2011-06-02 48 9
A forest at Stetten am kalten Markt, high above the Donau (Danube) valley.
The name of the town Stetten actually means nothing more than place. The suffix am kalten Markt means on the cold market. Cold is to be taken serious, as for german terms this town has an exceptionally rough climate. Being the location of one of the largest military barracks where people got drawn to their forced military service, and located quite remotely in the middle of nowhere, Stetten am kalten Markt over decades was kind of a generic term for a place where you don't go unless forced. And got commonly nicknamed Stetten am kalten Arsch - at the cold arse.
- Ekorren went there.
The day was Ascension day, and some ascent would be unavoidable. However, on sundays and public holidays - and ascension day is one of these - during the summer half of the year, one can take it easy. There's a bus in the morning which carries bikes up to the Lochen pass, 884 m above sea level.
On the pass, at half past 10 in the morning, it was cold. And humid. Foggy, even. Or rather: The bus dropped us off in the middle of a cloud. Just like it is supposed to be on Ascension day, isn't it?
I decided to take a route via Meßstetten, which is the highest town with town rights (there's some traditional legal difference between towns and villages, although it's very small nowadays) in Germany - located all above 900m. From there I tried to half-circle the large military training grounds to get to Stetten. Since I found that OSM was quite incomplete in that area, I took a number of mean detours to add a few more tracks, and a few times ended up in front of one of those signs basically saying Military area - we'll shoot you. What was behind those signs was a much nicer road, though... but, not for me. Oh, and there were sheep. Battlesheep, lots of them, just waiting for a chance to attack innocent trespassers.
Needless to say I was surprised when I came to a point where the text on the No trespassing signs changed to No trespassing during exercise times, off these times enter on own risk. I just assumed that on a public holiday they probably won't shoot me there, and entered. A few military vehicles came across my way, but the drivers didn't seem to mind that I was there, so it probably was legal. After a kilometer or so, I found a chapel from the 17th century, a graveyard, and a collection of unambigous no trespassing signs which made clear that this was as far as they would let me go. However, since this didn't actually bring me closer to the hash, but further away, I didn't mind turning around.
Through Stetten my way went to the hash, which I reached easily, since it was only 50m from a good forest track.
For the rest of the afternoon I had planned to visit a number of the nice viewpoints on this side of the Danube valley, the first quite close to the hash, and then catch a train at 18:32 from Fridingen back home, because this one was supposed to sell tickets of a classic and otherwise almost disused type which I really wanted to have this years edition of for my collection. Since I had lost a lot of time in the unplanned detours for OSM and into the military areal, I ran a bit into time constraints now - so I cut that back to visit the one closest to the hash, and one more shortly before Fridingen.