Total distance: 15 km ~. Estimated hiking time: 4.5 hours.
In the middle of a Hitchhiking journey around Europe I managed to make a stop in Berlin with my Hitchhiking partner Zuzanna, and we decided to use the opportunity to make some more progress on the 66 Lakes Trail. Since my legs and feet were not well trained for a long hike I split it up into two parts, and only hiked from Bad Saarow to Storkow, which turned out to be plenty long enough. The entire 11th trail is about 24 km, but getting to the break off point near Storkow and then walking to the Storkow train station added another 2 km. All together I estimate we hiked 15 or more kilometers. Still it was great to get back on the trail.
When I finished in Bad Saarow in February the trees had no leaves, and there was a layer of snow all around. It was quite a treat to arrive at Bahnhof Bad Saarow to see Summer in full action.
Back in the Winter I imagined it to be a beautiful holiday town, I had no idea! The lake is huge, has boat tours, boat rentals, swimming, kayaks, lots of fancy vacation houses around the lake edge there are lots of options: beaches, cafes, resorts, and one very big and upscale looking Saarow Therme (bath house/thermal spa). I’ve imagined Bad Saarow to be a perfect weekend getaway from Berlin. Which I’m sure it is, but it must be a pretty penny.
Our hitchhiking adventure had kept our spending on a quite a budget frame of mind (<30EUR/day), so as I walked around the lake I realized Bad Saarow was probably too pricey to visit and fully enjoy right now, maybe next summer if things go well 😉
Compared to the more quaint low profile gästehauser, and camp ground restaurants I’ve seen in other parts of the 66 Lakes Trail, the holiday rentals and resorts there looked quite fancy.
On the trail, the first two kilometers follow a long a path that goes around the lake, giving plenty of opportunities to sit down and tempt the idea of laying down, relaxing and enjoying the view instead of going on a long hike. 🙂 Needless to say we did keep going.
Soon, the trail veers away from the west side of the lake, and goes into the forest and here once again the virtues of the 66 Lakes Trail come alive; alone in the woods, climbing little hills, hidden fern groves, walking past small houses that seemingly could never be connected to the rest of civilization. The isolation, smells of nature, sounds of the woods, and total calm last for 2-3 kilometers before the trail adopts a small farm road. Don’t worry the only new friends we met here was a flock of sheep. That farm road eventually leads to Großer Kolpin See, which it trail follows about half way around the lake. At different spots on the lake edge, there were some fishermen alone each in their own spot, quietly enjoying the lake to themselves. Sitting on small beaches which have complete privacy from the rest of the lake thanks to a thick tree and grass bush that surrounds the lake’s beaches, it makes fishing look quite lavish.
At one point on the Kolpin lake, we stopped, went skinny dipping, and then laid down in the sun to dry off before eating some nectarines. It was one of my favorite moments from the trail. August, warm sunny day, swimming on one of the lakes of the 66 Lakes Trail. Perfect 🙂
After the Großer Kolpin See, the trail goes through the town of Kolpin itself, and by the Kleiner Kolpin See, which is where I snapped this photo of a goose who sadly seems to have broken a wing. He was quiet charming to look at until we realized he was hurt. We hope he got some help.
From Kolpin the train heads east a bit and then makes a turn directly south towards Reichenwalde. For nearly 3 kilometers the trail uses a farm road which is so straight sometimes it feels like you can see the whole thing end to end.
At one point along the farm road we passed a sunflower field, the sunflowers all had their seeds intact, but were clearly left to die. I don’t know much about farming, so it was quite ominous. Just a couple weeks earlier we were flying through the fields of Italy, France and Southwest Germany seeing all the sunflower plants proudly facing the sun making a very healthy color scheme of green and yellow. This looked different.
After hitting Reichenwalde and quickly turning off into the fields, before reaching Storkow, the trail gave us a nice farewell with a stroll through a nice shady forests. The forest bed was a mixture of grass and small light bushes. The branchless trees, exposing long bare tree trunks, combined with the soft green forest floor, and the occasional path of sunlight made looked so soft and soothing, it was hard to stay on the path and not go find a place to lay down for a nap. Another treat of the forest, and the time of year, the black berries are finally ripe! So many bushes I’ve seen on this trail clearly weeks or even months from producing a good berry, we picked a few handfulls and then kept going.
A couple kilometers of the forest, and we were soon on a road leading to Storkow. For a brief moment the trail passes Storkower See. I can’t wait to follow the trail the rest of the way down the lake side to Wendisch-Rietz where the 11th trail ends and the 12th begins.
Anyhow, that was it for this 1/2 trail post. For anyone looking to split the trail up as we did, I can say it was a good way to reduce the distance. But don’t wing it with knowing where the train station will be, or when the trains come. In my relaxed hitchhiker mindset, we not only found ourselves needed train tickets, but some cash, and food. When there weren’t cash machines, or ticket machines, or food, anywhere near the train station which was nearly 2 km from the place we left the trail.
I hope I get in one more hike in September, while the weather is still great. Looking at my winter photos, I am already missing the warm weather.