Al and Mike - in windy conditions and walking along a major road - were able to cover 17 miles. As darkness fell they approached the city of Dzierzoniow and were told by a local outdoor enthusiast that camping in the vicinity of the city would be difficult. He directed them to a park facility out of town were they set up camp in cold intermittent rain and strong winds of 22 mph.
Scenes from the walk | Day Eight
After eight days covering the Walk of Remembrance, we near the concentration camp of Gross-Rosen the final destination of Eddie Willner's death march. The nightmare he survived for years at the hands of the Nazis would last another three months. He would be transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp. Then the Langenstein concentration camp where he labored mining tunnels and digging mass graves. As the US Army closed in, he would once again be force to march away from the approaching Allied Armies - this time eastward.
Some personal thoughts |
Al and Mike have hike over 120 miles in eight days. Though conditions have generally been favorable, nighttime temperatures have often been in the low 20s. Ice and frost coat the tent and surrounding environment. They have encountered intermittent rain and some snow flurries. They have kept to the route - at times crossing frozen fields and making time. As the earth warms, muddy roads have slowed progress. Traffic on all roads have been of great concern and present significant danger if not vigilant. They walk facing the oncoming cars and trucks. Finding suitable camping spots have been more challenging than expected. Citizens along the way have offered shelters for them - a gymnasium floor, a village park enclosure, a cabin and school classroom. The have managed remarkably well in what I consider a very difficult journey. I wonder how I would have held up doing what they have done.
As for me it has been a great adventure and a challenge, but in a very different way. Though I have had the luxury of driving a heated car and sleeping in warm hotel rooms with hot showers and good restaurants, as the sun sets the days activities have zapped my strength - exhaustion sets in. I then sit down in front of the computer to process pictures, edit video, do some writing, think about a blog post theme and what type of presentations to post. I get frustrated when the internet is abysmally slow. Or worse yet when hours of video editing work is lost when the program freezes. Today such a thing happened and it made me angry and I felt annoyed and depressed. I took a step back to put it in perspective and adversity came to mind. The concept of how one deals with adversity made me think about what Al is doing - walking in remembrance of his father and many others who suffered the death marches. We are faced with adversity every day of our lives. Most of it is trivial and inconsequential, but there are times when confronting adversity is a matter of life and death.
I have listened to hours and hours of Albert's father's testimony and read articles and accounts published about his life and how he survived the Holocaust. He faced adversity on a scale unimaginable and through whatever combinations of factors (luck, language, physical strength, discipline, family, youth, optimism, the will to survive, hope, faith and much more) he lived. How he confronted, dealt with and managed adversity may have been one of the more important factors that kept him going. Something to think about.