The Albsteig – our four day hike in the Black Forest: From Immeneich to St. Blasien

Beginning of October 2018, we are on the Albsteig hike that follows the creek “Alb” from its mouth in Albbruck up to its source on the Feldberg. In my previous blog I have described day #1. Now I continue with …

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Day #2: From Immeneich to St. Blasien

In the morning we get up early to take photos of the pretty wooden chapel of Immeneich (Bernhardskapelle built in 1895).

After a delicious breakfast in the hotel zur Schmiede, we start our second day hiking. Now the sun plays with the wooden chapel. The sky is blue, nothing but blue. Beautiful. We walk by the wooden church…

… and climb steeply uphill in the forest, on a narrow path. First the squiggle markings guide as well, but then they disapper – and so does the path. For some time, we stray looking for our Albsteig markings. Finally we reach a wider path that we follow southwards and slightly uphill. Oh, great, the houses of Wolpadingen appear behind the trees, and an Albsteig marking says that we are back on track. This cat welcomes us in Wolpadingen.

We continue to the summit of the Dachsberg. We are now at 950m. The view is hidden behind the trees of the forest that, as we learn, once formed the border between the dominion of St. Blasien and the area around Wolpadingen. In the dominion of St. Blasien, the farmers were in bondage, around Wolpadingen they were free. The whole region belonged to Habsburg until 1806.

Now the path goes steeply down and creeps along the so-called Kalberfelsen.

We look into the blue sky and dream.

We climb steeply up again to the Bildsteinfelsen, where we have a gorgeous view into the Alb valley and the hills of the Black Forest. The temperatures allow us to sit down and enjoy the view. We sit here together with a mother and her daughter that are also doing the Albsteig, mum perhaps with more enthusiasm than her daughter.

A steep path brings us down to a broader route that takes us to the Albsee. It is a barrier lake that has been constructed during the second World War. The sun plays with the blue water surface.

Following the Albsteig markings, we have to walk around the lake (almost 360 degrees) and then steeply up to Häusern (above the Albsee). Watch out, here is a skilift – there are signs warning us – very odd on this warm and sunny autumn day.

When about to enter Häusern, it takes us some time to understand that the Albsteig squiggles ask us to turn back to where we more or less came from and then continue on a tiny path around a rock. Finally we enter Häusern “from behind”. This loop seems superfluous to us – we do not enjoy adding “useless” kilometers.

After having crossed Häusern, we walk above the Alb valley straight in the direction of our target, St. Blasien. Suddenly Richard exclaims: “Look – here – look.” Look at what? Aha, there is a small interruption in the line of trees “blocking” the view to the valley, and from here, we can see the dome of St. Blasien. Difficult to capture, there are always some leaves in the way… Also the tripod cannot change that.

A dome in the middle of the mountains? The monasterial tradition in St.Blasien goes back to the 9th century, when monks belonging to the community of Benedict settled here. Already then, some relics of Saint Blasius were transferred to St. Blasien (he died in 312 AD). In 1218 the monastery was acquired by Habsburg. In the course of the centuries the monastery had been destroyed and rebuilt several times. In the 18th century, it thrived. After another fire, the dome was rebuilt in early neo-classic style with the huge cupola. The new and prestigious dome was inaugurated in 1783. At that time, the cupola was the third largest in Europe. In the middle of the Black Forest! After another fire, the dome was restored again in 1888 (Source: Dom zu St. Blasien im Südschwarzwald, Kunstverlag Josef Fink, 2012).

Just above St. Blasien we climb up a canyon full of chilly fresh air to find the finale for today, the Wildberg waterfall. However, this trunk is “disturbing” the view. While Richard installs himself underneath the trunk to take a photo of the waterfall without the obstacle,…

… I look back into the canyon where the water jumps from one pool to the next. I think we should come back to spend more time here, but now we are tired.

It is almost six pm and we take the fastest route down to St. Blasien. We stay in the Domhotel, just across the dome, where again our suitcases are waiting for us. We change and have an excellent dinner (deer with red cabbage and Spätzli for me and zander for Richard). After dinner, we take a photo of the dome of St. Blasien – this is the view from one of our rooms.

Also the second night I sleep well – all the walking and the savory dinner are doing us good.

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