Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A hike through Germany: Black Forest

My actual hike started on Monday, April 18th when I took a train over the Swiss border to the German town of Waldshut-Tiengen in the Black Forest. The Black Forest is traversed by three long-distance trails (all about 250 km) which all start in Pforzheim in the North: The Westweg (West Trail) which ends in Basel and which I had hiked before, the Ostweg (Eastern Trail) which ends in Schaffhausen and the Mittelweg (Middle Trail) which ends in Waldshut-Tiengen and was my first stage on this trip. Hiking is very popular in the Black Forest and therefore I already encountered a big hiking trail sign post right out of the the train station. Weather was perfect: blue sky, sunshine and nice temperatures!

I hiked the Mittelweg three days up to St. Georgen where I met my old hiking friend Ursula. I had first met her on the PCT in 2004 where she completed her Triple Crown 4 years earlier than me. She had also paddled the Yukon River and had hiked through Great Britain before and therefore she was a great source of information for me. She is now living with her new partner in a huge farmhouse close to St. Georgen complete with a watchdog, chickens and a well. Her partner has given up farming and has leased all his farmland and sold all the animals (except the chickens). He still owns forest and was a great source of information and German forest law. I learnt that German forest owners are extremely restricted in what they can do with their property. Clear cuts are only allowed up to the tiny size of 100 m with 100 m and have to be immediately replanted. Beside that only selective logging is permitted. For hikers this is very good news: It means that if the maps shows forest, there will be forest (and good wild camping) unlike in the US where huge portions of forest can just be clear cut.

Ursula also provided me with the culinary highlight of this section: Black forest cake! I had already eaten this fantastic cake in every cafe I came across but hers from the local baker was definitively the best. Real Black Forest Cake consists of a lot of whipped cream - real whipped cream and not the sort of bloated sugary foam you very often get in the US. The cake base is soaked with cherry schnapps which gives the cake a great flavour. And the top is sprinkled with real chocolate flakes! Absolutely delicious!!! But even I had to give up after two pieces - very filling...

After St. Georgen I left the Mittelweg and changed onto the Querweg towards Rottweil. Weather was still fantastic and all the orchards along the way in full bloom. What a lovely picture! I really started to enjoy my hike through Germany. Still I must say that the Black Forest is a bit overrated. Yes, it is nice, but it is not as spectacular as I had thought. But see the next section.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The weather looks and sounds amazing.