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”).
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.
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.
“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.
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 50th event on Groups Place did not start that great. Our train had a delay before leaving Heidelberg, so we eventually took the S-Bahn instead. As a consequence, we arrived one hour late at the train station in Frauenalb-Schielberg.
From then on we were really lucky, though. There had been a small chance of thunderstorms in the forecast and some members had decided not to join the hike. However, apart from one distant rumble it was a beautiful summer day.
At the Naturfreundehaus in Moosbronn I was finally able to have a piece of cake that I had not made myself. Unfortunately half of the cake was already eaten when I remembered I should take a photo. Oh, well…
In my opinion the Moosalbtal is more suited for biking than hiking, though. The trail is very wide and not really beside its namesake river Moosalb. There is one part of the trail where a narrow path goes through meadows. It looks pretty, but the path has a slope to the right and is packed dirt that feels as hard as aspalt. Not a lot of fun to walk on, actually. In addition, as the day was very hot and we were walking through the meadow with no shade, I felt as if I was being boiled or barbecued.
Shortly before the end we had time for another break and cooled our hands and feet in the Moosalb. Finally we walked the remaining half kilometer to the train station in Fischweier and headed home to Karslruhe and Heidelberg respectively.
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