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The smell of rotting flesh

12 September 2016

The smell of rotting flesh

Day 8 12th September

Once again it was a rather chilly night. It must be the altitude I was at. Who knows. Putting my shorts on i was a little disturbed to see a rather sizeable spider evacuating by means of crawling down my leg. Naturally he was rapidly yet carefully evicted from my tent.

Whilst chomping my breakfast i gazed at the river flowing nearby. I'd had and always have had problems with power. My phone quite simply put must have an enormous carbon footprint. Everyday it needed charging and my power banks only sustained me for a few days which meant finding cafes or bars, ordering a drink or two and blagging for a quick booster.

Today i had exhausted my power banks which meant trying to find a power outlet i could plug in to.

After clearing up my camp site making sure it was left exactly as I'd found it, or as near as damn it. I set off on my mini adventure to traverse Luxembourg to emerge, so long as all went well, in Germany.

The day soon warmed up with clear blue skies. Reaching kautenbach i paused to check my map and try to locate a short scenic route that had been marked. I presumed it would be a hiking path or something as no road was shown. I also took a close look at the river to see if had deepened at all which would have meant i could get some pack rafting in.

The river was still too low, even for hoolley who didn't need very much water at all. That meant one thing; we'd be hiking.

Crossing over the river i spotted a detailed-ish map. The scenic route clearly marked but no sign of a cafe or for that matter a shop. I was running particularly low on coffee and without coffee i just don't function well especially first thing in the morning.

It was a hot, sunny day so finding shelter in the shade beside a shallow flowing river i grabbed my water filter and half filled a bottle with fresh cool water and went and sat next to my pack pondering over how i would solve my power problems.

In my head i considered my options, i itemised the contents of my pack. I had duct tape, i had my power monkey solar power and even without the battery pack i knew it would on a good day generate some kind of charge. I had power banks, two of them and i had cables. Lots of cables.

All i had to do was somehow attach everything to my pack so that while I was on the move the solar panel could charge the power banks.

A plan was gradually forming but whether or not it would work was something i would have to wait and see. Connecting a power bank to the solar panel seemed to work. The three green LEDs flashed. Why the manufacturers thought it would be a good idea to use the power you were trying to store for such a flamboyant light display I'll never know but they all do it. I suppose under normal circumstances where you have mains power its not a big issue but when power is limited it made no sense.

Satisfied and full of hope i grabbed my pack and set off following the river and remembering the information I'd gleaned from the tourist map I'd seen earlier. Sure enough about a kilometre later i came to a footbridge that crossed the river and led me into the woods on the other side.

The path ahead had obviously not been used to frequently, a path less travelled, a path i simply couldn't resist. It was shaded by the trees, narrow, rocky and quite simply delightful.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hike, forgetting about the pain in my shoulder and that i had been close to dehydrating earlier. I was away from the road, remote, alone and i was in my element.

Following the footpath or should I say trail i lost myself in my thoughts gazing at the river occasionally, inspecting the rock wall faces of the cliffs on my right in smelling the fresh air. Except it wasn't fresh, there was a pungent smell, an odur of rotting flesh, death.

i continued, where was that smell coming from it wasn't there a minute ago. Then i saw it as i passed by an old falken tree. The carcass remains of a young deer. Its guts had all but been eaten or had decayed to nothing. Its skin leathery and what was left of its fur, matted. The eyes were missing and its head twisted and lifeless. Shame really i could have done with a nice venison steak.

I continued on and once again the air was fresh. Finding an old bench at a junction that led into a ravine and on to another adventure i decided to stop for a break and just enjoy my surroundings reflecting on the fate of dear old bambi.

I don't know how long I'd stopped for having completely lost track of time but i decided that although it was probably a nice place to spend the night i hadn't gone quite far enough to call it a day.

Grabbing my kit once again i set off to see where this less travelled path would lead me. I was hoping it would lead me to a nice spot to camp for the night.

The path carried on ahead and began to climb into a small forestry region. It was extremely peaceful and gratifying. As i continued on my way i picked the last of the seasons blackberries, some still sour but most were really quite delicious.

Eventually the path once again descended back to the river and opened up into a field. Stood at one end of the field, sheltered by the last of the trees i looked on hesitant to reenter the scorching heat of the sun and onto the roads that lay in waiting for me.

Taking off my pack i once again grabbed my filter and half filled a bottle of water from the river. "Sod it" why rush the nile wasn't going anywhere and for the next hour niether was i. I set my pack out in the sun and lay on the grass in the shade. It was simply to nice a day to want to continue.

An hour passed, i guess, i had no watch so i didn't really know what the time was. I could have stayed there bur i figured with the shadows of the trees growing longer and the sun heading for its resting place i should at least look for somewhere nice to hold up for the night. I grabbed my pack and remembered the pain in my shoulder.

Reaching the far side of the field i made my way towards the road that had been waiting for me all day. There was a map, it wasn't a very good map and to be honest of no use to me what so ever. There was a sign pointing to a campsite nearby.

Why not have a night of luxury, it said there were showers and if i was lucky maybe a shop that sold bread. I'd been craving a nice crusty roll to dip in my noodles all afternoon.

Sure enough "camping du nord" campsite was only half a kilometre away and yes there were showers and a shop. No they didn't have any bread only prepackaged toast like foods. I checked in, got a token for the shower and bought the toast along with a packet of flavoured pasta. It was essentially very dry waffer thin slices of bread. Thankfully though the lady doing the checking in although she didn't speak a word of English could see the disappointment on my face and later handed me four slices of frozen bread. I was so grateful words failed me bur I tried to express myself in french which was also a language she didn't speak.

With the tent set up i decided to make use of the wifi, which cost €5 for 24 hours, not that i was staying there that long, and uploaded my latest video and tried out this Facebook live thing I'd seen my other facebook friends using. I think it was a success, I'd connected with people I'd met all over the world on my previous travels as well as one or two new followers of my latest escapade.

It was late by the time i finished so i decided to have my bread and pasta and retired for the night anticipating a fantastic hot shower the following morning.

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