Tuesday, February 25, 2014

German Trails and Urban Society

This is one of those odd things that an American would tend to notice after a month or two in Germany....that you could step outside your urban house.....walk ten minutes, and find yourself at the edge of a "great forest".  And in an hour or two.....be pretty deep into the middle of nowhere....wondering where the heck they are, and hoping nothing bad occurs.

This week, a nice bit came out in the local news here in Wiesbaden.  About thirty minutes driving west of Wiesbaden....is Wambach.  It's a small village of sorts....deep in the hills, with two or three roads leading into it.....but totally surrounded by national and state forests.  This gal....married....put on her hiking shoes and went walking on the 18th of February.  She hasn't been seen since.  Her husband.....out of the country on a sales trip.....got back....several days later, and has reported her missing.

She eventually was a hiker, and had some minor health issue.  Beyond that....there's nothing much else to go on.  The direction she took off?  Unknown.  No cellphone on her.

You can figure a six-by-six mile area to the west of town....all woods and trails.  She would have run into Rhein River if she'd head west or south.  Heading north....more roads, but just as much woods.

With the temperature around freezing for the past week.....I kinda doubt that she's survived at this point.

The problem is....you come up on nice trails, where you might bump into a dozen people every hour or two.  Then you get this frisky idea....take the rarely used and more adventuresome trails.....which tend to be next to cliffs or drop-offs.  If you stepped around the corner, and didn't pay attention....you could drop thirty feet easily on most of these.

You don't think about things like this.  Living in a built-up urban area.....lots of traffic and roads......society in every direction.  Then.....an hour later....you might be on some trail rarely used and find yourself laying at the bottom of some cliff....hoping someone might come along.

In some ways, it's great to just skip worrying about snakes, bears, and wild dogs....as an American in Germany.  Yet, one has to have some appreciation of a good map, a compass, and a cellphone. I'm kinda hoping this gal will be found, but seven days into this....I have my doubts.

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