Trip Report: GR53 – Walking In The Vosges

Posted on 24 April 2010

Normally it takes a long time till I write a trip report and it takes even longer if I write a trip report in English. But now my impressions of the tour in the Vosges are ready. There are lots of photos and not really so much words, but I hope you enjoy the trip report. Take something to eat and drink and enjoy reading. Let’s go.

DAY 1:

I definitely needed a time out to recover from work. After a short time I found a tour partner und we decided to walk the GR53 in the Vosges in France. On Easter Monday I arrived in Wissembourg where I met Daniel. After a short welcome we parked our cars near the station. Our packs were ready and we decided to start our tour. It was my first trip with my new LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK. I carried 11kg at the beginning of the tour with me and Daniel 23kg. It was a great pleasure to walk because we had great weather. We walked the first kilometers along the road before we reached the trail in the woods.

After 10 kilometers we arrived at a fantastic bothy on the 432m high Col du Pigeonnier, but it was too early for the night camp. So we decided to walk a little bit. We ran over Climbach and Petit Wengen in direction to Cul du Litschhof. Before we reached the mountain we found an excellent camp site on a hill in the forest.

After we had built up the camp, we began with cooking. I collected some dry wood for my Trail Designs Ti-Tri and boiled water for a tea and my dinner. After the meal we enjoyed a good dram whisky and a pipe and then we went in our sleeping bags.

DAY 2:

It was a very cold night. I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning, but it was too early to rise. So I slept once again. After an hour I woke up again by the sound of some chain saws. That was not really a pretty beginning of the day. I slowly crept out of my sleeping bag and I had lots of frozen condensing in ZPacks Hexamid that night.

Daniel was already awake and we began with boiling some water for breakfast. Then we dried our gear in the morning sun packed our backpacks. I started the day with one liter water in my Platypus and with the hope to find quickly a source, but it should be different. The first part of the trail led along the road before we turned off on small trails in the forest. It was an interesting way and we past many sandstone formations.

After an hour we reached the ruin Loewenstein where we stopped briefly for a photo stop. Then we followed the trail and had lots of ruins and nice stone formations near the trail, but there was no source to fill up the water reserve.

For lunchtime we reached the ruin Froensburg and made a little stop. After this short stop we hiked to Obersteinbach where we found a fountain for filling up our water reserves. That was great, fresh cold water on that warm sunny day.

Then we decided the drink a beer in one of the hotels, but each was closed at that time of day. That was very bad, but what should we do. We decided to follow the trail instead of waiting until the hotels open. Next we went through green meadows and woods. On the mountain Col du Wineckerthal we follow the trail to the village Wineckerthal. Behind the village we found an excellent camp on a small stream for the night. The evening ended in cooking orgy because we had unlimited water for disposal.

DAY 3:

It was the same procedure like the morning before. I had lots of frozen condensing under my shelter. Drying the wet gear was not possible because we camped in a shady valley. After a short breakfast with coffee and muesli we packed up the wet gear and set out.

First we ran on the 581m high Grand Wintersberg. There we found a promising tower but the view was not very brilliant. After the long way uphill we walked downhill to Niederbronn-les-Baines.

When we got there we made a short break with a cold beer and be bought a baguette for lunchtime. We left Niederbronn behind us and followed the trail and went uphill for a long time again. When we reached the top we could see the ruin Wasenbourg. There we made a stop for lunch and dried our wet gear from the night before. The baguette tasted very good and the sun smiled on us. Then we packed our gear and followed the small and stony trail which brought us to a further ruin.

The ruin Arnsbourg. This was also a big and superb ruin, but we left this one behind us and walked to Untermuehltal where filled up the water reserve for the last hours and for cooking in the evening. After that we went uphill for the last time of the day and found a very nice camp in the forest on soft moss near Lichtenberg. We ended the evening with a splendid dinner, a campfire in the Trail Designs Ti-Tri and a good dram of 26y old Glen Elgin.

DAY 4:

Wow that was a grandiose night on the soft moss and my TAR NeoAir and without condensing under my shelter. I did not want to get up because it was so comfortable. After some time I got up. The weather on this morning was not good as the days before, but it was ok.

We had no rain, only some clouds and it was a little bit colder, but that was ok for walking. After a short breakfast with a cup of tea and some nuts we started. The first village where we get through was Lichtenberg. Then we reached Wimmenau where we found a baker and a small shop and we bought baguette, ham, croissants, wine and a bundt cake for lunch and dinner. We walked through green forest and the birds twittered. It was great.

For lunch we reached a great stone group near the trail which is called Ochsenställe. We stopped there for lunch. Refreshed we got up and ran towards our destination. In La Petite-Pierre we also stopped for a cold beer and we filled up our drinking systems.


After a while we reached magnificent source in the forest which is called Holländer Brünnle. There we stopped again for a longer photo orgy. In the zeal of photography I slipped out on a wet stone and my fantastic Velbon V-Pod broke, but my Panasonic Lumix GF1 was ok. That was important.

Then we came to Oberhof. We were tired and looked for a place to sleep. In the hills about Oberhof we found a suitable place to camp. We built up our tents and then we had a luxurious evening. At first we had a cup of Gewürztraminer, a white wine from Alsace, and the bundt cake, but the cake was not really fresh. After that we had dinner a small dram whisky before we went to bed.
It was our last night in the Vosges and these must be celebrated.

DAY 5:

The sun woke me up. That was a night. Consistently we heard some wild hogs near us in the night, but nothing happened. After we had packed we got up for the last kilometers to our destination Saverne. The trail was very boring, because we walked near the street and on wide forest roads.

Only the last meters to Saverne we interesting. We walked downhill and passed once again some great sand stone groups where we stopped for photos. Finally we reached Saverne at 11 o’clock in the morning. At the station we got our tickets to Wissembourg. After a short shopping tour in Saverne we traveled by train to Wissembourg our starting point.

Conclusion:

That was a great trip and I never thought that I could walk the 135 kilometers in such a short time without training. Thanks Daniel for the many cooking ideas. My dehydrator is still running. And a big respect to Daniel, he carries the whole trip his ultra heavy pack with 23 kg.


  • http://www.hikinginfinland.com Hendrik

    So you invaded France and claimed it again? Superb!

    Lots of beer and whisky, and nice photos. Any idea why you had so much condensation under the Hexamid?

    Also, did you use a NeoAir + (full length) Z Lite or just the NeoAir?

  • hrxxlight

    @hendrik

    yes but then I want the walk the HRP or something else.

    I really don’t know the problem with the condensation. The near to the streams could be a problem.
    in thr third night we had wind and no stream and there was no condensation in the morning.
    I use the neoair with 4 segments of the z-lite and a 120x50x0,2cm evamat as protection for the neoair.

  • ingmar

    What a nice bed for the bacon, the salami and the bread.
    I love Gewürztraminer an i have one bottle left in my Weinkeller :-)

  • hrxxlight

    @ingmar

    I bought also some bottles.
    It is fantastic when you can buy fresh baguette at the baker

  • Andrew

    Great report…I’m in Strasbourg and interested in hikes in the region. It’s nice to see some reports of my area.

  • http://sectionhiker.com Philip Werner

    I am impressed! Springbank single malt on a hiking trip. You ARE living large. Seriously, this is one of my favorite single malts, but almost impossible to find in the US.

  • hrxxlight

    yeah Philip. I’m living large. I really like a good whisky or wine on tour. My tour partner carried the whole way the Spingbank bottle. I carried a 26y Caol Ila in a platypus.

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