Last Monday we had a public holiday and also (almost just as important) finally some good weather. We gladly jumped at the chance and went on a little hike. Originally we had planned to go to the Black Forest but after weeks of rain it would’ve been quite muddy there. So instead we drove to the monastery in Lorch in the beautiful Rems valley. We arrived there at 11 and immediately started our hike towards the Schelmenklinge (a sandstone gorge). The loop trail is about 3 miles long and really is a highlight – not just for kids. During summer, the Swabian Alb club is maintaining dozens of little water powered machines/ dioramas that turn, move and make sounds. Our kids were so excited they basically ran from one to the next. At the end the trail steepens as you have to get out of the gorge with a long set of stairs. Once we arrived at the top we took another path down the mountain to the monastery again, past some ancient redwood trees.

We were surprised how quick our two big boys are by now. It only took as 1 1/2 hours to complete the whole trail. In order to kill some time before the bird show (there’s a falconry right next to the monastery with all sorts of cool birds: Falcons, eagles, owls, …) we enjoyed a nice coffee while the kids set out to collect all the buckeyes in the courtyard of the monastery. We also visited the little church and explored the grounds of the monastery. Then, after much patient waiting, the bird show at the falconry started. It lasted about an hour and gave us the chance to get really close to some unarguably very cool birds such as a tawny owl, a pigmy falcon and (by far the most impressive) a 38 year old American Eagle.

Since my sister and her husband live really close we decided to drive by and conclude our day with a BBQ in their garden. 

The great (for German standards) weather managed to lure us outside once more on Sunday. This time we did go to the Black Forest. Around noon, after church (this time only the live stream) we started our journey towards the Rötenbach gorge. It only took us an hour and twenty minutes, yet again we were positively surprised how close the Black Forest is. Our hike took us along the Rötenbach, all the way until it joins the Wutach. A dream for a sunny fall day such as today. I love it when the warm autumn sun peeks through the yellow leaves. The loop trail along the river is about 5.7 miles long, with a few photo and snack breaks it took us 3 1/2 hours. One part of the gorge also contains the “Ant trail”. After having been to another animal themed trail in the Black Forest (The lynx trail) we had some hopes for this but it was rather “meh”. Yes you do get to see 43 ant hills (if we believe our kids, there are quite a few there) and some signs plus a few giant ant sculptures but that alone is not worth a trip. Thankfully, the opposite can be said for the gorge itself and the waterfalls. The moss covered trees and grounds, the gurgling of the creeks and the rocks are stunning. The first half of the trail is not easy to walk as it rises and falls along the river with plenty of slippery rocks and roots. But it was no problem for our two mountain goats 😉. We hiked along the Rötenbach until it joins the Wutach river. The second half of the loop trail back to our car was much easier to navigate, except for some trees that were intent on blocking our progress. 

It’s a perfect trail for a Sunday afternoon and also not really crowded – we met maybe 10 other hikers in the time we were there. 

On our way home we had to make a little detour to St. Georgen – that’s where our favorite Hofladen is, the Hofladen Haller. This time of year they have yummy vegetables and fruits from the Bodensee and also some fermented apple juice (Most) that you can buy in the canister. 

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