Christina/ October 26, 2020/ The daily grind

Ramblers watch out: Today I am going to provide you with a hiking proposal of that special kind. This walk is so amazing that even die-hard fans of the Harz Mountains that have seen it all will simply love it: The „Gründe Runde“ above Wildemann. And whoever wants a refill afterwards can continue at nearbye Lautenthal and take the circular route over there. That is how we did it and we enjoyed every single moment of it.

Where the Wild Man lives
My first encounter with mining town Wildeman was four years ago upon my stamp hunt for the Harzer Wanderkaiserin. The stamp post „Prinzenlaube“ is located high above the village and both, the view during the ascent and the outlook from the mountain hut is marvellous. At that time already I was positive to return one day. Well, it took me four years to do so.

Historical fact in passing: The denomination „Wildemann“ derives from mining: „Wildemann“ was the name of a pit within the Erzgebirge. Miners from that place who worked at Wildemann imported the name.

The symbol of the little Wild Man
We park our car at the spa gardens of Wildemann and walk in direction of the public swimming pool. From there on the path is signposted with the symbol of the little „Wild Man“ within a green circle. We take the „Halbe-Höhen-Weg“ to the Stuffental. Right at the next corner our amazement begins: Wildemann lays before us ebullient in its incredible beauty. Especially the church of Maria-Magdalena is eye-catching dominating the town centre.

We hold on for a while absolutely fascinated by the surrounding. Once again we realize: the good is so close at hand.

Steep, steeper, Prinzenlaube
The steep path up to the Prinzenlaube is really something. We take the Ernst-August-climb and clamber the Badstubenberg. We sweat a lot but it is worth the effort. At the mountain hut we take a break and a swig of water.

The signposting from the arbour is a little bit confusing that’s why we address a fellow wanderer who gives us digital support. We take a right turn, go straight and than again a right turn. After that signposting is available again.

At the Juliaquelle (whoever that girl is) we take another picture and continue to the Hoher Berg. From there we desscent to the former train station of Wildemann. On the way we stop again and again to take more pictures of the enchanting landscape. I get a feeling by now why they call this place „Little Tyrol“.

The alternative: Wild Man holding a water pipe
Back at Wildemann we reach the fire brigade. On a picture on the house wall they turned the Wild Man into a wild firefighter. The icon holds a water pipe in its hand instead of a cudgel. We cross the main road and turn left at the next corner. Via an easy ascent we reach the Gitteldschen Tal. We pass by two stations of the Wildemann Mundartweg (patois), a nice idea to give people an idea about the idiom of the Upper Harz population.

We cross the meadows of the Gallenberg and take a break at the pavilion, the mountain hut on top. Once again we enjoy a breathtaking outlook of the landscape. It is hard to leave this place again, but we have to, another highlight is waiting for us.

At the smokin corner
Leaving the pavilion we follow the Silberkammweg and reach another outlook. And there it is: the smokin corner! No, it is not some kind of a roadhouse located in a red-light district. I can’t even say what is „hot“ about it. However, it has a nice view though.

We move on downstream until we reach the Drei-Jungen-Weg. Wildemann is at sight. We cross the river Innerste and turn right to take the next ascent and finally reach the panoramic path at the Hüttenberg.

No café within eyeshot
Having returned to Wildemann we like to have some coffee. Right at the start I realized that there is not much of choice in town. The only café open offers white plastic seats right at the main street. That is too bad, because the town itself is quite nice. A nice café passionately equipped might allure some tourists.

We decide to move on to Lautenthal which is close to Wildemann. We pass by the mining museum and the „Schnitzelkönig“ until we reach the town centre.

Visiting some dwarfs
We end up at the town centre still looking for a café. It is not that easy. We are lucky though and spot an offer for cake. Well if they have cake there must be coffee as well. We enter the „Zwergenstübchen“, a place full of lawn gnomes – unbelievable. It is love at second sight for us as the feisty landlord requests us right at the entrance to give her our names and address (due to corona regulations). Oh yeah, she runs a tight ship!

Well we enjoy our coffee and cake. Upon paying the bill the landlord talks to us again this time very friendly, giving us a hint where to walk. She recommends the ascent to the Maaßener Gaipel to us. That sounds like a good idea.

Working in a coal-mine
After the break we allow ourselves some more difference in altitude. We pass by the tiniest house of the West Harz and ascent on the Kranichsberg to the Maaßener Gaipel, following the miners nature trail. Je higher we climb the more beautiful the views onto Lautenthal are. Once again a church is the centre of attention: this time the Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche.

At a so called „Dennert-Tanne“ at the roadside we have to swallow hard. We do not only learn about Klaub- und Scheidehäuser but also about the former working conditions. We are informed that mining trainees had to work 12 hours a day plus had school on saturday (and most probably went to church on sunday which means zero days off!). Well what a change for good in the meantime. But hey, what can you do on a day off without TV or social media?

Having reached the tavern Maaßener Gaipel we once again enjoy the panoramic view of Lautenthal. From there we follow the signs of the circular route reaching the Lautenthaler Kunstgraben where we start our descent back to the village.

It was an absolutely fantastic day that I will probably remember for a long time. I will keep the beauty of the landscape in my mind knowing that the next lockdown might just be around the corner.

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