From the time that I started hiking on the 66 Lakes Trail, I assumed it was a limited affair. At some point I’d reach the end, hiked all the sections, and then move on. My mind wandered to regions on Poland, Austria, and Czech. I assumed I would go other places to hike. And to be sure, I have. But what is surprising is that I continue to go back to the Brandenburg trails often. Usually not to do the entire section, but typically I’ll head out with Zuza, or in a small group of friends, and we’ll hike from one bus stop to a train station, normally we fit in 6-12 kilometers, and we’ll be sure to find a restaurant somewhere to stop. The fact that it’s so convenient, to just grab a train, ride out to the woods, and within 1 hour be far away from the city, is a heavy bit of the gravity that keeps me in Berlin. No cars, no compromises with parks. Just a train ride and we’re there.
Before that, in October, on what was probably the last warm day of the year a group of 7 hikers in all – the biggest yet – we hopped a bus up to Biesenthal and walked a section of the 5th trail backwards through Hellsee, the stunning and ever popular Liepnitzsee in Lanke, to Wandlitz. It was a perfect hike. With many opportunities to stop and sit at the lake, go for a swim. Grab a fish at the Fischhutte in Lanke, or just gaze up at the Beech trees and let the mind wander.
I used to save trips to the 66 Lakes Trail in my mind for long dedicated weekends. It was a huge deal and I planned around it, emphasizing how early I’d need to wake up to make it happen. Now that it’s not about doing a whole leg, or making progress from trails 1 through 17, it’s much easier to enjoy and fit in casually. I recommend to anyone seeking an afternoon in the forest, who just wants to have a couple hours on the train roundtrip, and an hour or two in the forest isolated from the world. Pick a section, ride to the trail head and make a loop of it. Or write to me (I reply), and I’ll tell you the easiest ones to do in an afternoon.