G3VGR SOONWALDSTEIG     Simmerbachtal - Ellerspring      

Gemünden has two baker's shops, so I had no problem buying belegtes brötchen for lunch along the trail. I was glad to leave the hotel, as despite the premises being graded as a "Qualitätsgastgeber" by Wanderbares Deutschland, I had been less than impressed by both the accommodation and overcooked dinner. It was another warm, sunny morning as I made the 2 miles walk back along the zuweg to rejoin the Soonwaldsteig. Whilst walking back along yesterday's route on the trail, I was able to identify the steep upward path to the Koppenstein ruins. There appeared to be a couple of marker signs missing which caused yesterday's issue. I made the short ascent from here to Koppensteiner Höhe, then along to the ruin of Burg Koppenstein After visiting the ruins I continued through a beech forest until reaching a tarmac road. From here onwards, the walking was quite easy, being mainly along well defined gravel roads through the forest with the occasional wide spaces of farm fields which overlooked the village of Henau. Along the trail today, I noticed many Hochsitzen and concluded this area of the Soonwald must be very popular for hunting. In this case, I was certainly relieved to be walking the Soonwaldsteig outside the hunting season, having no high-visibility items of clothing with me. The trail descended into the Asbachtal, crossed the stream over a wooden bridge and ascended through the forest until reaching a tarmac road. I followed the road for a few hundred metres before turning left into a very large farm field. Exiting the field into the forest, the trail now took me uphill through a dense beech forest. This was a most enjoyable walk, watching the moving patterns of the sunlight filtered through the canopy onto the path of dead leaves. I was passed by a lone mountain biker, the only person I was to see on the trail today. When I reached the summit, the stone tower "Aussichtsturm Alteburg" was almost completely hidden by the trees. A few benches and a firepit have been provided next to the tower and it is very still and peaceful here. This made it the perfect venue for a lunch break and I relaxed here for a while. After lunch, I climbed the tower to enjoy the panoramic views. Unfortunately, I seemed to be a few years too late, because the surrounding trees had grown sufficiently to mask out much of the view.

The walk down from Alteburg was impressive, as the trail wound its way down through more beech forest. My pleasant downhill walk continued until I hit a long straight, flat forestry road which ran through a forest of mainly beech and spruce, interspersed with many raspberry bushes This road went on for a couple of miles, straight and flat all the way. Just as it was becoming incredibly boring, the trail turned sharply left, joining the Sponheimer Weg, a historical theme trail, into dense dark forest belonging to the Naturschutzgebiet Eschen. There were some large specimen trees along the path through the nature reserve and I also passed some fenced off areas which protect the various rare orchids which grow underneath the ancient trees. I exited the forest at the 'Runden Tanne', a round fir tree with benches around it. This seemed to be a junction point for various trails. Ten minutes later, I reached the hikers' car park at Ellerspring, on the L108 road. The car park is the end of this stage, however I was 8.5Km from Tiefenbach, the nearest village to the trail. I called the nearest (in Simmern) taxi company, but they estimated a minimum 3 hour wait. As it was only 3PM, I decided to walk to Tiefenbach along the L108 road. The afternoon was hot, so this was an exhausting walk along the tarmac road, with some large uphill stretches. Two hours later, I was relieved to arrive at the Pension Sonnwaldschänke. It was noticeable that Tiefenbach had no shops at all. This seems to be common in the small Hunsrück villages. It was fortuitous that I managed to have lunch today, because the village's only restaurant was closed. I was very tired and suffering a little from heat exhaustion, so I went to bed at 7:30PM and slept through until the alarm woke me at 7AM the next morning.

Burg Gemünden
Path to Koppenheimer Höhe
Burg Koppenheim
Burg Koppenheim
A Hochsitz in the Soonwald
Bridge over Asbach
View west from meadow near Schweinsgrube
Alteburg Tower, hidden amongst the trees
Southwest view from Alteburg Tower
The trail continuing from Alteburg
Long, straight trek towards Ellerspring
Mushroom in Naturschutzgebiet Eschen
Lone beech
Runden Tanne

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