This weekend we loaded up the car and drove down to the Black Forest. We didn't really have a destination, per se. Since the Black Forest is so large (120 miles long and 40 miles wide) we plugged into our GPS Baden-Baden (a large city, closest to us, on the northern tip of the Black Forest). As we approached Dawn plugged in Mumelsee: a glacier lake that thaws in the summer, with a surrounding area of trails and overlook points.
It just so happened that the route the GPS plotted for us was the Schwarzwaldhochstraße (Black Forest High Street): the oldest and one of the best known drives in all of Germany. It began with hilly villages and vineyards, then developed into curved roads along cliffs up the side of the mountain range: the kind you see in those German sports car commercials. One of the small villages we drove through at the base of the mountain had banners announcing the Main Festival the following day--so we were pleased to have missed the crowds. For such a beautiful and historical place, we felt fortunate to virtually have the place to ourselves.
We jumped out of the car and took off for the trails. Dawn reluctantly followed our strait-through-the-bush-I-think-I-see-a-trail lead. We found wild raspberries which were small, and every other one was sweet. The boys had fun with my instruction to pick only the berries above waste level; they got a lot of mileage out of my explanation of pee-berries! We found a dark shaded wood and had lunch; Dawn had prepared a picnic for us, which she was carrying around in her back pack. We had turkey and cheese on sourdough sandwiches, fresh vegetables, trail mix-spiked with chocolate chips, and spicy chips. She also brought treats along for Ginger.
The lake itself is pure snowmelt. Local legend tells of water sprites (which we translated as Mermaid for Jared; for him "Sprite" means only one thing) and the enchanted forest. The family twisted my arm and we rented a paddle boat and took it out on the lake. Ginger wasn't too sure of the water, but as always, she was a good sport. Benjamin pretended to help me paddle; he was too busy eating ice cream and looking for water sprites. In addition to our pictures of the lake, I'm posting one I found of what it looks like in the winter.
It took us less than two hours to get there, and we only traveled a small part of the Schwarzwaldhochstraße. I imagine we'll return a few more times before it gets too cold to enjoy the outdoors. (Dawn was born in Hawaii and spent most of her youth and young adulthood--she's still a young adult, mind you--in Florida, so the whole cold thing is going to be an adjustment for her.)