Tour 7: Leuenberg to Strausberg
It was once and for all time to do tour 7. I was determined as were Iris and Daniel, who had both previously been on the trail with me. We endured the nearly 2 hour long train and bus ride with several other hikers, almost all of whom got off with us in Leuenberg. We ended up meeting many of them on the trail throughout the day.
This section of trail is nicknamed the Lake Chain in Gamengrund and is rated 5 stars – neither accolade disappoints. We spent a good 6 kilometers directly out of Leuenberg walking in the glacier-formed trench making up the lake chain, including Long Lake, Middle Lake, and Gamen Lake. Each one is between one and two kilometers long and skinny, skinny! Then we spent a long time along a wooded path before coming to a marshy area. We walked along a ridge above the marsh with the Paradise Lake and Cauldron Lake barely in view below.
In no time we were at the Straussee trying to find the ferry across. Although it was a fine May day, no ferry was running. We hiked the shore’s edge until we reached town and stopped at a beer garden to enjoy the sunset over the lake. My favorite legs of the 66-Lakes-Trail are where I can see the water for most of the time and this tour absolutely had that. Even with the long commute there, I would do this trail again without hesitation in the future.
Tour 2 and 3 – Marquardt to Brieselang to Hennigsdorf
These two trails I completed on my own in a weekend, but I didn’t camp in between. They were close enough to Berlin that it wasn’t utter nonsense to come home for the night. I had skipped 2 and 3 in the fall because the guide book suggested they would be best done in the spring time. All of the bright yellow rapeseed fields in full bloom confirmed this suggestion. Although the tours are one after the other, they couldn’t have been more different.
Tour two was ugly, ugly, ugly! The highway is always within earshot and it rained on me. The rain doesn’t usually bother me, but coupled with the awful cacophony of cars made the tour unenjoyable. When the trail isn’t next to the highway it was along the railroad or the Havel Canal. I typically like the canals, but it felt more industrial than natural. I went through a spooky, abandoned-looking old train station that even had a human skeleton strapped to the telephone pole!
Some other interesting parts of this tour though included a variety of wildlife – frogs, deer, and snails. A ton of frogs were croaking so loudly in the creeks that it sounded like laughter. This leg of the trail was the first time I saw deer – 4 to be exact. Maybe it was because there were a lot of open fields (not uncommon in Brandenburg) or because it was drizzling the whole time that they thought they’d have the meadow all to themselves! The snails were out in such an abundance that I felt like I was sure to be a murderer even though I tried to avoid as many as I could.
What a difference a day makes! Sunday the sun was shining and the weather was fabulous for hiking. I’m not sure why this tour is rated so low at just 3 stars, because I really liked it. When I got off the train in Brieselang, I meandered through the village’s grid of streets which eventually back up against the forest. Although I followed the path on the edge of the forest and town for a while, it was dense with trees and quiet. After the town, I crossed the canal and followed it though bright yellow fields for several kilometers before passing under the train tracks.
Back in the woods, which were wonderfully green in the height of spring, it wasn’t long before I reached Schönwalde, literally meaning beautiful forests. It was a few houses and a TON of horses.
Just before I got to Hennigsdorf to catch the train I came upon one snake and then another. The first was dark brown and the second was light brown. I’m not sure who was more surprised by who, but seeing them made me jump at every stick on the path for the next 2 kilometers until I reached Hennigsdorf. The town was much bigger than I had remembered from starting here for tour 4 in the fall. It seems that most of the town lies to the west of the train station and we had hiked east that day.
Looking back on this trail, I can see that it wasn’t THE BEST EVER but it was pretty great, especially compared to the tour before it. I can imagine that it wouldn’t be great in other seasons, but I would totally hike it again in the spring time!