A beautiful hike through one of the last upland moors
and a stopover in Monschau
At 5:30 a.m. I hit the road towards Belgium. I was looking forward to hike though a particular part of the Hautes Fagnes (Hohes Venn). While still on the road it became clear that it would be a very cold and frosty day. At that point I could only hope for those special conditions that occurred during the day. I arrived right before blue hour. Actually, I wanted to start my hike immediately as I thought that I would get the best compositions and light while I’m on my way through the moor. But right at the beginning of the trail was a look-out for bird watching and as it turned out I had a phenomenal view over the most part of the Hautes Fagnes…
At this point I want to mention that I wasn’t hiking the most popular trail that starts at the Baraque Michel. My trail started about 2-3 kilometers behind Baraque Michel. Later, I found out how good that decision really was.
… I immediately realized that it would probably be better to stay at the look-out during blue and golden hour then to hope for better compositions on the trail.
Over the next hour or so I was watching an amazing sunrise with permanent color shifts, from blue and red to purple and pink and finally to yellow and orange.
The air was clear and cold and after that gorgeous light-show I was ready to get on the trail.
The trail itself can be divided into two parts. The first part is nothing but beautiful and diversified. You walk through the moor with its burned trees, pale yellow tones and rivers. Parts of the trail were covered in snow and frost and wooden footbridges. The second part is rather boring, as you are not allowed to go off the beaten path. So, you must basically walk along two straight paths with nothing special to look at. Nevertheless, the first half of the trail is beautiful and so I will concentrate on that part of my hiking trip.
After about an hour, suddenly, a huge amount of fog moved in. My favorite pictures from that day were shot during that little timeframe where the sun peaked through the fog and gave the scene a moody and dreamy look. The fog only lasted a few minutes and was complete gone as I arrived at the famous burned trees. The scene probably would have been even more spectacular when the fog was still there, but the view was quite impressive anyway.
After a four-hour hike (excluding the photo sessions) it was still early in the day and I decided to have a look at the more famous trail of the Belgium part of the Hautes Fagnes.
The first thing that I realized when I arrived at Baraque Michel (starting point of the trail) was the full parking place. There were so many cars and people that I immediately lost interest in hiking that trail. In the end I did it anyway and I must admit that this trail had its own very beautiful views and lots of potential compositions for photographers.
On my way back I made a stopover in Monschau. It was quite nice, but to be honest, on that day the town did not quite live up to its hype. The conditions were bad, with harsh light and I simply wasn’t there at the right time. I guess the town only unveils its magic when it snows, fog is moving in or during golden hour.
At the end I was very pleased with what I had seen and experienced that day. I witnessed an amazing sunrise, was exploring new areas, hiked through beautiful nature, and ended the day in one of the most famous old towns in Germany.