Schloßborn to Gotthard Franke Shelter
The couch is so comfy. I'd love to stay another hour or even two. But I am on a mission today: firstly, I want to climb the Grosser Feldberg, the highest point in the area, before the Saturday crowd arrives. Secondly, plan to cross Frankfurt by this evening as I don't feel like staying the night in town.
Comparably late but still reasonably early, I head out into the misty morning air, creating a mystical atmosphere in combination with the low morning sun. I manage to take a photo I wanted to take for a long time but never worked out. What a good start into my day!
To the top of Feldberg it's 9 kilometers and around 400 vertical meters. A continuous climb, sometimes steeper sometimes less steep. My legs feel reasonably well and two hours later I enjoye a good view from the top. There's a road up here so access is easy. Yet, I have the place nearly for myself. Goal achieved. I continue to Altkönig, the next hill on my way. I leave E1, take a short cut up a steep and
rocky slope. Unexpected but a nice little challenge. Altkönig is completely different to Feldberg. No building, much wilder and seems to be popular with trail runners. On the way down I choose my own path again. The steeper path takes me down through blueberry fields, full of ripe berries. With the slightly rocky surrounding it feels like to be back in Scandinavia. A good feeling. I take my sweet time, eating berries, enjoying my surroundings. Not a single other soul around. Eventually, I continue my way down. Hard to imagine that in a couple of hours I'd be in a completely different surrounding. Busy, hectic maybe. But then again, Frankfurt is a financial center and it's Saturday so maybe not so busy after all.
Once out of the forest, Frankfurt's skyline with the massive Telecom Tower comes into view. Still far away but getting closer as I cross some farm land. It's hot out here in the sun. Especially compared to the forest. E1 takes an interesting route, passing through some low income places, a massive shopping mall, parks and the telecom tower, which is a bit outside of the downtown area. I think it's where E1 gives you a good insight of the "real" Germany. I find it interesting observing people why I walk through these area. People doing what you do on a sunny Saturday. BBQ on the balcony, celebrating a birthday in the park, playing mini golf...
As I get closer to downtown, it gets bussier and busier. Busier than I expected on a late Saturday afternoon (yup, I'm running quite late. It's going to be a long day walking well into the sunset. Too much time spent eating blueberries).
I'm getting tired. Not physically but mentally. So much going on around me. Looking for the markings (which are sometimes clearly visible and understandable and sometimes not) and looking out for traffic needs a fair bit of concentration.
As I get closer to the Main River, men in their suits and the ladies in their cocktail dress are being dropped off for a party. Bankers maybe, finding ways to spend their money. Gosh, I feel out of place! Doesn't matter though. Somehow, I enjoy watching them living a life so distant from mine. A life I wouldn't want to live.
I do quick resupply as I get closer to the city boundaries. It's an abrupt change: I cross a road, a deer fence and it gets quiet around me. No sign of the city behind me. Only a few people on their evening stroll. It feels good. My brain can wind down again. Especially because the markings, now done by another hiking club, are fantastic: a marking warning of a turn well in advance, one at the turn itself and one afterwards, confirming you are on the right trail. Not some kind of unclear markings by trying to only have one sign for both directions.
Aircraft flying into Frankfurt, one of the world's busiest airports, disrupt the quiet. Some would call it noise, I call it music. Every couple of seconds I look up, trying to identify the aircraft landing on one of the 3 parallel runways. Challenging as the trees are limiting the view. Otherwise it would be too easy ;)
Finally, at 21:30 I reach my shelter. Tired but happy. What a lovely, diverse day it had been!