At last a few days off. Easter was near and my plan was to go for a first hike this year. What was the destination? The goal was to go by train to the Harz Mountains in Thale.
The Harz Mountains are very close to Berlin. To get there you can take the train from Berlin. There is a special train service called Harz Express (HEX), which goes directly to the Harz Mountains. Alternatively you can take the Deutsche Bahn. Next to the hike i had another reason to go to the Harz Mountains, I’m collecting stamps for my Harzer Wandernadel. If you achieve to collect a certain amount you can get a fancy title like “Wanderkaiser” (Hike Emperor). Martin the “Hike Emperor” that sounds like an ambitious goal.
The weather forecast was awful for the easter days: snow and rain with temperatures around 5 degrees Celsius.
Harz Bodetal Hike – The Map
Why did I left the my comfortable home and go out for a hike under these conditions? The trip was a training for my main trekking events upcoming later this year: Tanzania and Corsica. But let’s go back to my current adventure: The plan for this hike was to have a base camp in Thale and go out for a rambling. Of course preparation was needed, so I was planning upfront from home with my
|Harz Bodetal Hike, the route||
Harz Bodetal Hike – The Hike
The tour started at the Thale main bus station. I took the bus to Blankenburg (Bus 253) and changed to the bus with the direction to Wendefurth (Bus 261). As an early bird, I took the first bus that was available at 08.45 AM. Who wants to get information about the bus service in the Harz Mountains should check INSA. It’s the best spot to go from A to B. Another small advice: while sleeping in Thale, you need to pay tourist tax. The tourist tax offers the possibility to go by bus for free. That means all bus tours in the Harz Mountains are for free.
Back to the trip. After I left the bus in Wendefurth I walked up to the Wendefurth dam, to enjoy the spectacular view. Because of the snowy weather, i had not the possibility to see the Rappbode-dam, the biggest barrage in the Harz Mountains.
So I left Wendefurth in direction to the Bode river. I went downstairs, crossing the main street and following the sign to Altenbrak. The Bode was rushing next to me and tried to convince me, that the situation is not that bad. I just needed to follow the path next to the Bode to Altenbrak. Next stop: Altenbrak.
The way to Altenbrak was really rough, it was still winter. The soil was muddy and slushy, walking was really tough. On the way I passed one wind shelter. This shelter was the best spot for a short break, the wind was freezing cold and I needed some hot tea. After a small break I continued my travel. During that time, I was not aware, how cold the next hours would become. Shortly before I arrived Altenbrak, I passed a trout farm. Here i had the ability to eat a trout or fish on my own. Even in the deepest winter you will find fishers that try to get fish. But my intention was not do another break, I continued my hike.
The goal of the day was to walk back to Thale. I followed the path and saw another sign with a lot of options. There was the possibility to go left to Thale: 15 km, or go to the right, to Thale too: 18km. Because of the harsh weather conditions, I decided to take the shorter route. But shorter routes are not always the better ones, that I should realize in a few minutes.
Following the path I left the Bode behind me, so I was for sure on the wrong path. I was surrounded by wood and the ground condition was getting worse. Partially there were 50-60 cm snow and if there was no snow around it was really wet. My boots lost around that time the fight against the weather, but to protect my shoes, they were 8 years old and not made out of Gortex. My old kicks were soaking the water and my socks and feet became wet too. Wet, cold feet the conditions were really awful. The point of no return was already set, I could not have returned to the starting, I was already too far away. Only one alternative was left – continue walking. My hope was, that I would soon go for a short break in a shelter and drink some of my hot tea. But even that was not happening, no shelters the whole way. My toes were starting to became friends with the snow and they called each other with fancy names: “Mr. Shiiiivering” , “Little Miss Wet” and “Yaaaaarr its cold”, I’ve heard them mentioning multiple times. Following the path led me after 4 hours of walking finally again to a main street. I took this main street and went directly to Thale, instead of continuing on the trail. I was sick of snow and mud.
What a pity that the Harz Bodetal Hike ended like this, but for sure I will do it again. “Bodetal – we will see us again, but this time without the short cut and better shoes”
Continue reading here for the 2nd part of the easter hiking.
Read the complete Bodetal Hikein Summer here.