Weidenthal is almost unknown for hiking. In the many hiking guide books I have read, the area was never mentioned. Therefore I thought it might be a good location for a Sunday in the Palatinate. Shortly after posting the hike I added 2 km to the hike. Thus we would be able to visit some of the wells along the Esthaler Brunnenwanderweg. I had hiked that trail a few years back and part of the trail was extremely scenic.
When we got off the S-Bahn, only one other small group of hikers got off with us. Just one stop ahead in Lambrecht, big groups had vacated the S-Bahn and headed towards the forest.
Where we hiked we had the forest almost to ourselves. Once in a while at intersections we met other hikers or bikers, but most of the time we only heard the sounds of the forest and our own voices.
Part of our trails belonged to the “Pfälzer Hüttensteig”. There are lots of catered huts in the Palatinate Forest but I had already know that there would not be any hut on our planned trail. Luckily I had brought a few slices of homemade banana bread as a treat. But once again I ate the cake before taking a photo and therefore re-enacted the situation back home.
“Will the hike take place tomorrow?” a Whatsapp message asked me on Saturday morning. I quickly replied “Yes, the weather forecast looks good, what does your app say?” and attached screenshots of two weather apps for Deidesheim. Both predicted no rain and temperatures above 25°C. Less than a minute later I received a screenshot, too. 27°C, mostly sunny, and definitely no rain.
So, off our group went as planned to Deidesheim yesterday. We walked through the town with its well-tended houses and the pretty city hall, hiked through vineyards and reached the forest. All the time we chatted along because some of us had not seen each other for several months. Soon however Mother Nature showed us that weather forecast and reality are two different things. A heavy rain shower came down and we unpacked umbrellas, rain jackets, and rain covers for our backpacks.
Luckily, we were just a minute away from the Deidesheimer Hütte. The hut, where you can usually buy food and drinks, is currently closed for renovations. I had been aware of that situation and chose the area on purpose, hoping we would run into fewer people on the trails. We searched for some shelter and waited for the rain to stop, started eating some of our food for lunch, waited some more, and waited…
After maybe 20 minutes the sky finally cleared up and we continued our hike on narrow paths up to a shelter “Am Weißenstich” where we had our official lunch break. The temperature was much cooler and we soon resumed our hike before we got too cold. A few hundred meters we got into another rain shower, but only a short one.
Soon we reached the Eckkopf view tower, climbed the steps and enjoyed the 360° view from the top. In some areas we could still see dark patches of rain.
Then we started our descent. The temperature started to rise and we had a nice break at a small lake called “Basaltsee”. Finally, we reached the edge of the forest and took another short break at the “Michaelskapelle”, a small chapel with a panoramic view. Then we hiked the remaining kilometers through vineyards and back to Deidesheim. None of us was in a hurry to go home and when one of us discovered an ice cream parlor, we quickly decided to stay and take a later train. I bought a yummy spaghetti ice cream with Amarena cherries. We sat down at the famous Geißbockbrunnen (translates as billy goat fountain) and enjoyed the finish of our hike.
Only a week ago, three of us went hiking around Lambrecht in the Palatinate. The S-Bahn had been quite empty, we kept our distance and ran only into few other hikers. We expected a similar situation at one of the PWV huts or that the hut might be even closed. Instead we encountered quite the contrary situation and were shocked at the mindlessness of people there. People sitting in clusters, children playing together. Inside the hut was a huge line-up for food and drinks. People were queueing along the counter and continuing in a U-shape inside the whole room. Aghast, we looked at each other and fled outside. In the next hut, the guy taking our orders and handling food and drinks clearly had a cold.
The whole experience left us at unease. While I was still thinking about whether to post a new hike with limited participants, stricter rules were published.
While I miss being outdoors and enjoying the spring weather, I am glad that rules are more severely enforced now. Last Sunday in the Palatinate it seemed people behaved irresponsibly, completely ignoring the risk of infection.
Until we continue our hikes, please stay safe, stay healthy, and please consider everyone around you. Not only old people are at a higher risk when catching COVID-19.
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