Saturday, May 23, 2015

A walk in the treetops...

Since it's Memorial Day weekend and we didn't go anywhere, we decided that today would be a good day for a field trip.  Not long ago, someone in the local Facebook group posted about her visit to the Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald, a treetop walk and nature park not far from where Bill and I are currently living.  I was immediately intrigued by the enchanting forest photos and the sturdy German engineering that went into the treetop walk.  I saved the Web site link so I could pitch it to Bill on a nice day when we needed something fun to do.  According to the park's Web site, the treetop walk is newly constructed as of September 2014.  It definitely looks it when you get there-- lots of tree stumps that look very freshly cut and new smelling wood.

We had beautiful weather this morning and Bill didn't have too much school work to do, so we decided to go to Bad Wildbad, the pretty town where the treetop walk is located.  From Unterjettingen, the drive takes about an hour.  Today, there was some construction going on and we had to take a detour through Calw.  That was the first time we'd ever been through Calw and it's a really nice looking city. We will have to go back there soon and check it out.

Anyway, after about 90 minutes driving, we arrived at the park.  It was a little scary getting there because there's a steep drive up the mountain.  Make sure your car has good brakes!  I could smell ours after going up and down that hill!  I was glad we brought the RAV 4 instead of my Mini.  Driving up the hill with a straight shift would not have been much fun.


The entrance.  I was a little afraid it would be a tough walk, but it wasn't hard at all.  There are gentle inclines to get to the cashier and the stroll is very easy on the treetop walk itself...


My first sighting of the walk...

There was plenty of parking in the pay lot, but I see from the Web site that you can also park in the town of Bad Wildbad and take the funicular to the top of the mountain.  Once we parked, we decided to have a quick lunch in the little town next to the park.  There's a place for coffee and cake as well as a biergarten and a hotel with a restaurant.  We opted for the biergarten, where we enjoyed sausages, pommes, and beer before our walk.


Coffee and cake are available in this cute little cafe.  Biergarten is a little beyond the cafe...  Don't worry, there are plenty of signs!


Bill enjoys a local hefeweizen while we waited for our lunch to be prepared.


Not a bad beer at all...


The biergarten is a self-service outdoor affair.  If you want something more substantial, you might want to check out the restaurant.  It's right next to the biergarten.


Bill's currywurst...


My bratwurst...  It hit the spot!

There is also a Skihutte where you can get food.  We didn't check it out.  On the way to the cashier to buy our tickets, we passed a map and "a word for you"... it turned out to be full of religious tracts.



Lift the top to get to God's word... in German, of course!


Tickets!

We paid 9.50 euros each for adult tickets.  Family tickets are also available, as are group rates.  For 12 euros you can also get a combination ticket that gives you access to the Sommerbergbahn.  Dogs are not allowed on the treetop walk, but they do have cages with water available near the entrance of the park.  The walk itself takes 45 minutes to an hour, depending on if you want to walk or slide down from the observation tower.


My first view of the treetop walk...



Lots of pretty views on the way to the tower...


And lots of kid friendly distractions that reminded me a little of a funhouse...


The one I tried...  There were at least three stations like this...


Don't look down!



All along the walk, there are signs letting you know how far it is to the WC and medical help.  I guess they'd rather people didn't stop and whiz through the railing.


My first glance of the observation tower.


Yes, that's the end of a slide...




The slide isn't all the way at the top, but a couple of levels below the very top of the tower.  If you want to ride it down instead of walking, you pay 2 euros. I wanted to do it, but Bill doesn't like heights or "roller coasters".  This is not a roller coaster, but I guess the slide was enough to give him cold feet.  I decided to walk down with him.


Lots of folks were sliding down, including many kids!  The attendant appeared to be having a lot of fun pushing people down the slide.


Weeee!


A fun loving girl at the bottom.  She ran back up as we were walking down and took another turn.


The views at the very top were majestic.



Signs like this one appear all around the top so you know where to look for your favorite landmarks... not that you could necessarily see them through the thick trees...  They even pointed out the directions for Paris and Strasbourg.






These stations were also all over the walk.  You can look through the hole and supposedly see the nature.  I was too short to look through this one.


Lovely view on the way out...


Scary bike trail!






Lots of places to rest your bones...



Entrance to the scary bike path!


We had a really great time at the Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald.  It appears to be very popular with people of all ages.  I saw lots of older folks having no trouble with the walk and lots of little kids loving the slide down the tower!  I wish I had done the slide.  Maybe next time... Bill says he's game to visit again.  I bet it's beautiful in the fall and at sunset.  Entrance to the walk is allowed until an hour before closing.  Today, the park closes at 7:30pm, so a sunset stroll might not be so possible.

I recommend bringing a jacket.  Even in late May, it was a little chilly today and the weather can be very changeable.  Wear comfortable shoes.  The treetop walk is very stroller and wheelchair friendly.  There's even a special gate you can go through with your wheels.  Don't forget to pay for your parking.  We witnessed one group of Americans trying to exit the parking lot before they paid.  Very embarrassing!  For three hours, it cost us 5 euros.  There's also a very small gift shop for those who want to spend money and there's a clean and free WC at the bottom of the slide.

While there are plenty of food options near the treetop walk, Bill and I realized that the Fischzucht Zordel trout farm is also not too far.  Bill estimates it's about 20-30 minutes away.  If we hadn't been there very recently, we might have gone there for lunch and really made a day of it.  If you click the link, you can read my report of our trip there in April.  I also noticed signs for mineral baths, which means I might have to go back to Bad Wildbad.  I am a sucker for spas!


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