2009-04-04 48 8
The hash is at the margin of the town of Hechingen, near to the famous Castle Hohenzollern.
Hechingen again? Well, technically, yes. But Hechingen isn't that small, and has incorporated quite a number of villages, and this time it would be at the other end of the municipality. So, somewhere completely different. Also - it was mostly dry, rather warm, a pleasant saturday, and I seemed to have mostly recovered from the bad throat that haunted me during the past few days. No doubt - this was a hash that wanted to be visited. At 4 pm, if possible.
I estimated the distance to about 30 km, and going uphill almost all the way, that it would take me about two hours to get there. I didn't want to hurry, rather planned to take a detour through the inner city of Hechingen. On the other hand, I had some tasks that were to be done before, and I overslept (forgot to activate the alarm clock, that is), so all attempts to get on my way considerably earlier than necessary were basically doomed. However, at 13:20 I got down to my bike and hit the road.
There isn't much to say about the route. I took a rather fast one along the Steinlach, basically the same as for 2009-03-26 48 9, but varied the standard route a bit to add some residential roads and tracks to OSM. A few minutes before 3, I passed the peak and got a first view on the town of Hechingen.
Hechingen, together with the predecessors of today's Castle Hohenzollern (which technically belongs to the neighbouring town of Bisingen) was a quite important residence town - in the middle ages. It was the centre of a small unimportant rural principality but also the family seat of the House of Hohenzollern, probably the most important german nobles dynasty. The prussian kings and the last german emperors originate from here. However, the principality ceased existance in 1850, when the last prince sold it to his relatives in Prussia. The special status of a prussian exclave in southern Germany (Prussia itself was quite somewhere else) still survives in a few oddities like an own local railway company named Hohenzollerische Landesbahn (Hohenzollern State Railway) serving the area.
What's left of those times are a few buildings in the inner town of Hechingen, although most there still is originates from prussian times. Also today's castle wasn't built before mid-19th century, and it was the prussian king from Berlin on whose behalf the castle was built, not the local prince.
Back on track. When I reached the town, I had still one hour until I wanted to arrive at the hashpoint, and estimated it wouldn't take me more than twenty minutes to actually get there. So I circled the centre a bit, tried to gather some photos and took another chance on a hashcard. Failed once more - because on a saturday afternoon in rural towns, basically everything is closed for the weekend. Finally I noticed that I had used up a bit more than the time I had... so I sped up and left the centre. Took a wrong road, noticed in time, found another one. Found the perfect way to cross the suburb of Stetten, somehow avoided to collide with the masses of people who just left the sports area after some game or whatever. Up on the hill, to the hashpoint, which was in a meadow. And arrived there only a few minutes before 4.
It was a nice place with a magnifient view on the castle which was only obstacled by slight haze and the fact that the sun was almost exactly behind the castle. I wouldn't go up there today. It's worth a visit, both for it's architecture and the view, but it's quite a significant number of elevation metres to go, and I have been there last year. Being a nice weekend afternoon, the castle also probably will be totally overcrowded. It always is on weekends. It's one of the few places where even overseas tourists deliberately go in whole busloads, after all.
I waited for a few minutes, just in case someone else would turn up, and then decided to leave again. Now, with daylight savings time in effect, with the days getting longer, there would be still about three and a half hours of good daylight. Don't want to waste that, do you? So, I decided to accept a few more elevation metres and try the road from Schlatt to Beuren, one of the most remote villages, a place where I never had been before. The very track I was on just now, near the hash, should even continue through the forest to Schlatt, so there wasn't even any need to go back in town first.
What I had neglected when looking on the map, was that, although I was looking into the Starzel valley just now, and headed into the very same valley, the track would go up a lot first. All inside the forest, even, so there weren't any nice viewpoints along it. On the plus side, that part again lowered the level of emptiness on OSM, and after all... I wasn't in a hurry. Down into the valley on a gravel track, I reached Schlatt and went up again for Beuren.
This detour - well, it was only a detour if counted by elevation metres, not by kilometres - was worth it, through a nice landscape, with a few viewpoints, to the highest point of this trip at almost 700 m above sea level. Then down again, on a very small road, single track serpentines through the forest in silence. Out of the forest again, and into Mössingen, from where I took the fast trail home.
... is here.