Volksmarch column for Nov. 18
Next Thursday, Nov. 25, is the Ramstein Roadrunners’ Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. We are going to feature the walk this week so that next Thursday morning you can be out on the trail bright and early.
This is the 26th year for this Thanksgiving walk in Ramstein; however, there is a new start hall this year. The walk will start at the Mehrz-weckhalle in Miesenbach (street address: Am Kiefernkopf 20).
With a new start hall, expect to see new routes as well. The 5- and 10- kilometer trails start between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.; the finish time is 3 p.m. Please finish by that time so the club members and other volunteers can quickly clean up the hall and get home to their Thanksgiving meals. This year’s prize is an Edelweiss scarf in assorted colors. Don’t forget to bring some baked goods to donate to the club.
If you have the day off, can you think of a better place to be than volksmarching in the Ramstein area? Thanksgiving might be an American holiday, but a touch of German culture would make this holiday unique, with a brisk walk to build up the metabolism and a bratwurst and a cold beverage to hold you over until turkey time. Take the opportunity to log a few extra kilometers and spend some quality time on the trail with family or friends.
If you can’t make it to the walk next week but want some information about the Ramstein Roadrunners, please check out their Web site at www.ava.org/clubs/ramsteinroadrunners.
News and updates:
• A couple of weeks ago, we gave the date of the Colmar, France, event as Dec. 4. It has been moved forward to Nov. 27. We also found out that the Metz, France, walk is Dec. 11. Both are evening events that will feature the fabulous Christmas lights in these cities.
• We also found out that next February’s Rothenburg ob der Tauber walk will be the 26th and 27th. Start planning now for this big event.
• Feb. 26 is also the date for the next “In the Footsteps of the 82nd Airborne Division” walk. The event starts in Manhay, Belgium, and follows the footsteps of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. There is only one route and it is 25 kilometers.
• Sunday’s walk in Bettendorf, Luxembourg, is convenient for folks in the Bitburg and Spangdahlem areas. Not only is the countryside beautiful, it is close to Bob’s favorite Battle of the Bulge museum in Diekirch, Luxembourg.
• This weekend is the Spangdahlem Holiday Bazaar. While Lorraine is checking out Christmas gifts, Bob will hang out with friends Ed Lapotsky and Peter Dupré of Aviation Arts and Collectibles at Peter’s booth. As the name states, Peter’s specialty is aviation artwork, but he also carries a variety of other military prints and collectibles. We’ll also be looking for the latest artwork from our friend Michel Hothum, whose prints of angels are truly heavenly.Of course, pottery from Soufflenheim, France, is high on our shopping list as well. If you see us there, come up and say “Hi!”
• Lorraine Buttner, of the Heidelberg International Wandering Club (HIWC), sent us this after-action report on their recent volksmarch trip to Poland.
“HIWC members voyaged to Karpacz, Poland, over Columbus Day weekend to join other wanderers at ‘Karkonosze 2010,’ the last event in a weeklong series of walks held annually in this magical mountain resort town.
“Don Casper, trip captain and club activities director extraordinaire, once again steered us right as this 15km walk proved to be one of the most challenging and beautiful of the year. Nor did the weather disappoint. Sunday dawned clear, crisp and bright and remained that way throughout the day, which is apparently a rarity. Unpredictable and harsh, the weather is more typically prone to fog and powerful winds, rain or snow. So after a comfortable night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast at the Rezydencja Apollo hotel, we were eager to test our mettle on this 15-kilometer trail while the sun was shining.
“And test us it did! We met our guide at Wilcza Poreba Bacocwki, the official starting point at 713 meters. Volksmarches don’t usually require guides, but because this route could become dangerous if the weather turned nasty, all groups were required to have an escort. The trail, which leads to Mt. Snieska (Snowfall) — at 1602 meters the highest mountain in the Krkonose (Giant) Mountains — is also in a protected UNESO Biosphere area. Thus it is imperative tht hikers stay the trail.
“The route started easily enough. Leaving an asphalt road, the stony trail wove up through a forest painted in glorious golden hues, often following alongside a plunging, cold mountain steam. It soon became even more irregular, rocky and rugged, so by the time we hit our first checkpoint at 1000 meters, many of us had worked up a sweat and had stripped off our top layer.
“Forging on, the trail struck a steeper pitch and the terrain became even rougher. Now above the tree line, alpine vegetation took over and larger rocks covered with an arctic-like moss dominated the landscape.
“We crossed a narrow footbridge over a wild stream and at times our walk seemed more like a climb as we maneuvered over or around various-sized boulders in our path. We all took a moment to reflect at the sober memorial honoring all the skiers and hikers who had died on this sometimes treacherous trail. Truth be told, determination alone got some of us to Dom Slaski, our highest checkpoint, at 1394 meters.
“We were all richly rewarded with absolutely sensational views of the valley below and Poland’s far horizon, and with equally stunning views of the Czech Republic, for the border between the two countries runs along the ridge line.
“After celebrating our ascent with a hot lunch and cold drink at Dom Slaski and taking many photos at the top, we walked back down to the the start hall via a less rigorous, though still demanding, route.
“Though some of us may have been a little worn from wear, we were all exhilarated after completing this Polish volksmarch and plans are already being made by some to return next year.”
Thanks, Lorraine, for the report. We are going to do our best to join you next year.
• Christmas markets are beginning to open across Europe. If you know of a volksmarch near a Christmas market, let us know so we can spread the word.
• A hearty "merci" to some of our fellow walkers who took time out to mail us volksmarch brochures: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Richard and Donna Glenn; John and Evelyn Golembe; Wayne Henry; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson; and Rick Sciascia.