Day 9: And then we went up... July 9
Ilsenburg to Walkenried 30 miles
Today was Hard!!!! We gained over 1200 feet in first 4 miles of the day. Holy Moly!
We had to walk the bikes at points but we just took lots of breaks as we climbed and climbed and climbed. Today was cool, so cool we needed jackets and long pants. The temperature made the climbs bearable, but only just. The beautiful scenery up in the Harz mountains also helped the long haul up into the mountains. Deciduous trees gave way to spruce and conifer as we gained elevation. Super pink hollyhocks were stunning in the high meadows. We also were expecting a regular town bus route going right up into forest... Literally we could have taken the bus up our route...weird...Then like an oasis, a cafe appeared high in the mountains. We had a coffee at a national park visitor centre on the way back down one of the few climbs of the day. We went through Drei Annen Hohne which we passed through on the train yesterday and then continued down to Elend, then of course had to climb back out of town before dropping down towards Sorge. On the way out of Elend, we saw a caravan being towed by a vintage tractor....Top Gear's ultimate nightmare!!! Turns out they were at our campground when we arrived... Too funny...From Sorge, the bike route climbs up ( and up) again along the old patrol road. We had to pass on this route, so we took the old road along side a beautiful stream and what felt like a primeval forest... Good choice! But The trail still went up but more gently than before.
Did you know that rail road crossings take forever in Germany? We literally saw a woman walk her dog whilst waiting for a train to pass.
We reached the town of Hohegeiß which was JUST in west Germany then we hit a majorly long downhill through Zorge to Unterzorge. This downhill was about 5km long and steep!!! Andrea's hat blew back off her head ( thankfully caught by her big bun). After losing all 1200 feet of elevation, we caught a tailwind into Ellrich which had us coasting at 20 mph!!! Sweet. Spectacular last 10km to a tough tough day. Lucky it wasn't hot today and at times it was pretty chilly in the high meadows out of the sun. We found a campground on the outskirts of Walkenried, napped through the afternoon rain showers, walked to the grocery store, and made a wonderful dinner cooked on our stove, took showers and then to bed to rest for another day... Phew!
The World is Ours!