Spring tour in the Bavarian Forest: Multiday for hardy people
Fortunately, it is only sleet. Sleet is almost dry and good humor is one of the best bulwarks against rough weather. After more than two weeks of uninterrupted March sun, Bavarian Canada in April 2022 gives us rather the feeling of Bavarian Siberia. But the perfect wave and a proper packraft adventure is calling us.
Like Hunsrückbut harder. The tour at the Bavarian Forest is sporty and offers a challenging contrast program. The probability of being washed with all weathers here at the beginning of April is high, the soft couch at home is far away and the stages are quite challenging. Those who take this on with packraft are happy to play with their comfort limits. The mountain ranges of the Bavarian Forest still wear their winter coat in spring. There is snow above 900 meters.
"Those who take this on with Packraft like to play with their comfort level."
At Land Water Adventures Susanne is a guide for whitewater and expedition style, tour developer for unusual locations, contact person for nature conservation, expert for environment and wilderness, likeable, walking nature encyclopedia and does not get out of the tent without coffee.
More information about Susanne here.
But that's exactly when it exists. The perfect level. The perfect level for wonderfully unobstructed whitewater I-III. A real Bavarian delicacy, which makes paddlers' hearts beat faster and which we enjoy spread over several days. After extensive rainfall or when the snow melts, waves swing over the obstructions in the natural streambed. For a few days a year, a paddleable low mountain stream emerges, as pristine as it is rare to find in Germany. A scenic gem on the border of one of the largest forest areas in Central Europe: the neighboring Bavarian Forest and Šumava National Parks.
An entry into changeable conditions
Also in 2022 a very fit and sociable group has come together for our Multiday Advanced Bavarian Forest Tour. After paddling together on the day of arrival, it doesn't take long before the campfire is crackling away. Those who do not yet know each other quickly become friendly. The legend of the last European giant suppository is born, which will continue to enrich us with hearty laughter for the next few days. And good humor is what we need on a weekend that will hold many a rough April Fool's joke in store for us. The sun is already shining strongly, but the high in the southwest is still too weak-tempered to push away the low that hangs stubbornly to the northeast of us. We're stuck right between the weather patterns, and thus in the very best April weather. The temptingly high sunshine duration for the last day shortens to zero at the start of the tour, even with the optimistic weather forecast. For Friday evening, however, pronounced precipitation is expected. At least we can look forward to a stable water level. There are two sides to everything.
With surprisingly good weather, we start the tour in the snow again this year. With the best distant view of the surrounding peaks, we make our way to the German-Czech border area. This is where our spring river originates. Neatly gnawed chopsticks lie in the streambed at the entrance and on the bank more than one tree bears a telling waist. We are in beaver county. The otter also lives here and places its droppings on the bridges. We have not yet discovered wolf tracks, although it is increasingly likely that we will cross their paths. The transboundary forest area of the national parks is now home to five packs.
The first waves of a barely predictable wild river
During the lunch break the sky closes in and we quickly pull out the paddles. The time has come! Ahead of us lie nine percent gradients and a magnificent river landscape. A meandering course first with enchanted meadow loops, then with extensive swells, playgrounds and tricky lines. Fortunately, there aren't quite as many trees lying across as there were in 2019 after the violent winter storm, but a challenging tree-stone combination does trigger a pileup just before the exit. It's situations like this that require intensive preparation and local knowledge. Trees can unexpectedly lie across, the water level can be too low or suddenly reach the melt water peak. We are on a wild river that can hardly be planned. What can be planned, however, is the hot shower in the evening, which is waiting just a stone's throw from the shore. This evening it remains with the attempt to put up the tent after Swabian method "on the tub", thus high, dry and sunny. Today there is only wet and not so wet. Twine pulls from heavy, dark gray clouds and we take refuge from the persistent precipitation in the restaurant, which has recently opened in the small town. Until the "throw out" we warm ourselves, instead of the campfire, on Flädlesuppe, Kaiserschmarrn and the last mulled wine of the winter.
Out of the warm springs and into the drysuit! What has dried overnight stays dry. But the rain has given way to a penetrating cold. Even a round of early morning exercise can't quite chase it out of our bones. A few snowflakes tumble out of the low-hanging clouds. This early in the morning is one of those moments on tour when you realize why you voluntarily expose yourself to such adversity. Three years earlier it was also cold, but at least sunny. A world of difference for morale. Now the only thing that helps is to be able to reach deep into one's personal fund of experience. All the greater is my respect that everyone, without big words, grits their teeth and gets out on the water. That's Multiday Advanced!
"The rain-swollen water level sidles us through wonderfully splashy surges, lures us emphatically sometimes into one, sometimes into the other sweeping water, banishes our thoughts in a rushing manner. There is only the river and us."
After the first meters of river, the cold is written all over our faces. The tips of our noses are red, our smiles are frozen, and our fingers are clammy. But the rain-swollen water level guides us through wonderfully splashing rapids, lures us emphatically sometimes into one, sometimes into the other sweeping water, and banishes our thoughts with a rushing sound. There is only the river and us. And there is only one task: to find the best line. And there it is, again and again, behind every new bend in the river. A paddle stroke here, a paddle stroke there and we steer our way through the varied course of the river. It gets warm in between when it's time to say "Tree across - get out of the water!". Then the packraft is shouldered for the one or other land meter and the feet are moved. A few easier rapids and a panoramic stretch later, we reach the highlight of our second paddling stage.
The river winds through a narrow passage here. Thanks to the precipitation the night before, it's got a lot of power. That makes an impression. For about 300 meters, you'll find some of the finest, blocked whitewater II-III. A trail runs along the route and allows you to look at the individual spots at your leisure or to portage around them. It is up to the paddler to decide whether to paddle or not. The good water level has attracted more paddlers. We talk shop about the best line, then put in below a roller and paddle two river turns individually. The packrafts sink photogenically between the white waves. The good feeling of concentration, the ability to read the river and the joy of having mastered the challenge is written all over the face. Unexpectedly, the sky opens up and bathes our photo session for a moment in the best light.
"Where sunshine accompanied our paddle strokes a moment ago, sleet drums down on us and the scattered equipment as we rebuild."
Where sunshine has just accompanied our paddle strokes, sleet drums down on us and the scattered equipment during the rebuilding. Filled with enriching paddling impressions, however, dry rain bothers us very little. The mood is relaxed and the anticipation of the evening campfire grows.
On the hike to our overnight campsite, we are hit by a spring-like change of weather. Sometimes thick curtains of sleet showers brush us, sometimes we bathe in sunlight. The forest is fragrant and the small forest paths cushion our steps. Where the valley nestles against the mountain and the forest kisses the meadow, we pitch our tents, sheltered between trees. Soon, a large campfire provides comforting warmth. The wind dies down and the evening with our friendly hosts becomes convivial.
Quietly the snow trickles
An unusually subdued silence welcomes us on our last tour morning. We are snowed in! Overnight, a blanket of snow has silently settled over the landscape and our tents. Welcome to the winter wonderland! At a few degrees below zero we knock the snow off our tent walls. From Snow to Flow to Snow. So we're kicking it up a notch this year. "From Snow to Flow" is the atmospheric Videopost, which was created during our first tour. After the joy of the surprisingly white start to the day, the frosty temperatures motivate us to a brisk departure. The sun remains pale above the clouds. The leisurely climb across the open fields, gets a sporty tight note. When it's cold, it's more pleasant to keep moving.
We cross the flank of a forested ridge and descend to our last paddling stage in the neighboring valley. The natural river landscape that awaits us here is affectionately called Bavarian Canada. Once we reach the banks, we immediately get the impression of seclusion. The river makes its unrestrained loops. All around us are forests and isolated farms. In the water there are large boulders that have only just been washed over. On a section of several kilometers, except for a few approaches, it is forbidden to walk on the banks. A paradise for fish, kingfishers and sandpipers. And us, of course. April has saved one last weather joke for the conversion to the packraft. Suddenly, an icy wind whips grains of sleet against us and puts the morale of the group to the test once again. This is no longer a change of scenery, this is a harsh Kneipp cure beyond the comfort limit!
Against all odds, the scenery is only acknowledged with a shrug of the shoulders, rebuilt calmly and delicious lard sandwiches are shared. The positive basic mood of the troupe can no longer be shaken. With a wonderfully splashy forest gorge, which makes the wild paddler's heart beat faster once again, we end our Bavarian Forest tour. Once again, it turned out to be a tour for the hardy. But from the perfect wave to atmospheric landscapes and a great community, everything was there for a packrafting adventure.
Wir freuen uns schon auf nächstes Jahr!
Das Europäische Riesenzäpfen!
Mythos, Legende und Schauergeschichte in einem. Unvergessen und nun doch ausgestorben. :'(
Schöner Bericht, da wird mir direkt wieder kalt und warm! 😉