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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

As the days grow shorter, it’s time to dust off former Volksmarch columnist’s Jennifer West’s tips on one of our favorite types of Volksmarches … the Fackelmarsch, or Fackelwanderung — the torch walk.

Summer is drawing to a close, the daylight hours are getting shorter and you know what that means … Fackelmarsch, otherwise known as torch walk season, will soon begin! Whether you are about to experience your first Fackelmarsch or you’re an old hand at it, here are a few tips to help you on your way:

1. Dress warmly and in layers. Once the sun goes down, so will the temperature. You may feel cold at the beginning; however, once you begin walking, you will warm up and want to shed a layer of clothing.

2. If you plan to buy and burn torches, take along a few paper plates with you. Cut a hole in the center of the plate and slide it over the torch handle — it will protect your hands and gloves from the dripping wax (just imagine what hot, melting wax does to fleece gloves!).

3. If you have young children and prefer not to use the torch, carry a flashlight. It’s not uncommon to see walkers with flashlights. Take along a spare set of batteries.

4. Be aware not only of how close you are to others’ torches but also how close you are to your own. If the wind should pick up and whip the flame around a bit, it’s possible to get to close to the flame and singe your hair (no I didn’t do that, but I know someone who almost did!).

5. And finally, leave your dog at home. Trails that are dark and crowded with people carrying lit torches are just no place for a dog; he will be a safety hazard to not only his fellow walkers but also to himself.”

Here’s a tip we’ll add to Jennifer’s: If the torch you purchased is made with a hollow core center, stuff the handle portion — not the whole torch — with a paper tissue or similar material. This will prevent a chimney effect and slow the rate at which the torch burns. This provides a bit more safety for you and all around you.

Not offered as frequently as in past years, these are unique walks that each Volksmarcher should try at least once. There is only one Fackelmarsch listed on the DVV Web site for October, but we will list more as they become available. Oct. 14 at Marktbreit am Main, there will be a Fackelwanderung starting between 5 and 7 p.m. and going either 5 or 10 kilometers. Please pick up next week’s column for all of the walk information. Take the opportunity this winter to attend a Fackelmarsch, and I bet you’ll add it to your list of favorite European Volksmarching experiences.

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Now that the fall and winter are just around the corner, so is the holiday season. If you are like some and scope out the Volksmarches for good prizes to give as presents, then begin your holiday “shopping” next Wednesday in Hahnenbach, Germany, with the club’s nutcracker souvenir. This is a B-medal from last year’s walk and quantities might be short, so get there early. This is the second annual Wednesday walk held in this town near Idar-Oberstein and is a close walk for those in the Baumholder and Kaiserslautern military communities. Start the 10K route from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the 5K between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You must finish by 6 p.m.

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Thanks to these awesome people; there were fliers galore for this week’s column: Ed Whitworth, Manfred Dahl, Bob Gambert, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, David Kuik, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh and Phillip and Janice Schneider.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:

The Berghaupten, Germany, souvenir is an 85-centimeter square table cloth. An old-timer car or porcelain clown (B-medals) is available in limited quantities.

A barn with sunflowers, chickens and a built-in clock is the prize at Oberreinbach, Germany. Begin the 5K, 10K or 20K from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday or 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

A Halloween lantern is the prize at Weissenbrunn, Germany, event.

Our Italian Volksmarching connection, Clark Soeldner, says the 4 and 7 kilometer routes at Montemerlo will be through fields; the 13 and 20 kilometer walks will be through fields and hills in the Colle Euganei National Park.

The prize at the Raldon walk is a strawberry confection and a jar of honey.

Please e-mail Volksmarch schedule information for any country to two.walkers@yahoo.com. By conventional mail, send brochures (in date order if possible) to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.

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