Black Forest Hike
Day 1: Feldberg to Titisee

6/24/98. Outside the youth hostel at Titisee. We're waiting for the office to open to see if there's room for us. [This and other text written on Newt.] After 5 hours of hiking it feels good to sit down for a while. We checked out of the hotel in Freiburg this morning at 8, then took the train/bus/chair lift to the top of the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the Black Forest, just about 1 kilometer from the Swiss border.

Feldberg Train Station - Feldberg - Feldsee

Feldberg panorama
(in QuickTime VR - requires QuickTime plug-in)

We're following the "Westweg" (the Western Trail), the oldest marked hiking trail in Europe, extending from Basel in Switzerland to Pforzheim in Germany. For the nine days of the hike we're planning to stay mostly on the Westweg (heading north), but near the end will be splitting off to head towards Karlsruhe rather than Pforzheim. We didn't start in Basel because of time constraints. The Westweg is blazed with red diamonds on a white background and intersects quite a few other marked trails. There are two other long-distance trails through the Black Forest, the Ostweg (Eastern Trail) and the Mittelweg (Middle Trail). All are ridge (rather than valley) trails, with the Westweg being the best-known and highest. There is, by the way, also a Westweg bike trail, which parallels the hiking trail. The Westweg is also part of the larger European Long Distance Trail no 1, stretching from Italy to Sweden.

On the Westweg

From Feldberg we hiked down to Titisee, a popular vacation spot (about 14 km). Very nice scenery-thick fir forests with some fields, a few cows. Some spectacular views into lower valleys. We took our lunch break (some rolls from breakfast) at one of those, Zweiseenblick. There were lots of folks on the Feldberg, but once we got started on the Westweg, saw virtually no one else all day till Titisee.


Zweiseeblick panorama
(in QuickTime VR - requires QuickTime plug-in)

Last night in Freiburg we ate pizza for a change - only 6 DM each for pretty large pizzas. While we were at the Pizzeria, Italy was playing Austria in the World Cup. When Italy scored the winning goal, there was quite a celebration.

Titisee Youth Hostel

We did get beds (26DM), barely, for tommorrow they are full. They have school groups coming in. Youth hostels are one of the less expensive places to stay, and there a number of them throughout the Black Forest. In Germany there is no age restriction. Typically, you share a room with a number of others (same sex) which is often a nice way to make contact with other hikers or tourists.

Both of us are really sore-especially our shoulders and legs. I'm sorest on my left thigh, where I was carrying a side pack with 2 liters of soda. We'll see how we do in the morning. Neither of us was too hungry, so we just ate crackers and a candy bar for supper. We've been playing with the 4-year old daughter of the Hausmutter. She's bringing us dirt and we're planning together how many banana trees we will plant.

Europe, 1998 - Gee-Jays - Bob Godwin-Jones