The Roof, 3rd visit
The snow cover on the 'Hautes Fagnes' was irrisistable. Milder weather was predicted from wednesday on so I took off on monday. I would concentrate on the northeastern section which is far less frequented than the main tourist hotspots.
The small parking lot in Petergensfeld was full of snow and the declining road leading towards it was too dangerous to pass with the camper, keeping in mind that I would have to get up it when leaving. I have rear wheel drive and you do not push a 3.5ton vehicle that easy out of the snow. So after some inspection I managed to park alongside the road where the snow was cleared.
The area south of Petergensfeld is woodland with a good portion of broadleaved trees. There are also a few small streams, that run thru it ending up in the Wesertahlsperre to the southwest (Weser, Vesder), or running thru the Fagnes to the south (Eschbach, Steinbach). The weather was nice, grey but with the sky opening up in the afternoon. Wonderfull scenery and a very pleasant walk with only a few local people around.
Time to look for a place to spend the night. The latest news I had concerning the Covid restrictions was that campers were directed towards the official camperspots in Malmedy, Baugnez and Eupen which is at the Wesertahlsperre. I was there already past week and it is ideally located for my next plans. But the official campersigns were taken away and instead warnings were put out that overnight stay was prohibited. A friendly local told me that there would certainly be a police patrol during the evening. He was also so cooperative to point me out a campsite 2km to the west of Eupen, which was closed of course but that has a large parking lot at the entrance. I had an undisturbed night there!
Next day I headed direction Monschau to the Brackvenn area. There were no parking signs all along the road. They even had put up fences at the two small parking lots at the start of walking trails. The fences were placed in a Belgian way so you could nevertheless enter with your car. They probably only really close it during the weekend. I parked at a parking layby just before the German border. As long as my legs can bear the extra kilometers, no problem!.
I first visited the southern section. The Brackvenn is very beautiful certainly in snowy condition: it is my favorit. There was thick cloud cover which was really threatening at times and quite some wind blowing too. The snow on the trees was blown away and snow drift made it at places hard to stay on the sometimes narrow boardwalk; I had to use my tripod regularly as a walking stick to feel where the boardwalk was. At a certain point I returned because it became too dangerous. So my footsteps would be my guide when returning, that's what I imagined, but they were blown away in the meantime.
But after all this is nothing compared to the joy of being there and looking for photo opportunities and the right frame. I really like being in cold weather. Feeling warm and comfortable with the right clothing in cold weather is very enjoyable! I hate the burning sun!
After lunch in the camper (what a luxury!) I went to the northern section of the Brackvenn in the afternoon. Much more protected from the wind snow cover on the trees was still abundant. What a fantastic environment! What a joy to walk around with only a few other people around, people who love nature and do not misbehave and not act as if they are in an entertainment park like the tourist gangs do. I can fully understand the measures they are taking to keep large crowds away.
What I do not understand on the other hand is why I was chased away from the parking lot of the camping where I was intending to spend my second night! Where is the Covid danger here? I did not feel like looking for another place to stay and so after a warm meal and a look at the weather forecast predicting warmer temperatures I decided to head home. It could not get any better than this.
Enjoy the pictures, stay safe and healthy and till next time.