A week in the Pfälzer Wald

A couple of months ago I headed north in order to go to a techno festival in the deep enchanted Swedish woods. As usually I had no one to go with and as a newly examined master student my bank account was not really overflowing with money. So in order to save some money, and  to find company for the festival I wrote a post on the festivals Facebook page that I was looking for company for the trip and someone that wanted to share the gas costs for the drive. To my father’s great delight I found three German guys who were looking for a ride with a young, lonely Swedish girl to techno Mekka. This was in the beginning of August and last week I went down to Germany, more specific a small village in Rheinland-Pfalz to pay them a visit (and to go to Switzerland for some techno fun).

On the Tuesday afternoon we drove up to  Wachenheim, a small village just at the border to the big Pfälzer Wald. The fog was dense and the sight poor. However instead of ruin a great day out it rather enhanced the ambient of this small wine producing region. The dense fog adds a special ambient to the forest.  The animals become quiet and you can hear the water drops from the fog hit the leaf covered ground.

IMG_8048 IMG_8056The wineyards of Wachenheim

We were heading to an old quarry, but my dear guide managed to take me elsewhere and suddenly we found us lost in the spooky and dark Pfälzer Wald. More than one time we lost track of the trail markings that was supposed to lead us back to the Castle of Wachenheim, but as everyone knows, good company and a positive mind-set will take you far, and sometimes even back to the car if you are lucky!

IMG_8060On the trail heading into the forest, leaving the Castle of Wachenheim behind

I have not been to Germany so many times before and my experience with the country only stretches to a daytrip to Lubeck with my parents when I was younger, some visits to Berlin and the obligatory bus ride thought Germany down to the Alps. Thus, I was positively surprised with what I encountered in this region. A fairy tale like setting, small white villages and steep hillsides covered with autumn trees on fire and small castles. And of course, and endless amount of trails waiting to be discovered!

Since Josch was working the first days of my stay I had time to pack my backpack with snacks, something to drink and my camera in order to explore the trails around Neidenfels. It turned out that there were more trails that I could count, both for hiking and for mountain biking. During my days alone at the trails I did not follow any specific marked route. Since Neidenfels is in the valley, all trails leads up the steep hillsides before they either takes you deeper into the forest and connect with other trail systems, or back down to the valley.

IMG_8079Mesmerizing beech trees and deep ravines

IMG_8088The sun in peaking thought the pine trees

J had the last day of my weekly visit off from work. He had been showing pictures from a place named Drachenfels that seemed to be worth paying a visit. We headed out just after lunch and already after the first kilometre we were sweating. The thermometer showed 17*C, in November!!! Drachenfels, or “the Dragons Rock” is a hill located in the forest estate of the county town of Bad Dürkheim. The hills name is connected with the legend of the dragon from the Nibelung. Under the hill, there are two caves where hikers tend to use for camping during the warm season even though it is prohibited. There are two viewpoints from the hill, offering an amazing view over the hilly forest landscape.

IMG_8107View from the southern tip of the hill

IMG_8099Tea time in the sunny afternoon

IMG_8109

IMG_8111The Dragons Chamber

IMG_8113

IMG_8115Crossing the hill towards the western viewpoint

IMG_8123Westfelsen, 551 m.a.s.l

IMG_8127View from Westfelsen

After having a snack and tea break and enjoying the view we headed back to Neidenfels, approximately a two hour walk. We spend the last hour in the dark since the sun sets around 17.30 this time of the year. Nevertheless the forces of nature gave us an incredible sunset to enjoy before the stars started to dance on the sky.

IMG_8132The southern tip of Drachenfels seen from below

IMG_8134Josch is taking the lead back to Neidenfels

IMG_8142Description unnecessary?

IMG_8144Happy hiker back at the Castle in Neidenfels

All in all, I had an amazing week and this was certainly only one of many to come visits to the magical Pfalz.

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