Posts Tagged ‘Aachener Wald’

Last killer hike of spring

June 20, 2015

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Two weeks since I had any serious exercise (the Aachener Wald last Sunday was a nice walk of maybe 15 miles, but not very vertical). Can I handle a killer hike today? Parked at Los Trancos entrance well down Page Mill road, and hiked 21.75 miles, 3600 vertical feet, on a sticky, muggy day. Not as much fun as it might have been, and I ran out of water, but that’s what happens. For the locals: down Canyon trail, up Table Mountain, to Saratoga gap, back on the west side of Skyline.

Someone at Saratoga gap had let his front wheels come forward off the pavement down three or four inches onto the dirt, and didn’t have enough traction (front wheel drive car) to get back up onto the pavement. Three mountain bikies and I teamed up to lift and push the car onto the pavement. Our good deed for the day.

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Since last I was here, the green of spring has faded completely. The open areas are California golden, chest high dry grass. The pretty areas are in the woods and along the streams. Above: Peters Creek. There are a few ponds here and there, with newts lazing on the bottom, sometimes swimming desultorily around. Notice the one below exposing his butt to the coolth of the air.

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Also a day to find insects, busy drinking syrup from the flowers.

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Hard work today, but I get a beer as a reward. Well, I would have had a beer anyway, but today I earned it!

Aachener Wald

June 14, 2015

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Why will it surprise none of my friends to hear that I wanted to get out into the countryside for a hike today? According to Google maps, the biggest green area is south of the city, between here and the Belgian border. Sunday breakfast only available at 7, and I was on my way by 8.

I had done a bit of research last evening; one of the recommended longer hikes began at Adenauerallee and Eselsweg (donkeys way, for those who don’t know), so that’s where I headed. A bit after 9 by the time I got out of the urban area, a bit delayed by the choice to take Robert-Schumann-Strasse instead of Karl-Marx-Allee, obviously a good tradeoff.

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The hike begins at the upper left and wends randomly to the southwest and west, heading back into the city from somewhere off the map to the right. Black line at the bottom is Belgian border.

Shortly after getting into the wood, a woman noticed my camera and recommended a side trail to see a special root. What could be special about a root? See below…

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Needless to say, that conversation was in Englisch. It was far enough outside my expectations that I would probably never have understood her, even had she used only words I knew.

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Most of the country is forested, but ranging fairly widely in density and undergrowth. Some gravelled tracks big enough for maintenance vehicles, some single-track, everything in between. Cyclists, hikers, a lot of trail runners, people with strollers, equestrians, and a little kid walking along behind a mini-horse. Say what ?!

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What’s this about a mini-horse? Mom and dad on the trail, leading one. 4-year old Junior walking along behind. He was considering it, but wasn’t at all sure he wanted to get up on that thing. His parents were encouraging him, but not pushing. That’s good.

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Not far beyond, the stable that rented out the mini-horses, obviously going to do a good business today.

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I’m also keeping an eye out for small animals. Above: these have to be some kind of world record antennae, in comparison with body size. Below: a robber fly enjoying Sunday brunch. One got tangled up in my leg hair later on; I gently brushed it away, without annoying it.

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Eventually, back into the city from the far southwest side, very close to the Belgian border here. Luetticherstrasse becomes Jakobstrasse, and evidence of a Jewish neighborhood.

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The black plaque above is a 1952 memorial to 1700 Jews whose homes were here prior to the Holocaust. I found it interesting that racism is now abhorrrent, but Karl Marx still gets an Allee here, and not far away, Bismarck is also honored. (Commercial: Friedrich Hayek explains the connections Marx-Bismarck-Hitler in considerable detail. Of course, it didn’t have to unfold against the Jews, but there does have to be a readily identifiable common enemy.)

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Well, after that we need some humour, and what better way to honor Labor than this!

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Back to the Marktplatz and around to the hotel. Tired and sore, but a good day.

Later: walking through the overgrown paths, I wondered whether European meadows were infested with ticks. Answer: yes. Only found one (so far), but that’s enough.