Ramble On

Monday, January 4, 2010

Harz Mountains Hazy Memories

A follow-up to the Mary’s Rock misadventure I posted yesterday. While I was on the trail contemplating whether to go ahead or turn back, I kept thinking of some old cross-country skiing memories. They were almost enough to convince me to go through with it. In the end, it was just too cold to continue onward and upward.

I remembered a compilation of ski trips to the Harz Mountains in Germany. Here’s a shout out to some Facebook friends who’ll remember these – I’m sure just as fondly as I do.

The main one that I kept turning over in my mind was an aggressive cross-country route that four of us took – I think it was John J., Gappy, and Zippy – where we started out at the Torfhaus lodge (check out the link below) and skied down to the border between West and East Germany. While we were down there, a heavy snow started.

We started back up hill, and I have to admit I was worried we might get lost in the snow.
Fortunately, together we were able to find our way back, and despite some tough climbing, we never had to take our skis off on the way up (I do miss those two cross country trips per year, for the record – I think we got pretty good at it). All told, an exciting couple of hours and maybe 8 kilometers. I’m sure we never crossed the border and probably weren’t even close, but it felt dangerous and cool, full of Cold War intrigue.

When I first went on these trips, we started out staying up at the Torfhaus resort. They had a divey little pub in the basement that we tried to empty of Unterberg and Jagrmeister. Here I have to credit the braintrust of Roy, Perry, and Marvin, I think...It was sometimes hard to book the Torfhaus, so we started staying at the Hotel Bergquell down in Altenau.

Fond memories. The website for Altenau, which includes a link to Torfhaus (and a webcam with a view to that old East German signal tower, is: http://www.altenau.de/cms/front_content.php?idcat=12

…now that I’ve written this, I’m thinking gluhwein…anyone?

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