G3VGR RHEINSTEIG     Kaub - Lorch      

Early Sunday morning, I packed up my tent, drove to Lorch, parked the car and caught the 07:54 train to Kaub, which now showed more signs of life than the previous afternoon. This was provided by spotting 3 hikers who were looking for the start of the Rheinsteig. I also found a bakery open which served coffee and fresh croissants for breakfast. The trail started with a very steep ascent out of the town up through the vineyards past Burg Gutenfels, with superb views down the river. Having barely caught my breath, there followed a steep descent/ascent of the Volkenbachtal, then more of the same with the Schenkelbachtal. This section of the trail seemed harder than the previous day, although I was making good progress. I did recall that the Rheinsteiger I'd met at Easter time in Osterspai had mentioned this was a tough section of the Rheinsteig - "auf und nieder, immer wieder". The trail levelled out for a while as it followed along the cliff tops through some beautiful forest.

From here, the trail ran down into the beautiful Niedertal valley and passed through a wooden gateway which proudly announced itself as "Gateway to the Rheingau". I had now crossed from Rheinland-Pfalz into Hessen, the last of the three Länder on the Rheinsteig. The trail now ran through many vineyards and I saw quite a few hikers with children and dogs, many of whom looked distastefully at my tramp's outfit. It seems everyone was enjoying the Sunday morning, although it had become quite overcast and was threatening to rain. Across the river could be seen the famous wine town of Bacharach. Although I'd remarked earlier that I'd been up and down the Rhein many times, looking at it from the heights gives one quite a different impression and it looks more beautiful from this elevated perspective. Earlier in the morning, I seemed to have lost some motivation about completing the Rheinsteig, but by now, I was as keen as ever.

The descent to Lorch was most impressive. Passing the ruins of Burg Nollig, there following the steepest, roughest descent I'd experienced so far. Whilst picking my way gingerly through the loose shale, I could hear the sounds of a brass band playing in the town. I arrived in Lorch at midday and drove back to the Hook of Holland after stopping for lunch, as usual at Ahrweiler. Unfortunately, the A61 hadn't finished punishing me. The traffic was at a total standstill in the roadworks near the junction of the A61 and A1. After sitting in the traffic jam for over an hour with no end in sight, I managed to leave the A61 near Brühl and made a cross-country detour via Düren to the A4 near Aachen to get to the ferry on time. Fortunately, I know the area well from all the weekends I've spent hiking in the Eifel, so it was an easy detour.

Burg Gutenfels, Kaub

View downstream to Kaub

Bacharach view from Aussicht Wirbellay

Gateway to the Rheingau

Clemenskapelle, Retzbachtal

View upstream to Lorch

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