So what do you call a great hike?
For days we´ve been itching for a good autumn family hike , lucky enough, I had a weekend free so then off we go.The weather was great , and after breakfast, and only half an hour drive, we arrived to our new hiking place–in Unteremmendorf . The main attration in this place is the “Torfelsen“, or the Rock Gate. It´s a natural rock formation splendour and believed to be a part of the entrace of the three castles ,named “Torfelsen“, “Saufelsen” and “Hubertusfelsen” which were believed to be owned by Messrs. Emmendorf, a family of servants from Eichstatt.There is a 25- meter deep cave that attached to the gate and we thought it is quite cool to explore it. My daughter have never seen a cave, a real one alone!
Here in Germany, names of places are hard to memorize, actually I can speak of it but sometimes it´s so easy to forget them. But knowing German grammar, when I noticed the last syllable, dorf, that reminds me of a tiny village.Well, basically this place is easy to navigate since it is in the vicinity of Altmühltal valley, panoramaweg. If you lived here in Bavaria and in the southern part like us here in Ingolstadt, then eveyone knows Altmühltal. We have explored this area so much, and it actually has a lot to offer, for every ages, all in 4 seasons.But especially Autumn, it´s in its most colorful colors which I loved.
This hike was from 2 weeks ago, when the Autumn fog and the chill outside with bright sun is really enjoyable, a golden moment in October. Now, not anymore, nearing almost Halloween, it´s all grey, dark, gloomy and cold.The other day that I was cycling to work it seemed like it´s already winter, and I don´t really care If I´m already wearing a warm boots.
Anyway,this hike was a friendly family hike for us, approx. 7 kms and as usual, we took our time and made few stops to snack and let my daughter play.This path is also famous for mountain trail biking and connected to other panorama hikes with Ruins and castle views here in Bavaria.My daughter urges to bring her hiking stick but I know that in the middle of the hike,it´s me ending up carrying it, which is really typical.
So who doesn´t need a break when the sights are this pretty?
The beauty of nature is quite simple,the silence, the trees, the bright sun, these path, crisp autumn leaves which cracks everytime we walked on it….this place is quite magical.
The first part of the hike was almost flat. We hear the sound of the gushing water in the small brook that flows from the forest into the side street of the village.We parked our car in the foot of the village and the small path led us to right into the woods. From the beginning, I h It was a quiet place, and I love adoring the small gardens filled with autumn blooms. I haven´t seen anyone else hiking, or probably they´ve taken another path.There are lots of piled woods and tree branches along the way. That was a smart thing to do, those woods will definitely give warmth during the upcoming cold months.The sights were typical, yellow-orange leaves of the trees gives us a great backdrop but then the soil was damp, muddy and yes, wet from last night´s rain.We didn´t mind that though.
Then our search begun. Searching for mushrooms and other autumn finds is exciting. From odd spider webs to unusual colorful foliages up to the dried pine cones, they are all adorable during this time of the year. I just loved how fog makes everything misty and everything else in the wilderness seemed magical.I enjoyed taking photos of them as well!
At the end of the path we´ve met few people who goes in the same direction as ours and that always gave me relief. There was also a big family at the end, with a baby, another stroller and a dog. Then came another group of older women who are busy chatting about their dogs and the weather. Then it was a perfect time to have a break and some warm tea. When we do family hikes, we always pack a warm thermos, drinks and snacks,because it always saves the day.
The viewing point did not dissapoint us, but I think the view that we´ve got when we hiked through the ruins of the castle in Markt Essing and Kipfenberg is much better.The valley looks the same, nothing special and the river Altmühl view here is quite plain compared when we hiked through Burg Randeck.
We´ve continued walking, this time searching for more mushrooms. This time the path gets slimmer and some uphill.Finally weve seen the signs that we are almost near to the Rock Gate.The moment we saw the slight narrowed path, covered with fallen leaves, this view surprised us. We´ve finally found the gate.
In Winter, this path is not opened to public and no winter path maintenance. But I think it would really looked lovely when everything is covered in white…like a winter wonderland plus this rock gate!
There´s a tree where you can climb and famous photoop site and of course, my kid did not missed that!I guess the beauty of hiking actually lies on the whole fun you´ve got while you do it , the hardship, missed turns, and not when you actually reached the summit of the point you are looking for. The adventure of searching the paths and looking for the right signs makes it all worthwhile!
Just beside the Felsentor is the cave where bats and nocturnal creatures lived and hide. They are probably hanging there, sleeping so we don´t wanna disturb them. There´s a sign that this area is protected so we did not dare to go inside the cave. Also I am not really fond or excited to meet some bats at this time. My daughter was excited and curious but then she did not walked further.
What I loved about the Altmühltal Panorama weg is its diversity. We´ve seen castles, ruins, huge boulders of rocks, stones, carved mountains, wild forests, caves, bridges and historical churches and museums. Everything is just fascinating and each place has its own gem.We´ve done quite more hikes from this area and it always surprises me that there are more to see. The sceneries, the wildlife that we´ve seen are all truly special. I guess this Rock gate has been important during the old times but I am personally glad that in the middle of the woods, we were able to see it during this time.
Many times, my kid doesn´t want to walk anymore, making tantrums and feeling bored .The choice is not to give up. When we looked back at this time and looking at our photos, we actually forget all the troubles and problems. Just like any other hike, when we´re going down, it gets everything easier…and merrier.
Down in the valley, we rewarded ourselves with a warm lunch in Kratzmühle which have a very nice lake view , a mini golf area and a large playground. There were lots of bikers who took their break and many families doing the same things as we do. My daughter had a blast playing there while we enjoyed some day of rest. I wish the sun continues to shine like this through the coming cold months…oh how I wish!
What a simple, lovely day.It already feels like we are back in normal.
What does makes a simple hike great—I guess it´s just a day like this!
When was the last time you went for a hike?
Until next time, Tschüss!