Today was an unusually warm day with about 18°C. The dark season is just around the corner with greyish days and muted colors. Therefore, it was a perfect opportunity to soak up some sun and to enjoy the fall colors all around us.
We even hiked two summits (Kanzelberg, Hohe Waid) and visited the site where a plane crashed in 1973. To be honest, the summits were well below the 500 m mark above sea level, but it sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
We encountered many bikers, hikers, and a big group of people on horseback. It seems that a lot of people felt the need to be outdoors and get some fresh air and sun.
Best of all, at the end of the hile we easily got a table on the terrace of our favorite café in Leutershausen. Today I ate punch-soaked cake (“Punschtorte”).
Despite proper planning of our hike, it seems that the underlying map of Fürth in the Odenwald was not up-to-date in two places. As a consequence, what was supposed to be a path out of Fürth into the Forest ended at an enclosed pasture. A little later we took a trail made by a harvester and had to hike a bit off-trail again, but that was probably my mistake. Last but not least a grassy path that I had chosen was so overgrown that I decided on the spot to take a different trail. Usually I prefer taking narrow paths instead of multi-purpose forest trails, but that might have been a bit too adventurous.
We hardly met any other people, despite Sunday being the nicest day of the whole week. There was only one busier part of the trail along a ridge, where we had some pretty views. We were lucky to secure a spot for our lunch break and enjoy the sun for a while. Later the sun hid behind clouds and we started walking again as to not get too cold.
Back in Fürth, we made a small detour to a café. Unfortunately, the terrace is adjacent to the buy through road with a lot of noise and pollution. Luckily, I had cancelled our reservation two days prior because the weather forecast had not been that great. Therefore, we just got some cake to go and returned to the train station. I had a truffle cake that tasted great but was very rich. It rarely happens, but I would have been happier with 2/3 of the piece.
Back home, I edited the OSM data to save other hikers from having the same experience. Hopefully the new map data will be available in a couple of days.
A few days ago, the weather forecast had looked better for Saturday. Therefore, I preponed the planned hike originally planned for Sunday. As a result, only 2 of us ventured outdoors yesterday and tested whether our rain gear works properly ;).
We repeated the hike that we had done in June, just a bit wetter, faster, and with fewer breaks.
On the plus side, I had come by car to be more flexible – trains back to Heidelberg leave only once per hour. The other participant suggested “Why don’t you drive back via Leutershausen and get some cake to go at the cafe there?” For the rest of the hike I daydreamed about the possible cakes there.
Eventually, I got a piece of pear cake with chocolate mousse and caramel pudding as well as a piece of dense chocolate whisky cake, both of which I enjoyed at home with a cup of coffee after a hot shower.
To be honest, I had thought the remains of walls and palisades of the Roman Limes would be more impressive. There were three places where we saw remains of an old fort, watchtowers and a reconstructed piece of palisade.
The most interesting part was probably the boundary stone between Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Hesse. We took a group photo with people standing in three different federal states.
What was nice is that we hardly encountered any other hikers. Even in two places with parking lots nearby, there were hardly any or no other people. We also hiked a tiny part of the Nibelungensteig. For quite some time, while walking along the line former Roman frontier the trail is directly located at a fence. I felt as if we were a group of smugglers, deserters, or spies. In one place, you can go up a wooden set of stairs and thus get over the fence into an enclosure with remains of the former buildings. In other places you need to open a gate to get into the enclosure.
The six of us still had a lot of fun and deep belly laughs! We started in a very neat village (Hesseneck-Schöllenbach), then early on saw a rain shower coming directly at us from further away and we started running for cover. Later we had a strange encounter that gave us goosebumps and might evolve into an urban legend the more often we talk about it. And then our long break at a local inn with cake and elder liqueur. This time I had plum cake with streusel.
One of our members suggested to go hiking near the border between Hesse and Bavaria. There are remains of the Roman frontier such as watchtowers, a reconstructed palisade, and walls. This is not the UNESCO world heritage site, which lies 30 km further east (e.g. Miltenberg and Walldürn), but a lesser-known area. More information about the “other” Limes in Bavaria can be found here.
Now and again when I consult my hiking guidebooks to get new ideas, I have been noticing a similar hike in that specific area. However, I never inspected the details of that hike. Looking at the map I always imagined it was hard to get there with public transport. Right now, I don’t encourage carpooling because sitting in a closed small place for an hour or more seems risky. However, as the suggestion came from a fellow hiker, I had to have at least take a look and give some feedback.
And then I was extremely surprised: the area is reachable within an hour by S-Bahn from Heidelberg and changing trains once in Eberbach. Driving time by car is one hour as well, so we won’t even be at a disadvantage for using public transport.
So here we go! A hike at the border of Hesse and Bavaria and the old Roman frontier coming up in August.
When the COVID-19 restrictions did not allow any group hikes, I decided to hike the Neckarsteig on my own. In the past, I had hiked several stages, but some parts had seemed too long, too far away, or too difficult to organize transportation from/to for me. Now however I had a lot of time on my hands and life mostly happened at home. It was good for my mental health to have a long-term project that would give me something to do for several weekends.
Usually the Neckarsteig has very wide multi-purpose trails. During my hike on the Neckarsteig I discovered a part that the signs posted there call “alpine”. Although I would not call the trail alpine, it is a very narrow, winding path through the forest. One short part close to a spring is a bit trickier because the rocks can be slippery.
Once I had discovered that part, I decided that I wanted to hike it again with our group. The Neckarsteig in that area goes from Neckargerach to Eberbach via Neunkirchen. Neunkirchen is hard to reach with public transport (S-Bahn and 2 busses), and the Neckarsteig stage from Neckargerach to Eberbach would have been too long for us. What is good is that there are only few people on that trail because it is not that easy too reach.
Therefore I planned a hike over 17 km and around 450 m total ascent/descent. That hike also covered the Dschungelpfad (jungle path) in the same area. We were 4 hikers yesterday and it seems that not only I find that part of the Neckarsteig extremely pretty.
Alas, we did not have our regular cake in Eberbach. At the end, all of us were glad that we had reached the destination and were rather keen on heading home.
Our first hike after a hiatus of almost three months took place around Birkenau in the Odenwald. The weather forecast had predicted all kinds of bad weather. Perhaps that was the reason why only three of us accepted the challenge and went hiking nevertheless. Eventually, we only got into one short shower towards the end of the hike.
The area is really pretty – rolling hills, forest, pastures, panoramic views. We hiked mostly on wide trails, which I am usually not too fond of. Right now those trails are ideal, though, because we can hike side by side and still abide by the rules regarding the minimum distance between two persons.
The cake today however (rather: the Redcurrant muffins) was home-made as we were not going to stop at a café. We will continue in this fashion except if we perhaps find a place with lots of space to sit outdoors. And sadly there is no sharing of food right now to avoid spreading an infection.
Still, we had lots of laughs and a good time hiking together again! And the next hike is already being prepared.
We will go to the Odenwald and hike around Birkenau. More details such as meeting point, trail profile, packing list are posted on Will Hike for Cake on Groups Place. For safety reasons, only members can see that information. If you want to know more about the hike or even participate, please Choose “Register” to create your account and become a group member.
We will follow the guidelines recommended by the German hiking association (Deutscher Wanderverband) during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, the number of participants is limited even more. Every participant needs to register with their full name and telephone number. We will also keep the recommended distance between each hiker, avoid crowded hiking hot spots, and so on.
But at least we can go hiking again together and socialize a bit!
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