frontcountry?

5:58 p.m. on October 14, 2011 (EDT)
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just back from a week in kosovo, not for hiking.  but, i walk to stay in shape & see what different places look like.  yesterday, despondent of another day in a windowless gym on a machine and faced with a few hours of free time in the afternoon/evening, i figured a walk in a light rain wouldn't be bad.  i was staying on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital.  my choices were to hop a fence and walk through the farmland behind the hotel, or to walk along an access road that parallels a limited access highway.  i have now dubbed the access road 'apocalypse avenue' because it is one of the more depressing scenes i can recall walking along.  the access road fronts a series of concrete structures that are in many cases empty or half-built; vacant lots full of debris; yards filled with broken down vehicles; and some modern buildings that appear to be empty.  it could be a movie set for a post-socialist (or post-nuclear war) thriller.  

i chose apocalypse alley because hopping fences in recently war-torn countries is, in my opinion, a bad idea.  that turned out to be wise, because the strips of land adjacent to the road, a combination of broken concrete and mud, proved to have a very thick, sticky consistency - clinging to the soles of my trail shoes in huge, wet clumps, like clay.  i suspect the farmland would, given the weather, have turned into ankle-deep, shoe-sucking mud.  

the 'light rain' morphed into a wind-driven thunderstorm, and the temperature dropped to about 40-45 degrees.  Kosovo, in the vicinity of Pristina, is pretty much a flat plain, nothing to stop the wind.  the wind picked up to about 40 mph, the rain started hammering down, and the lightning strikes, by my count, were within a mile or so of my route.

i got a good 90 minute walk in.   no rain pants, unfortunately.  my trail shoes, not gore tex, made spongy noises by the time i was done, they were so wet, and were caked with debris; my wool socks were sodden and filthy, shorts drenched from mid-thigh down.  i wore a waterproof hard shell, wild things eVent shell, that kept me fully dry and kept the moisture to a minimum.  (memo to file - i need to buy some wash-in dwr, because the rain wasn't exactly beading on the surface).  i was warm enough, wicking baselayer and a Jos. A Bank thin lambswool sweater, deployed in a manner not contemplated in their catalogue - or by me, until i realized the temperature was dropping so quickly.  had a hat, thankfully.  the cold and wind were making my quads cramp by the time i was done, the last 45 minutes having walking straight into the teeth of the wind.

this post doesn't really have a point, except to say that bad weather can pop up anywhere and can pose a legitimate challenge, even in what appears to be a fairly urban environment.  

12:49 a.m. on October 15, 2011 (EDT)
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120 forum posts

Wow, thanks for not taking any pictures! :)  Those kinds of scenes make you think hard about where the "wilderness" really is!  Also appreciate the gear review and taking those products beyond the catalog version for us.  Glad you got back home from a land of such recent sadness.

November 23, 2014
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