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Tap into Nature

This evening was a rather exciting one. Armed with torch and map we went for a walk in the dark forest here on the hills. 2 friends from Jr came along and we took off shortly after the sun set.

We had a steep walk uphill until we were at the Schloss Heiligenberg. We went from one of the biggest trees of Germany (Mammutbaum) in the garden towards the Goldenes Kreuz via the 1200y old Zentlinde and the Nonnenklosterruine. We sneaked through our secret little entrance again and were very pleased to be so close to that so special Goldenes Kreuz.

From there on we went to the field, where someone had made a fire. The last remains of the sunset were still visible above the valley.

And then it got dark when we downhill. The kids were excited and playing around with the LEDtorch we had with us.

All of a sudden we were really close up there in the hills, listening to what was around us. We couldn’t see much, but we learned to see what was around us by listening.

First of all we saw Jupiter in the east, just above the hills. There are a few tricks to find out what you are looking at in the night sky.

  • If it blinks and moves, it is a plane
  • If it doesn’t blink and moves slowly, disappeares at a specific point (in a real dark sky), it’s a satellite.
  • If it is static, doesn’t blink or seems to blink and is visible in a brighter sky as well, it’s a planet
  • And if it is static, does blink and sparcle, and isn’t visible in a bright sky (either sunset or moon), it’s a star.
  • And if it’s a shooting star, you’ll find out quick enough :)

    Kids love these wisdom and prefer to show off towards their friends I’ve noticed this evening ;)

    We then walked on, went into the “real dark” forest above our homes, and I asked what the 3 biggest kind of animals they thought would live up here. So here they are:

  • deer
  • wild boar
  • badger
  • For the rest we could expect foxes, squirrels and well, who knows, some escaped horses and sheep up here :)
    To make sure we could disguise our presence, the kids started singing out loud like wolves. I’m not sure if that would have scared the other animals less :)


    And just when it got real dark and we were afraid to lose our track, I let them use their senses, see, hear and sense of direction:

  • Yes,we all knew this Bergstrasse and Odenwald split was almost a straight line, going north to south.
  • The villages are in the ‘deep’ west, so going down must almost certainly be going towards the villages.
  • Also we could hear cars driving where we were expecting a road. It was a single car, so a not so big road.
  • We then looked around us and saw some lights. That must be the village!
  • So we had an indicator and the kids quickly worked out where they were on the maps.

    Not long later we were back home, on the big pillow, watching Mr. Bean with a big bowl of sweeties in our hands :)

    I can imagine it must have been quite a change to some that are not out in the “wild” every weekend. But still, this is also rather exciting, and I’m sure they’ll have a good sleep afterwards :)

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