghut. Ik had veel plannen en een deel heb ik ook gedaan: veel buiten geweest — gewandeld, gefietst en gegeocacht. Maar mijn boek… nee, dat heb ik nog steeds niet uit. Ik hoop dat de volgende op de ringlijst nog even geduld heeft!

Vorige week heb ik met wlfr de eindetappe van het Utrechtpad gelopen. We hebben de 163 kilometer in 14 etappes afgelegd, verspreid over 3 jaar (en 1 maand). De rondwandeling door mijn woonprovincie is goed bevallen — maar de laatste lootjes wegen het zwaarst! De geplande 17,5 km van Slot Zuylen tot station Bunnik liepen uit op 26,9!

Het begon al verkeerd toen we, komend vanuit verschillende richtingen, allebei de juiste halte misten: ik zag wlfr vanuit mijn bus voorbijrijden in zijn bus :-o

Dat leverde vast een uur vertraging op aan de start ;) Vervolgens moesten we een enkele kilometers terug toen we er bij Fort de Gagel achterkwamen dat die rood-gele stickers die we volgden van het Waterliniepad waren – niet van ons Utrechtpad! We were not amused! ;) We leken wel een stel beginners in plaats van kilometervreters :\ En dat op (relatief) bekend terrein! Misschien wel daardóór? O, dat is een mooie smoes! :)

Anyway, we dronken wat op het terras bij Fort de Klop en pakten toen het traject weer vol goede moed op.

Was dat even balen toen we bij Amelisweerd met de laatste 3,5 km in het verschiet opeens voor een hek stonden: brug afgesloten i.v.m. onderhoud. Nóg een stuk omlopen! Vlakbij de autoweg hebben we toen maar een modderige sloot getrotseerd om niet 180 graden de verkeerde richting op te hoeven lopen. Als ik — naar waarheid — vertel dat het eenmaal in Bunnik vervolgens begon te regenen en wlfr bijna een boete kreeg omdat hij niet over een treinkaartje van 1,30 beschikte, dan denken jullie vast dat ik overdrijf?

Hoe dan ook, wij zijn niet voor één gat te vangen: over het geheel genomen vonden we het wandelen van het Utrechtpad erg geslaagd. Na een gepaste rustperiode beginnen we dan ook aan een nieuw project: het Groene Hartpad, 192 km door het Hollandse polderlandschap van onze jeugd. Ook al is het begin daarvan toevallig exact hetzelfde als de Bieslandse Boswandeling die ik vorige week met de Wandelgrrls liep ;)

Naschrift: zaterdag was ik opnieuw in Amelisweerd en bleek het pad alweer open! We hebben dus echt pech gehad…

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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