9320 exciting steps to this secluded spot in the Westerwald

You take a deep breath, feeling the fresh, slightly cool morning air on your bare arms, and listen to the sounds of the water in the Holzbachschlucht. Down here in the gorge, it splashes and gurgles, tumbles and whooshes, all at the same time. If you close your eyes, you could even think the raging stream is trying to whisper something to you. You open your eyes again and watch the water flowing over, under and around the basalt stones, as if it has somewhere to go but keeps getting distracted by fun diversions. Just like when you are walking through the Westerwald and keep finding interesting new corners of the forest you absolutely have to explore.

Holzbachschlucht nature reserve near Seck, Westerwald

Holzbachschlucht nature reserve near Seck, Westerwald

You and your companion enjoy the setting in silence, almost at one with nature. The lush green flora to either side of the stream is like a filter for the world beyond the forest. The mosses and ferns down here in the shadows have a scent all their own, it is like aromatherapy for the soul. The fourth stage of the WesterwaldSteig trail follows the Holzbach stream for around one kilometre. You have opted for three stages this time, a good hike over a long weekend. Over the last few years, you have tackled some of the 16 routes, always on your own, with every one a new discovery about just how varied and tranquil the scenery of the Westerwald is. This time, though, you have company, which is also a lot of fun.

Two hikers enjoying the tranquillity of nature during a short rest on the Westerwaldsteig, Westerwald

Enjoying the tranquillity of nature during a short rest on the Westerwaldsteig, Westerwald

Two people on a hike in the varied as well as calming landscape, Westerwald

A hike in the varied and calming landscape, Westerwald

You sling your rucksacks onto your backs and make your way up out of the green gorge and up into the open pastureland. You have read that you will pass a few mills next to the shady stream before finally feeling the warmth of the sunshine again. You are looking forward to the last seven kilometres of the day’s route and to a relaxing spell in the sauna at your hotel to invigorate your weary bodies.

The next stage is scheduled for tomorrow and will take you to an idyllic camp-site on the shores of a lake – a lovely relaxing interlude in the countryside after the luxury of today’s hotel.

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