7/6/01, 10:00 a.m., Steinsberg. I'm sitting outside a tiny grocery store which was right on the trail though this village. I'm drinking a bottle of "weiße Limonade" (like Sprite) and eating a Mars bar. I got a later start this morning - no breakfast served till 8:00 and then I took the wrong route out of town and had to retrace my steps. Nice views of Schaumburg on the way.
2:10 p.m., Vierseenblick. Just had the steepest ascent since the first day. It didn't help that beforehand I had spent an hour trying to locate the trail turnoff. Finally found a tiny trail marker half hidden on a switch light, next to an overgrown, very narrow path alongside railroad tracks. In fact, I never probably would have found it without the help of an older couple I saw sitting outside and whom I asked. Supposed to be 4 lakes to be seen from up here but I don't see any. Guess I'll eat my lunch. Some consolation on the way up here in that I found a spring and filled my water bottles with very cold water. Also found some wild raspberries which were ripe and quite good.
6:10, Obernhof. Got here at 4:30. The original plan was to make it to Nassau today (about 7 km from here), but I'm too beat. As it was, today was the hardest, hottest and longest. I think I'll try for Bad Ems tomorrow. Obernhof is also on the Lahn, like Balduinstein, but not as touristy. The attraction here is wine and there a number of Weinstuben in town. I can see the vineyards from my hotel room and saw someone working up there earlier. It looked even steeper than the trail today. There is a campground here in town, which looks to be doing a good business, mostly longer-term campers. I also passed a campground on the trail today.
In fact, there were a number of spots on the trail today overlooking the Lahn which looked great as potential camping spots (or picnicing), but this kind of backpack camping is not allowed in Germany-although I've done it on occasion. Understandable considering the population density and environmental concerns, but still too bad-there are some wonderful places to watch the sun go down. It certainly would make a hike on the E1 more affordable for folks on a limited budget. If this week is any indication, the E1 is an under-utilized resource in the Taunus. I have yet to meet or see another hiker on the trail! Maybe it's not the right time of year, or maybe it's too hot for German hikers. It occurred to me today to wonder what would happen to me if I twisted my ankle or fell and got a bad cut-obviously things which can happen when hiking. If I were hurt badly enough that I couldn't walk it might be several days at least before I was found.
There are a number of places to stay in Obernhof, all of which seem to be along the river (a short hike from the E1 trail). I'm at the Cafe Lahn, 50 DM a night. Here in Hessen (as compared with other parts of Germany) the hotels are not required to have guests fill out a form with name, nationality, address, etc. So far I have only filled out the form once-the first night in Glashütten. Today, the hotel employee (owner?) took me up to the room, unlooked the door, threw the key on the bed and turned to leave. So much for formalities. I had to ask the price and the hours for breakfast. There is a refreshing casualness and relative informality of the Hessians. Somehow I had to think of Kleist's Anekdote today-similar kind of sang-froid here at the hotel.
Ate outside again today, for the 5th night in a row-unbelievable in Germany
Total: 21 km Dinner. 25 DM (Goulash)