The next part of our tour was layed out to be the first part of a two days lasting hiking tour connected by a stay overnight nearby the groundstation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at Weilheim Lichtenau. It would take us from Herrsching at the lake Ammersee via Andechs, the valley of Paehl to Paehl village and terminates at the DLR groundstation in Weilheim Lichtenau.
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Update: Corrected some minor flaws to suit your accommodations
With the sun shining bright and warm down upon the lands we met somewhere around 10 oclock at the railway station of Herrsching, unfortunately without our ever hat wearing cowboy who had been hindered from joining. Again, fast we cut through the town and advanced through meadows and small forrests. Farmers mowed or prepared hew, sceneries we would encounter over and over throughout this hike.
|Image: Through meadows covered with hew we advanced from Herrsching|
Prepared for the distraction Andechs monastery had to offer for the uncareful we ignored the town entirely, bypassing the holy hill in a wide curve. Leaving the village, we made an odd encounter with some garage whose walls were stuffed with traffic signs, or rather one
particular traffic sign in various incarnations. It did not last long until the owner of this cabinet appeared and explained in detail all the different versions and ways a traffic sign can be manufactured. He had been collecting those signs since decades, in a caring intention to preserve history, and be it only that one of this particular sign. It has been an odd, somehow weird, but interesting encounter. Too bad we did not take the opportunity to take a snapshot of them all... On we walked, further out of town and through a forrest, were we ate our lunch, then on over meadows and finally through a forrest again, reaching some driving range near Paehl, were a Scotch castle hid behind carefully secured walls and trees, unfortunately rendering it impossible to gain a glance at the castle itself. A small trail led on from there into the valley of Paehl.
|Image: Industrial ruins from the beginning of the 20th century - somehow fitting into the landscape|
Along ruins of some industrial past we came through a neat wild valley dug by a stream of water - weirdly enough, the industrial ruins did not seem like strangers in this wild valley, they somehow just fit. The way became more challenging as fallen trees started to block the way, but it never became dangerous, and, at the very end of the valley, there it waited, longing for the insisting pursuers, to unveil its beauty: The pot, or caldera, however to call it, a great hole in the ground that unleashed the stream from a small pond in its center, the pond itself being fed by a soft waterfall streaming down from the cliffs that form this basin. The air constantly filled with faint drops of water, barely sensable, and covering its interiour with the cliffs casting shadows upon the pond and everyone inside the basin it was the perfect place to stay on a day like that - a littlebit of paradise.
|Image: A small piece of paradise|
Trying to stretch our stay as far as possible we took showers underneath the fall, then had a long meal sitting on the fallen trees that mated with the island within the pool and its banks while observing a snake crouching over the floor into the pool. It had not been poisonous, they hardy are here in Germany, so we could enjoy its beauty undisturbed by any kind of fear. But yet, we had to reach our target, thus at some point we had to travel on. Back through the valley following it up to its mouth, were we had a great view onto the village of Paehl and - the Alps, majestic and still, distant. On we went, into the village of Paehl, looking for a beergarden to have diner - we had not yet visited a single one on this tour! So we sat down in the next one, the Gasthof zur alten Post
, having some exquisite Kaiserschmarrn and lime-mint drinks. The menu mentioned self-made liquor, and we bought one bottle, whereby we were told that the restaurant belongs in fact to a famous German musician, Peter Maffay
- ok, this fact cast its shadow upon the prices in the end - but it has been worth it, the meals were delicious! From there our trail led to Raisting, and from there on to the first ground station of aerials for communicating with satellites - the ground station at Raisting with its now defunct Radom
, still standing there like a giant egg. Quite a few antennas stand there all looking southwards - a strong hint that they serve geostationary satellites, presumably for broadcasting TV, not only for communication nerds like us quite impressive. Leaving this field of aerials we marched on through mowed meadows, hew everywhere, just great!
|Image: Communicating with heavens|
Being mislead by some misinterpretation of our map, we nearly fell into a small drainage trench and had to bypass it by returning to Paehl and go on from there, but finally we reached the small street leading to the forrest that hid the second ground station we would visit today, the very one, our own ground station, the station of the DLR. Entering, cutting through and leaving the forrest again happened in no time, sun had set already, but there was still light to see the great 30m aerial appearing, together with the others, 15m aerials, the Ka band antenna and a few smaller ones. The 30m aerial had been built in the seventies for the only deep space mission Germany ever conducted - to communicate with the Helios I and II probes, great times back then. Today it serves for measuring the Galileo satellites and other missions, but unfortunately did never happen to serve its original end - deep space communications. What a pitty! Nevertheless, its view will always be impressive to me, ever.
|Image: Weilheim ground station with the impressive 30m aerial on the left|
And just a few meters before the gates to the area, we were overtaken by the car of a friend of us, who would position his telescopes for us this night to look for Saturn, a ring nebula and other wonders that surround us every night...