Unless of course, its me, Martin and Simone. This time we took Elisabeth along for the fun as well! A week ago we went on a bike ride, and Martin had a map that proved to be nearly useless. This time, the map was not a mass produced map by a region, it was a book of maps produced by the local Nordic Walking club. We KNEW it would be detailed and better. Or well we thought.
We started out in Zähringen and headed out on the Wander Weg (hiking trail) and were following the marked trail. Our trail was headed in the direction of Altheim and marked with a yellow (okay sometimes faded white) fork, or a sideways 'y'.
We also saw signs for paths marked as 3, 4 and 5. Looking for the signs is sometimes a game in and of itself. Some are marked on trees -- painted that is, others are on posts with stickers, some were actually mounted on poles and some were on wood, nailed into the trees. Sometimes one saw marker after marker and othertimes one saw nothing. We were confidently following our marked route and periodically checking the guidebook. The planned route would take us nearly 4 hours through the Schwäbische Alb.
Then suddenly we came to an intersection of trails. There were no marked signs. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. We decided the best course of action was to continue on straight ahead as we'd been going. Afterall we'd been paying attention and following the signs and were sure we were on the right route. (There may have been some comments about me being a Girl Scout and thus the one in charge of guiding us!)
We got to the end of this unmarked trail and it T-intersected another *still* unmarked trail. So it was time to go for high tech. We pulled out Google Maps and sure enough, we were no longer on our intended path. We found where we were and came up with a plan to get back to our route. We started down this new path and suddenly we came to a steep downhill, but after some discussion, we decided to traverse it anyways. We all made it down -- I finished up at a run, but made it anyways. Then we were off, heading back to our original trail.
Now according to the map, we would come to a lift - and we figured we could take it back to our original trail. We did come to it. It looked like it had been out of service for many years. Our book did date back to 1996....
So we took the long way around. Eventually we made it to a sign that posted the trails. We realized at this point that while we could go back to our original trail, time wise we just didn't have the time for it. So we decided on another route to loop back. We looked at the map, we looked at Google Maps and we figured out how to get back. Now we were following trail "6", later to catch up with number "4". This trail was well marked, but it didn't exactly match the map! But we used instinct of direction that we needed to travel and about an hour later we found ourselves back at the cars where we had started. Although we did not take our intended route, we hiked for 3 hours. It was the perfect day for it weather-wise and then we celebrated our success (aka finding our way back to the cars) with traditional Schwabisch food at a local beergarden. A great day in my book!
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