8 months in Denmark have come to an end. It was an active time. I ran more than 4.000 km and cycled about the same distance. The gained elevation was just above 0, but especially on the bike it felt more like 10,000 m, because, when sitting on my good old Albatros every smallest hill feels like a mountain ;). This means that I added 40 trees to my Activity Forest during my stay in Denmark. The map gives you a little overview where I ran and cycled (green: and red: bike).
Flora and Fauna: When I arrived in Denmark, everything was still lush green, and I fuelled myself mostly with blackberries and raspberries. It made my runs very slow and sometimes I believe I consumed more calories than I burnt. However, winter arrived soon and also nature changed. Still, it was so nice to run on the leaves from all the deciduous trees which make up for about 45 percent of Denmark’s forests. The forests look a lot healthier in comparison to Germany, but non-indigenous conifer trees still dominate the forests composition with about 50 % of the total forest area. Despite the fact that Denmark was originally covered with forest, Denmark only has 14.1 % forest cover today. This is however a progression since 1800 when Denmark had just 2-3 % forest cover left because of intensive and uncontrolled logging in favour of agriculture. Efforts to increase the forest cover were initiated in 1805 with the Danish Forest Act and the forests continue to expand today.
Regarding the fauna, I spotted plenty of Denmark’s mammals like roe, red and fallow deer, foxes, squirrels and massive hares. Sometimes I even confused the hares for a small deer, that is how big there are. There are more than 300 bird species, but to be frank, I wouldn’t be able to recognise more than 5 of them. However, I really enjoyed the company of many ducks, geese and swans on most of my runs.
Terrain: A lot of places are called Bjerge in Danish, but there is not even a single mountain in the country. The most significant hill in Denmark is Himmelsbjerget, which is 147 m high and has the highest elevation drop with just over 100 m. However, the terrain was still pretty diverse with a lot of rolling hills, beaches, dunes, trails along rivers and beautiful forest trails.
Weather: I feel the weather is always good enough when you are out there or as the Danish say it is “godt nok”. Obviously, there were grey, cold and wet days in Danish winter but there were also plenty of sunshine, snow and beautiful cloud formations.
Camping and specialities: When I arrived, the weather was still fantastic, and I enjoyed my first week in the tent. On my first outing to Silkeborg, I was told by a friendly hiker about the shelter app (https://shelterapp.dk/) in Denmark. The shelter app is a network of public and private wooden shelters, which are listed in the app and available to public. The network consists of countless wooden shelters all over the country and this was kind of my home for the first four months in Denmark. Especially in winter not many people use the shelters and so I was always protected from the wet and wind and I didn’t even bother carrying my tent around.
Food: As I mentioned above, when I arrived there were so many berries on the way, that I munched on raspberries and blackberries most of the time. Later I got a lot of my fuel from the food fridge, which is an open place with four fridges, where the municipality and private people bring food that will otherwise go to waste. I also stopped often at different supermarkets and saved a lot of food from their bins. Dumpster diving is a lot more common in Denmark than in other places where I lived, and it is also often accepted. I sometimes even met other fella dumpster divers at the bin in the middle of the day.
Water: Denmark has a lot of public toilets at every church, touristy places and also in the towns. However, when you are out of the urban areas it sometimes gets a little tricky to find drinking water. All Danish water channels are no option due to the extensive agriculture. This is also how I met Ine, who became a very special friend and who had a great influence on my fantastic experiences in Denmark (see below “a small story from Denmark”).
A small story from Denmark: When I reached the outskirts of Aarhus, I saw a lady working in her garden and I thought it was a good opportunity to fill up my water one last time before entering the city. The lady was Ine, a 72 year old lady, who didn’t hesitate and brought me some water and asked many questions. We started talking, then we prepared plant-based dinners together, I slept more and more nights on her floor and eventually she followed me out on my tree-athlons and gave me some very good company. This may not sound too special, but if you know a little about Ine’s past, it is an incredible journey she took. She transformed from being a fresh widow, who struggled with obesity and lack of physical activity and heavy animal product based diet to a lady that regularly cycles on a spinning bike, does 15 km walks, eats mainly plants and who lost about 10 kg since we met. And just before I left, we were even sharing the same haircut. I was tired of my hair hanging into my face, so I cut myself the most handsome and practical haircut ever (a mullet or in German VOKUHILA). Two days later when I saw Ine the last time, she turned up with a red mullet (female edition), LEGEND!!!
More about Ine’s journey to become a Tree-Athlete in the next blog article and newsletter.
Equipment: Inov8 All Terrain 25 Backpack, Nature Hike 1P Ultralight Tent, The North Face Blue Kazoo (sleeping bag), Nature Hike Ultralight Sleeping Mat, Altra Kayenta, Altra Escalante Racer, Altra Torin, Altra Superior, Altra Lone Peak, Re-Athlete Shirt and Shorts, Olympus TG 6 Camera and a bamboo toothbrush 😉
Trees: I covered more than 4000 kms since September 2020 and I already donated more than 40 trees and am excited to plant them together with you at our Tree-Athlete tree planting camp. If you want to contribute to the Tree-Athlete Forest and do good for yourself and nature, you are more than welcome to contact us or make your contribution here.
Danish long-distance trails I did:
Mols Bjerge Sti (60 km – https://nationalparkmolsbjerge.dk/oplev-nationalparken/aktiviteter/til-fods-i-nationalparken/)
Nordsøstien (Grena to Thy National Park 220 km – https://vandreruter.dk/nordsoestien/)
Kyst Til Kyst Stien (Blåvandshuk to Vejle 130 km – https://www.kyst-kyststien.dk/)
Aarhus-Silkeborg and Trækstien ved Gudenåen (Aarhus to Randers 135 km – https://naturstyrelsen.dk/publikationer/2009/mar/vandreruten-aarhus-silkeborg/ and https://vandreruter.dk/traekstien/)
Samsø (100 km – https://www.visitsamsoe.dk/inspiration/cykelferie-paa-samsoe/)
Rold Skov, Lille Vildmose and Østkystruten Cycling Route No. 5 (180 km https://www.biroto.eu/en/cycle-route/denmark/ostkusten-route/rt00000222)
Mors and Fur (160 km – https://www.visitnordjylland.com/north-jutland/things-do/bicycle-routes-island-mors + 33 km – https://www.ferievedlimfjorden.dk/limfjorden/den-store-guide/cykelruter-paa-fur-gdk1015554)
Øhavsstien (Funen Archipelago 220 km – https://www.visitfyn.dk/fyn/oplevelser/mere-om-ohavsstien)
Camønoen (Møn 175 km https://camoenoen.dk/)
Bornholm Kyststien and Højlyngsstien (120 km – https://bornholm.info/de/kuestenwanderweg/ + 67 km – https://naturstyrelsen.dk/naturoplevelser/naturguider/hoejlyngsstien/)
Anholt Rundt (25-30 km https://www.komoot.com/tour/365255672#oc#)