Walking The West Coast – Part 1

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Many people travel for hours and hours to get to an exotic country for hiking or climbing, rafting running or biking. I would really like to do this, but since there is a lack of money for plane tickets in my wallet i have to find alternatives. I live in a country that’s made for 99% by humans and sadly enough there was no space for a 6 day hiking trip through Mountains. So i looked around for what we do have, 160 kilometers of beach for example! When i realized this my feet directly started itching… I got in contact with my partner in crime Henk and we made arrangements for a week long beach expedition in this man-made country which is The Netherlands. We would walk from Hoek van Holland to Den Helder. To do this we got a cart from WORM ROTTERDAM, good hiking socks and energyfood from ANTILOPE and bivvy bags from SIPS DUMP.

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After 4 hours in the train we were standing on the beach in Hoek van Holland, ready to go! We pushed the cart in the sand and realized: damn, its not going to be as easy as we thought! The wheels were not rolling through the deep sand and it was hard to pull the cart with the handles. We made a rope construction to pull the cart and we made our way to the shore. Now everything became much easier! It was low tide, so lots of shore to walk on, although i knew soon it would be high tide…

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Just 3 hours into the walk i looked back and saw Hoek van Holland, our starting point. And i saw it pretty good… What?! We’ve been walking for 3 hours now and it looks like we just walked 15 minutes! This was the moment i realized what we were doing.Pulling a cart for 160 kilometers through the sand. Smelling the salty sea for 6 days, the constant sound of waves, high and low tides, seagulls and sand in our shoes, hair and everywhere else…I thought we would never make it in a tempo like this and untrained. Although i wasn’t planning to give up! After 25 kilometers we decided it was enough for the first day and searched for a place to camp in the dunes. Just before we found our place the handle of the cart broke. A solution with a little rope would do it for now… Exhausted as we were, we put up the tent and had a beer… These are the moments of total relaxation and satisfaction.

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Was the first day sunny and with a low tide, the second day wasn’t… Wind, rain, high tide and hardly any shore to walk on. 100% the opposite of the previous day! We walked slow, through the salty water with strong headwinds and bad visibility. After walking two hours through this tough weather we saw a beach club, but it was closed. Although i saw some movement inside. There were people! I knocked on the door and asked if we were allowed to dry and regenerate a bit inside the club. We needed this so badly, and i think it showed. Like two wet cats we dripped in and sighed when we sat down. We must have looked terrible, because we got free drinks and some free snacks! Wow, we never asked for this, but the people of beach club De Golfslag were nice enough to help us a bit!

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We managed to walk about 20 kilometers this day and after putting up our tent we directly ducked in our sleeping bags. I was looking forward to this for some hours already. Being warm and dry. This was the day where our beach walk became a real adventure. With the stormy beach deserted and low visibility i was constantly searching for signs of life. A kitesurfer in the distance meant there was SOMETHING. Maybe an open beach bar where they could offer us some hot drinks or even a closed place where we could sit out of the rain and wind. I was really feeling like in a wet dutch desert.

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On the 3rd day the weather was even worse… But there was also sun, an huge industrial area to wonder trough and an unsuspected thunderstorm! Read it now in the part 2.

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