Burgentour Part 1

Pretty much exactly two weeks ago I met with jmsanta and his wife Zwergbaum at our Wiesenevent.
They mentioned plans to walk the 7 Burgentour in the borderland of Germany and France.

That’s a two day hike with an overnight stay in an old castle ruin. Now how much more romantic can one get?
As I’ve never before carried all my gear and food with me, this prospect was more than tempting. Being strictly a car sleeper, all my equipment is certainly practical but not necessarily lightweight.
But jmsanta has hiked in Norway and promised to give me a list, what I do need. Most of that was already availlable in my household, but some items needed to be ordered.

October the third is national bank holiday in Germany, celebrating the reunification of East and West, so this weekend seemed to be perfect (as I didn’t have to work). So I spontaniously decided to go with them.

I learned a lot in the short preparation time. So it is absolutely necessary to put a biro or at least a pencil into ones backpack…
My dog Nyssa got a backpack for her food and water and so we headed into the forest one evening to get the hang of handling one lead, one hiking stick, one GPSr, one camera, one backpack with around 10kg weight and then finding a cache. Well, turned out, after finding a good spot to clip the O’Ryan at the strap of the backpack and also getting the 5m Flexi, a retractable lead fixed at my belt, it left my hands free to handle the rest of the equipment. But if there’s no biro in my backpack, how to log? Happened the first time to me, but there’s a first for everything.

The weatherforcast for the weekend couldn’t have been better for our plans. And it turned out to be true, amazingly. It was sunny, cloudless, but not so hot, it is autumn after all. A full moon lit the night and no dew in the morning meant our bivouac sacks weren’t wet at all.

As I had 370km to travel, I went on Friday afternoon.
I had made plans to meet with my aunt in Mainz. She had visited the Mainz Cathedral a few weeks ago. There she got a coin of the cathedral, which she wants to let travel to the Mission Dolores in San Francisco. So I offered to fix this to a generic geocoin and get it started.
Obviously it had to start at the Mainz Cathedral, so I went to search for a short multi cache there.

Cathedral of Mainz

gasse Small road in the Innercity of Mainz

View over the River Rhine




After two caches close to my aunts workplace and giving the dog a short break at the River Rhine I went to that tiny little hamlet of Schönau/Pfalz, to meet next morning with jmsanta and Zwergbaum.

We had read the logs of the cache and knew, we had to cross the road in the evening. So we left my car as a depot (no as a cache in the pre geocaching sense) at N49°02.311, E7°45.910 to get a refill on water. Also to leave sleeping bags and mats, Nyssas bagpack, the cooker and evening food. There is no need to carry all that the whole day, is there?

The second car we left at the listed parking coordinates, which turned out not too suitable at all. Especially for the way back. Whoever want’s to take the hike I’d recommend a parking spot in the village of Schönau.


We probably added a few kilometers to the tour, as we went not the short and steep way, but took some less steep hairpin turns.
We found lot’s to talk about, the chemistry was right, which is very important for a successfull tour. In our group of four, (yes my dog is a person, too!) it was perfect. If I may say so….

Yes, we’re on the right way! There is a X….

The search for the stages of the Burgentour was sometimes a bit tedious, but gave us also a much needed break from hiking.
Teufelstisch, the devil’s table, home of stage one.

To keep the dog with the flexi lead on the belt turned out to be the perfect solution for me. My hands were free to handle equipment, the dog was restrained to not follow any interesting smell and also not to tire too much. Cause a dog easily runs the double distance from the human leader. Even with the 5m lead, she constantly kept up a sine wave, left-right-left-right. So she certainly walked more than those 39.9km we had on the tracklog at the end of the tour.

Steep incline, which sadly doesn’t seem to be so steep on the picture.

Wall lizards in the sun at the foot of Wegelnburg

The castles or fortifications were stunning, once more I was happy to live in modern times and not in the middle ages. With my luck, I’d certainly be a scullery maid and would have to carry supplies up those mountains.
But the craftsmen of the time had true talent, especially working with naturally occuring rock. If nowadays one would like to built a house on sheer rock, every builder would tell him to get lost.


Gateway up at Wegelnburg

Castle Fleckenstein

On the way to our first cachehunt of the day, all day was spent searching for the stages of the multi.

At some of those castles we had lots of muggles around, not surprising with the nice weather. The tourists were mainly at those castles with close access to parking, and had some surprisingly unsuitable shoes on. Trainers (sneakers) or even ballerinas. Well, what else to expect from someone clutching an arts guide book of Alsace?

The ruin of Castle Fleckenstein

The people you’d meet at these tourist attractions were pretty much international, on a small path three young men passed me. My hallo was twice returned with ‘Bonjour’ and once with ‘Grüezi wohl’. Even a Swiss speaking one we could meet in Alsace.

feuer geist

At the bordergrenze
Border stone between Germany and France

The moment I passed the border was obvious even without those old border stones. Cause at that moment the forests weren’t green on my topo map anymore. For France I had only city navigator, no Open Street Maps. But Zwergbaum had brought a old fashioned paper topo of the area, so we managed just fine.

jmsanta and Zwergbaum studying the map.

Sturdy boots, while the heads bend over the map

In the evening we passed my car, and filled up on water and got all our overnight stuff. Nyssa got her backpack and off we went up the steep incline. Which seemed to be more a like a stream than a path, judging by the erosion. Well, as sandstone is the main stone material in the area, the ground was sandy, easy for any kind of erosion.

Now, where does this tree get its water? Amazing!

Our castle to stay the night: Froensburg