G3VGR QUERWEG          Conclusion      

The Querweg was an interesting trail to walk due to the diversity of landscape in the Schwarzwald, Hegau and Bodanrück. It was also a quite demanding long-distance trail, especially from Freiburg to Achdorf. Planning and organizing the accommodation wasn't difficult despite there being no dedicated website for the Querweg to help in this respect. Accommodation costs varied. The Schwarzwald and Hegau were reasonable, but I found the Bodanrück to be quite expensive in comparison. Accommodation in the lakeside towns of Radolzell and Allensbach is expensive, but they are nicer places to stay than the small villages in the centre of the Bodanrück. Eating out costs are very reasonable, as they mostly are anywhere in Germany. The signposting was excellent, negating the need to carry large-scale maps. The trail is maintained in top condition. I did intend visiting the Schwarzwaldverein office in Freiburg prior to the walk, but it didn't open before 10AM on a Tuesday and I didn't want to wait around. Of course, had I waited, no doubt I would have been informed of the Marienschlucht closure.

One of the few hazards in the Schwarzwald is tick bites, which can transmit Lyme's Disease or Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE), either of which are quite nasty. To avoid having ticks attaching themselves, I had doused my hiking trousers, shorts, shirt, socks, gaiters and boots with Permethrin before my trip. Each morning, I treated exposed skin on my arms and legs with DEET prior to the days walk. I had considered a course of TBE vaccinations prior to the trip, but concluded the chemical deterrents should be sufficient protection. Whilst walking, I tried to avoid long grass and undergrowth, especially in damp areas such as the Wutachschlucht and every evening I examined my body for any ticks. I experienced no problems whatsoever.


The Stages
On my Schluchtensteig blog, I did express doubts about the Querweg with "Although the Querweg crosses a very scenic part of the Southern Black Forest, I was not convinced the long section through Hegau to Konstanz would be so interesting, as much of the landscape is flat, following farm paths past cultivated fields". This was, in part, a reasonably accurate supposition. The stages through the Schwarzwald were excellent, with the only exception being the latter half of the first stage. I'm sure there must be a better way to Buchenbach that avoids the dull, tarmac surfaced walk from Ebnet. The exclusion of the Ravennaschlucht on the second stage seems to be a major omission and I would definitely recommend the diversion I took. I would also recommend the detour through the Wutachfluhe and accompanying Sauschwänzlebahn ride. The Wutachschlucht is the real gem in this part of the walk. If extra time is available, it would be very worthwhile spending a few days in the the area, basing oneself probably at Bonndorf and exploring some of the beautiful side canyons of the Wutachschlucht.

Despite the poor weather, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my walk through the Hegau. Perhaps it was a result of experiencing wide-open spaces after the claustrophobic environment of the Schwarzwald forests. Or perhaps the historical associations of the Alter Postweg and ruined castles along the way. The walking was not strenuous, although walking over the summits of all the cones between Engen and Singen is acknowledged to be a tough and long day's walk. Engen was a beautiful town, but as I was there on a Sunday, little was open. I would have liked to have been there on a different day.

The last stages through the Bodanrück are in total, less than impressive. To me, the trail between Hohentwiel and Möggingen seemed just a big waste of time, being mainly miles of dull tarmac roads. Matters improved from Möggingen to Konstanz, despite the Marienschlucht being closed. Of course, much development will have occured since the Querweg was laid out over 80 years ago, but one would have hoped some sensible re-routing had taken place to compensate for the march of progress. I wouldn't recommend walking the complete Querweg in its current format. My preference would be to end the walk at Hohentwiel, take public transport from Singen to Bodman and continue from there on the Seegang to Konstanz.

Equipment
Nothing much had changed since my Saar-Hunsrück-Steig walk of last year. I decided to wear only shorts along the Querweg, so invested in a pair of Rab Scree Gaiters to keep debris out of my boots. These worked well, although I found the bootlace clips to be fiddly to undo and the non-adjustable top of the gaiters a little too tight on my ankles for comfort. I took two pairs of insoles with me and wore Superfeet Green insoles during the Schwarzwald stages. These give good support and control, but my feet appreciated the softer Sorbothane insoles for tramping along the hard roads of the Hegau and Bodenrück. Again, I found the offline maps from OutdoorActive to be invaluable. I used the maps with the Deuter App. These were of great help when bushwhacking and also finding my way out of Engen back to the trail. My pack seemed quite heavy on this trip, possibly due to the food I carried and heavier evening footwear than usual. I did consider taking a poncho instead of my normal waterproofs to save weight, but decided not to because a 9 day hike wasn't the best occasion to test out this option. Ideally, I would like to reduce the base weight to around 5 Kilos for my next walk, the Soonwaldsteig in September 2015.
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