Under the Zinnkopf

Today should be a snowy day, I mean it’ll snow on and off the whole day. At breakfast we go over the different options: we’d like to walk in the forest again, but have exhausted the local options if we stick to approved routes for winter hiking. We decide to drive to the next valley and hike up towards the Zinnkopf mountain, it’s over 1200 m but we’ll stick to the lower slopes that are less steep.

It’s snowing hard when we leave and the roads have not yet been cleared, so it’s a slow and careful ride to Eisenärzt, where we leave our car by the big road and set off north. We initially walk alongside the road, safe enough on a separate path but not a lot of fun. Once past Schönbeck we expect to switch from asphalt to a packed snow path, but it turns out the info on the online map was incorrect or outdated and we’re looking at a road covered in 30 to 50 cm of snow, with a single line of footsteps in it. This climb is going to require a lot more effort than planned.. A bit further on we deviate from the line of footsteps and follow pristine snow roads upwards. It’s slow going because we have to lift our knees pretty high at each step, fortunately we have the right kind of shoes and clothes to slug our way through without getting snow in our boots.

It’s a beautiful walk because it’s snowing and quiet. We do see a few recent tracks of hikers and a lot of trails left by deer and rabbits (we think), but not another living soul. We can hear the whistle of the train passing by in the valley and a loud rushing of the wind in the trees. We encounter a cleared road when we near the high point of our walk and from then on the average speed increases. It’s easy to walk downhill in ten cm of snow, you can just throw your foot forward and sink it down, any irregularity in the surface beneath is softened. It looks like excellent snow for making a snow man, but we stick with our walk. We’re back at the car around two, pretty tired but happy with the hike.

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