silva nigra

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This post is about a 19km walk from Waldhausen to Friedenweiler. I suddenly find myself in the High Black Forest.

I woke up next to an old mill. It had a silo that looked a bit like a guard tower. It had been a very good night, cool and refreshing in my tent under a night sky sparkling with stars.


The owners of the mill lived just across the street from it. When I went to the back of their house to retrieve my power bank from the charger, I found a tray with bread, butter, cheese, tomatoes, grapes, jam, coffee, and milk. There was a note that said: PLEASE HELP YOURSELF. GODSPEED!

the way up

The road went up, up, up all day. And it was warm. The sweat ran down from my eyebrows and stung my eyes. I tried to wipe it off with the sleeve of my shirt. It didn’t help much.

One time I reached a lake and decided to take the short way around it, but when I was about halfway I got to a steep set of stairs. For a moment I thought about offloading the Caboose and taking her down the stairs, but then I just shrugged and turned around.

I took a forest path for the rest of the way. It was a bit harder to walk than the road, but it was quiet, and the trees sheltered it from the sun.

in the black

And then, when I reached a village called Eisenbach, I saw a street sign and realized that I was in the High Black Forest. It was at about 1000m altitude, so the “high” part was understandable. Why was it called “black”, though?

I decided to ask a lady on the street.

“Well, I guess it’s because of all the fir trees,” she said, “they make the forest look rather dark. Didn’t you notice?”

When I said yes, it did indeed seem to be pretty dark in the forest she got an excited look on her face: “Even the Romans,” she said triumphantly, “even the Romans called it silva negra – black forest!”


the walk from Waldhausen to Friedenweiler:

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