Christina/ September 20, 2020/ The daily grind

This Corona summer Germany definitely turned into a sports nation. Both, in the city and at the country side bicyclers as far as the eye can see. In the Harz mountains hiking is the number one past time of the German tripper. I rarely saw the parking site for hikers at Ilsenburg that packed as last sunday. Also the way to the Brocken, the so called Heinrich-Heine-Weg, is quite frequented. Last time I have been here it was a totally different experience. Fact is roving is not only the miller’s delight anymore.

Let’s go to the wild Ilse
I don’t have to mention it anymore, the weather is just perfect again. It is quite cool in the morning but the air gets heated up quite fast during the day and the sun makes a wonderful play of colours both, in the forest and on the water. We are at the “wild Ilse” (a river). The trail starts at the parking site for hikers called “Blochhauer” and leads to the wild Ilse after a while the beautiful river of the namesake valley. About 50 % of the Heinrich-Heine-trail are passing through a wildromantic landscape, accompanied by the constant noise of the Ilse. That makes this ascent to the Brocken special.

Behind the Ilsefälle (cascade) the separation of the wheat from the chaff takes place: not every hiker proceeds to the Brocken. We follow the Hermannsweg, passing by the Hermannsklippe (cliffs) and than up to the stone path. The final 2,5 kilometres onto the Brocken are always the hardest one, not because of the ascent but of the monotonous trail of concrete.

Dense crowding on the Brocken
We had suspected it: the Brocken is packed. The visitors are coming from all directions: from Ilsenburg, from Bad Harzburg, with the narrow-gauge railway. We take a short spin and look for a quite place to picnic. We find a nice place underneath the highest height in the Harz Mountains. After the break and a sun bath we set off for our way home. From the stone path we discover the beautiful view onto the Eckerstausee. We once again pass by the Hermannsklippen, descent on the Hermannsweg and reach the river Ilse again.

Red carpet from pins
Looking on the ground we realize that the soil is covered by pins coming from the dead trees around. The pins are on the ground, on the river and on the stones. On the water the densed aggregation of pins looks like a oil slick. On the stones the pins look selectively like icing sugar or red sweet pepper, depending on solar irridation. We see a lot of dead trees this day, many trees. I wonder what the future will look like with this forest decline. We cannot fortell the future and hope for the best, just like Heinrich Heine might have done it: “Yes, I say it clearly, our descendants will be more beautiful and happier than us.”