G3VGR SCHLUCHTENSTEIG      Stühlingen - Blumberg      

Unusually, the BA flight from Heathrow wasn't late as is my usual experience and I arrived at Basel airport shortly after 11AM on Friday 4th May 2012. A few transport changes are required to get to Stühlingen.  This involved the Airport bus to Basel SBB train station and a short train ride to Basel Bad station just across the Swiss/German border. From here, another train took me to Lauchringen, then the 7338 bus to Stühlingen and I checked in to the Gasthof-Hotel Krone around 2:30PM. The weather was hot and sunny and I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the neighbourhood. Stuhlingen is located next to Switzerland with the River Wutach forming the frontier.

The next morning, it was raining steadily when I started out on the trail. After leaving the town, the trail followed along the bank of the Wutach river until reaching a small railway station at Weizen. This station is the southern end stop for the Sauschwänzlebahn. Being Saturday, the vintage steam train runs twice a day between here and Blumberg. I never saw the train but did hear it in the distance a few times. The line to Blumfeld has many curves and includes a circular tunnel to reduce the gradient in its' 250m climb. Consequently, the track takes 26.5Km to travel a distance of 9.5Km, which is why it is named Sauschwänzlebahn (pig's tail line). From the station, a path led up into the woods and some red/black diamond signs showed the trail was now shared with the Ostweg, a long-distance (238Km) trail from Pforzheim to Schaffhausen. All the forest in this area is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees and the bright green spring foliage of the deciduous trees contrast well against the dark foliage and straight trunks of the pines. The constant rain contributed to the wonderful display of colour. The trail was quite muddy and slippery in places, but I made good progress until exiting the woods at the railway station of Lausheim Blumegg. Following down a short path from this station, I arrived at the Wutachbrücke, an impressive viaduct over the river.

After crossing a bridge over the Wutach, the trail ascended steeply over rough rocky ground to start the section known as the Wutachflühen, a narrow tortuous path along the cliff face of the high gorge through which the Wutach flowed. The scenery along the trail was really enjoyable, with many plants in bloom. many of the rocks and fallen trees covered in bright green moss and occasional interesting fungus growths on trees. The scenery was complemented by the constant sounds of bird song and of the river raging along its' course far below me. Eventually, I reached a fork in the trail and I was tempted to take the left fork down the gorge to Achdorf, today's final destination. Instead, I continued on the Schluchtensteig, which I now consider to be a mistake. The path soon reached the top of the gorge and I found myself in a large car park at Bühl. From here, I tramped along some tarmac roads, then along the edges of farm fields with views across to more farmed land. It was also exposed here, so I no longer had any protection from the rain and wind. Walking on, I reached the protection of another wood which brought me up to a lookout point at Buchberg, but there was little to enjoy from here with the current weather.

I made my way down to the dreary town of Blumberg. The town was already completely dead at 3PM on a Saturday afternoon and I formed the impression it had been in this state for a long time. Even though it had now stopped raining, a dry Blumberg did nothing for me. Luckily, I found an ice cream parlour open, which served a nice banana split. After packing away my waterproofs, I headed out of town towards the Schleifenbach waterfall. This wasn't too impressive either, but as I walked up towards the back road to Achdorf, the sun came out and it looked like I was about to get the perfect end to the day. Around 5PM, I reached the picturesque village of Achdorf and congratulated myself on choosing to stay there instead of Blumberg for the night. I checked into the Gasthof-Pension Scheffelinde, a country inn of character, over 450 years old and was able to enjoy dinner outdoors on the terrace in the evening sun.

Start of the Schluchtensteig
The Wutach at Stuhlingen

Along the Wutach towards Weizen

Along the trail from Weizen


River Wutach

Along the Wutachflühen

Along the Wutachflühen

Large funghii grows here

Schleifenbach waterfall

Fields near Bühl

Highlight of my visit to Blumberg

Hotel Scheffelinde, Achdorf

Querweg Anniversary marker at Achdorf

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