Yes, indeed – plural! Many people escape the cold winter weather in Europe and fly to one of the Canary Islands for a vacation and do some day hikes in fantastic weather. But we decided to escape the cold and miserable winter weather, especially in Germany, and hike the length of the GR131 hiking trail that covers almost all of the Canary Islands. Ever heard of these islands? They are a region of Spain, that politically and economically belongs to Europe but is only about 60 miles off the western coast of the African continent.
Endlich! … Von der Elbe herauf kommt eine kühle Brise, die den Schweiß der letzten Stunden auf meiner Stirn trocknet. Die Steine der Sächsischen Schweiz hatten viel Energie und Kraft gekostet. Die Sonne, die heute heiß und unerbittlich vom Himmel brannte, hatte in der baumlosen Landschaft zwischen den kuriosen Steinsäulen und -plateaus leichtes Spiel.
A thru-hike is only a thru-hike if you actually thru-hike. That’s why we headed back south to finish hiking the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Appalachian Mountains. Unfortunately in April we had to leave the trail about half way in as John injured his back.
Warum der GR131?
Numerous times I flipped through my hundreds, maybe even thousand, of pictures I took while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in ’17 and ’18. There’s still barely a day I don’t think about…
After having finished the German section of the Eisenach-Budapest trail, I wasn’t quite ready to put my hiking shoes away. So I headed out and started another hiking project: As many borders are still closed these days, I eventually took the opportunity to start hiking the German section of the Iron Curtain Trail/Green Belt Trail („Grünes Band“).
171 miles around a lake? It doesn’t sound too challenging. Also, hiking on a rim with more or less constant views of the same lake day in, day out didn’t sound overly exciting…
These 55 kilometer, through the highlands of southern Iceland. That’s what I was planning to hike within 4 days together with my mom, with whom I met up halfway in between the US and Germany.
A next section of the German Green Belt/Iron Curtain Trail I hiked together with my mom: 4 days along the former German-German border in the valley of the river Werra. This region is known for salt mining, therefore huge salt mine dumps characterise the landscape („Monte Kali“). They are almost iconic for the area – but with them come that the river Werra is among the most polluted water bodies in Germany. Factories dump their sewage and the salt from the dumps is washed into it. Only very less species adapt to that harsh environment.
The last section of the Eisenach-Budapest long distance trail in Germany runs through the very popular „Sächsische Schweiz“ (Saxon Switzerland). This area, that is part of the Elbsandsteingebirge (Elbe Sandstone Mountains) is a…