6/30/98. Hundseck. Stopping here for lunch (Rumpsteak 28 DM).
3:30. Badener Höhe (technically part of the city of Baden-Baden although it's some 12 km away) . We decided to stop here and camp tonight. It's a beautiful site with a tower, several tables and benchs and even a shelter. We climbed the tower and could see quite a bit, including the Strasbourg cathedral tower (42 km away) and Freiolsheim (21 km away).
The shelter (Hütte) here is one of many we've passed along the way. Most are marked on the maps. They are meant for temporary shelter, not for overnight camping, but can be used for that purpose in a pinch. This one has a gravel floor, not real hospitable for sleeping.
18 km today. We've gotten to the point now that we can hike straight through, without taking a lot of breaks. It works much better that way, to walk for hours at a time, since you can get into a good rhythm and start doing walking meditation.
It's obviously not the wilderness experience here that you have on trails like the Appalachian trail, but we've gone long stretches without seeing a soul. Nobody except us here, for example, at this beautiful mountain-top site. The scenery has been spectacular, with great vistas despite all the trees (mostly fir and pine). More paved paths than I care for, but that's mostly been in agricultural areas (beautiful Black Forest farms) and have been short. Otherwise quite a variety in the kinds of trails, Some as narrow as the typical Appalachian trail, others wide logging roads, mostly through woods, but sometimes through tall grass and bushes. Paths tend to be quite rocky; good boots come in very handy. Level ground is the exception, but inclines and descents tend to be gradual (with some memorable exceptions). Very few towns on the trail (Hausach, Forbach) but many inns and restaurants.
Just set up the tent since it was starting to rain. I added on our ponchos to each end of the tube tent to extend it. We'll see if it keeps the rain out. Camping is not actually allowed here (there is no water or other facilites), but is doable if you go about it discreetly. We brought the tent along only as a back-up, to use in situations like this, where there is no other place to stay or the setting is just too inviting to pass up. There are camp grounds along the way, mostly at locations where lakes are located, by there are designed for longer term camping and are not particularly attractive for short term tent camping.
Last day of June. I just thought about the fact that this hiking trip is sandwiched between two professional events, which represent the 2 current streams in my professional life, information technology (the Freiburg conference) and language studies (the Landeskunde seminar). Seems like the trip represents the transition I'm planning from technology back to German. Actually, I'm hoping to find a way to combine the two, as well as to find time for other things, like family, house and garden. It would be nice as well to do more trips, like this one with Jacob. This past week has been my first real vacation since 1992, when I took the kids to a cabin in western Virginia for a week.
The rain has stopped and the sun has come out, trully beautiful as the sunlight filters through the wet branches.
With the rain, plus being on a mostly open mountain top (3300 feet), it's gotten quite chilly. Actually, it's nice to be able to use the turtlenecks and sweatshirts we've been dragging along with us. We do have too many clothes along, too many extra shirts. I've been doing a hand laundry any time we're at a hotel, which works well.