Europe N to S: Long Nights (11/28/16)

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Today’s Miles: 21.4

Total Miles: 3,050

Near Heppenheim, Germany – November 28, 2016

The solid blue sky seems frozen by the cold. Frost outlines every blade of grass and fallen leaf, green and brown highlighted white. It takes hours for the sun to melt into it, and even then ice clings to the shadows as the sun slips fast across the southern sky.

It barely feels like the sun even rises anymore. It seems to sneak above the trees and hang for a few hours before dropping down again.

The golden light of late afternoon filters through the forest. The trees are all branches and trunks, cutting the light into a thousand golden shafts that spread across the sea of fallen leaves. In the distance, hills glow gold with the low sun.

It’s not even four in the afternoon and the world is already shutting down for the night. Darkness falls fast here. The light lingers for just a moment to color the sky, not the way sunsets used to drag on through the summer nights in the Arctic for hours.

I settle into a slip of flat ground hidden behind fallen trees, my fingers numb from the metal poles and stakes of my tent. The air cools and I curl up to wait for the first light of morning, still twelve hours away, as ice crystals stretch across the fabric of my tent.

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