Support our mission
 
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, a 12-kilometer hike in southwestern Germany, starts with this serene countryside facade. But the trail proceeds through a variety of stunning landscapes as it goes along.
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, a 12-kilometer hike in southwestern Germany, starts with this serene countryside facade. But the trail proceeds through a variety of stunning landscapes as it goes along. (Jackie Broome)
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, a 12-kilometer hike in southwestern Germany, starts with this serene countryside facade. But the trail proceeds through a variety of stunning landscapes as it goes along.
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, a 12-kilometer hike in southwestern Germany, starts with this serene countryside facade. But the trail proceeds through a variety of stunning landscapes as it goes along. (Jackie Broome)
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig spends most of its 12 kilometers deep in nature, but it occasionally brushes up against civilization, as with this bridge near the trail's caverns.
Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig spends most of its 12 kilometers deep in nature, but it occasionally brushes up against civilization, as with this bridge near the trail's caverns. (Jackie Broome)
This piece of art on a house along the trail lets hikers know they're still on the right track of the 12-kilometer Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in Andernach, Germany.
This piece of art on a house along the trail lets hikers know they're still on the right track of the 12-kilometer Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in Andernach, Germany. (Jackie Broome)
The Traumpfade, or Dreampaths, logo marks the path of the Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in the countryside near Andernach, Germany. The Traumpfade network offers a number of outstanding trails in the area.
The Traumpfade, or Dreampaths, logo marks the path of the Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in the countryside near Andernach, Germany. The Traumpfade network offers a number of outstanding trails in the area. (Jackie Broome)
A walking stick lies abandoned in the caverns of the Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in Andernach, Germany. The caverns are a memorable feature and a welcome cooling-off point along the beautiful 12-kilometer trail.
A walking stick lies abandoned in the caverns of the Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig in Andernach, Germany. The caverns are a memorable feature and a welcome cooling-off point along the beautiful 12-kilometer trail. (Jackie Broome)

In the absence of many other leisure activities, one reliable pastime in this period of quarantine is to look wistfully at old photos of when you actually left your home and did stuff.

Your mileage may vary on this. The reminiscing might spark resilience and optimism, prompting you to look forward to future adventures. Or it might send you spiraling in the other direction, lamenting the days of confinement already endured and the unknowable future ahead.

My own journey through a time machine of Facebook photo albums yielded a largely positive emotional response. Knowing that my family and I have experienced so much together over the years made me certain that more such experiences are forthcoming.

When we do venture out again, I expect our first tentative steps to be not in the direction of an airport, train station or major city. I believe we’ll head into the fresh air and open spaces of nature.

Archived photos of one recent hiking trip offered both fond memories and future inspiration. The Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, or cave and gorge trail, is part of Germany’s outstanding set of Traumpfade, or Dreampath, hiking trails. This particular 7.5-mile excursion, located outside the city of Koblenz in southwestern Germany, about an hour and a half from Wiesbaden and under two hours from the Kaiserslautern Military Community, is perhaps the most remarkable hiking trail we’ve ever walked.

The hike starts at an isolated parking lot in the midst of vast fields extending in all directions. But that scenic stillness belies the rich diversity of landscapes to be found farther along the trail. You’ll pass through expansive farmland and stretches of lush forest, walk along creeks in deep valleys and revel in breathtaking views from on high. And you’ll find memorable highlights along the way, from caverns to waterfalls to railroad tracks and other brief interactions with civilization.

At the time of writing, access to Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig was off limits to tourists from Friday to Monday. Check availability on the hike’s website, traumpfade.info, before heading there. But when it’s time to set foot on a hiking trail once again, this is the place to start making new memories.

broome.gregory@stripes.com Twitter: @broomestripes

DIRECTIONS: The trail’s starting point is on Highway K57 in Andernach. If using a GPS, point it to Laacherstrasse 60 in Andernach. When you reach that destination, head a little farther out into the country and you’ll find the parking lot and the trailhead.

FOOD: There’s a McDonald’s located conveniently along the highway outside the nearby town of Mendig. Otherwise, it’s advised to bring your own food; there are several places to comfortably stop for lunch.

INFORMATION: English-language details online at traumpfade.info/traumpfade-rhein-mosel-eifel/rhein/hoehlen-und-schluchtensteig

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up