4th Trail – Hennigsdorf – Wensickendorf

Total distance: 24.8 km. Estimated hiking time: 6 hours.

Yesterday we finished up stage 4 which was so far the most challenging of the trails. It was just a little longer than the 2nd and 3rd, but for those and other reasons, it felt like it went on forever.

The trail starts out in Hennigsdorf, the train station was very easy to get to with the S25. From there we set off.

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After just a kilometer or more, we were out in the nature walking along side a marsh. And soon were following along the Briese river as most of the trail does. At times the Briese was just a small creek, and at others it gave us a surrounding of endless marshlands views.
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The photo below was a bit ironic, as you see there were many trails marked. But this was the least well marked of all the trails so far, and we got lost as a result. Which is also funny because I had downloaded the Google Earth app and we tried using map data from WanderKompass.de to navigate, but running a GPS/Maps app drains battery quickly, so we had to keep shutting our phones off. And since Google Earth doesn’t offer a way to keep the trail coordinate data stored, each time we wanted to see if we were on the trail, we had to re-download the map data. What became even more problematic was the trail markers we did find weren’t always consistent with the map screenshots.

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Even as we walked through areas of civilization, there were many beautiful, peaceful cottages and homes. It was nice to see how others outside the city live. It looked nice!IMG_8768As we stopped in Hohen Neuendorf for a quick photo snap and some Ritter sport, I noticed a man with a blue backpack, who we’d seen a bit earlier. He looked at us and gave a quick smile. I presume he realized we were both walking the same trail.

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Whole stretches of the trail were on raised paths like this one (below), that gave a feeling of entering into an untouched ecosystem. It was special. When we reached the other end of the raised trail, there was a bench made of tree logs. The man with the blue backpack was seated there, looking through a book and eating a snack. We took the lead ahead of him. Having seen him three times now, I knew it wasn’t just one small leg of the trail we were sharing with him, he was definitely on the 66 Lakes Trail like us.

IMG_8789 IMG_8792From kilometer 14-20 we saw one marker. And spent much of the time walking on the wrong side of the Briese river. But even as the madness of feeling lost and not seeing markers for several kilometers crept in, we stumbled upon this small lake which was more like a natural damn. And some green algae collected on the surface created a beautiful bright green sheen with the erie look of trees growing out from it, like they had been cemented in.

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At the very end we finally reached Wensickendorf. A small farm town where even houses on the main road had small chicken hutches in their side lots. When we reached the main road and trail end, there was no train station in site. A man stepped out of a small corner shop, I turned to him to ask where the train station was, before I could mutter more than “entschuldigung” he said “Die Bahnhof is da lange” pointing down the road. I guess that’s what most people who look like us normally talk to the locals about.

The wrong turns added another 4km to our hike and in the last hour it definitely felt like we had reached our the limit. But we still finished on schedule (6 hours of hiking) and caught our train back just as the sun started to set.IMG_8804At the train station, the man with the blue backpack was seated, reading a book and enjoying the sunset. I thought about talking to him. But my feet hurt so much, I just wanted to start relaxing and get the throbbing down. Maybe we’ll see him again. But probably not. It’s nice to know we’re not doing it alone.

Brieselang to Hennigsdorf – Stage 3

The hike worked out to be really nice. It’s still early Spring in Berlin so most of the growth hasn’t come in yet, but this trail offered a lot of great landscape, in forests, farm land, horse ranches, and more. Also, the train rides were really direct, into Brieselang was a straight shot from Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof on the regional train, and from the Hennigsdorf Haupbahnhof the S25 departs every 30 minutes, waiting to shoot us right back into the middle of Berlin. I don’t expect many more trails to be so accessible, but this really made it easier to blaze through those 22.5 kilometers.

While researching other 66 Lakes Trail blogs, I noticed after the fact, that there is an abandoned Soviet Airfield somewhere along this trail. I’ll do a better job to find stuff like this before we head out. That would have been awesome to see!

Trail 3 appears to end in a small public park behind a shopping mall, nothing nearly as beautiful as the Schlosspark Marquardt and Schloß Marquardt at the end of the 2nd trail. And Hennigsdorf at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon was a real ghost town, so don’t expect to find a nice cafe or beer garden here. But the train station has a small kiosk so you can grab some beer or other refreshments there.

Here’s some photos of the trail:

From the trail head in Brieselang
From the trail head in Brieselang
The trail offered many, deep in the woods moments like this
The trail offered many, deep in the woods moments like this
Stage 3 of the 66 lakes trail, Breiselang to Hennigsdorf
Also, lots of farm land on this hike

At the edge of the forest IMG_8680 IMG_8683IMG_8685 IMG_8684IMG_8686 IMG_8687

That was it! Some parts of the trail were really windy, but mostly a beautiful day with stretches 3-4km long each where we had the world to ourselves. More soon. Hope you enjoyed the hike as much as we did.

Preparing for and Planning Your Hike

Preparing for and Planning Your Hike

Today’s an exciting hike because it’s overcast and might be raining. We weren’t sure if we’d dare to do the hike considering the weather, but it doesn’t look so bad, at least from the window of our kitchen.

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While getting ready for the hike, I thought I’d write about just that; how to get ready for your hike. It’s become a bit of a ritual, and it’s all about planning so you can enjoy the hike from beginning to end! There’s nothing super complicated to work out, but once you’ve left for the hike, you don’t want to turn around, so it’s important to go through a check list. Also even though hiking isn’t meant to be stressful, or full of risks, some thought and planning ahead of time helps you make the most of it. I suggest to figure out details such as where the trail starts, where it ends, how long the hike could take, and what the terrain will be like (lakes, forests, lots of suburb). This gives you an idea when to ride the train to the trail head, when to expect to ride a train home, if there is time to hang out during or at the end of the hike and catch a later train, etc.

So, assuming you have a mobile phone, and a good backpack here’s my preparation recommendations.

1. Choose your trail: I still rely on Wander Kompass.  To see the distance, expected time, and start and end points.

2. Get an overview: I like to checkout the trail geography in more detail with Google Maps

3. Find the train schedule for the start and also the end of your hike with bahn.de

4. Make sure you have enough day light! TimeandDate.com is a good site for this. Assume you don’t want to be finishing in the dark, try to end the hike 30-45 minutes before sunset.

5. Pack a lunch! Probably my favorite part, figure out what you’ll eat along the way and pack a bag!

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In addition to some food, I think snacks like nuts and dried fruit, a candy bar, and water all make good consumables. Also don’t forget your camera and a book to read on the train to and from your trail head!

6. Lastly, make screenshots of the hike. Since your phone may not have service through the entire hike, I suggest to load the entire map as plotted on WanderKompass.de and make screen shots of the hike from an zoom level that allows you to see details like, turns in the trail, street names, bridges and other milestones. Here are the screenshots I made for the hike today:

Start of 3rd stage hike from Brieselang, 66 Lakes Trail
Start of 3rd stage hike from Brieselang
2nd step of of 3rd stage
2nd step of of 3rd stage
3rd Step
3rd Step
4th Step
4th Step
5th Step
5th Step
6th Step
6th Step
7th Step
7th Step
8th Step
8th Step
9th Step
9th Step
10th and final step
10th and final step

So that’s it! If you have any suggestions let me know by sending an email or writing a comment.