Silke Kohlmann and her daughter Emma try out a nature-oriented hike
Leaning out over the stream, Emma peers down intently. Splosh! She dips her net into the water. "I’ve caught something! There's something in there!" The seven-year-old grins with delight. A tiny crayfish is caught in the mesh. From our naturalist’s backpack, we take out the special bug box, fill it with water, carefully place the tiny animal inside and inspect it through the magnifying glass. "Now we have a pet," beams Emma.
We are on the kid-friendly Ant Trail near the village of Rötenbach in the Black Forest. And, as we discover from one of the information panels along the way, this was once home to primeval animals. The ancestors of our crayfish swam along these rivers 600 million years ago. Today, there are only a few descendants left. Our little crustacean is lucky to call this clean stream home. Emma decides to put it back in the water: “It should go on living."
We wave goodbye to the crayfish and continue our hike. There is plenty to learn on this two-hour walk. Emma stops to watch ants busily dragging pine needles into a pile. She points out butterflies, as they flit from flower to flower. We stare up at the tops of the towering Douglas fir trees and never tire of looking for more wildlife in the stream with our net. Helping us make these discoveries is the very cool naturalist explorer’s kit in the backpack we borrowed from the local tourist office. Included are a net and magnifying glass, binoculars and a compass – and a booklet to identify our discoveries. What more could budding naturalists want?
☀ Insider’s tip: Get the discounts!
With the Hochschwarzwald Card, more than 100 leisure attractions are available for free every day of your stay. They range from skiing on the Feldberg and swimming in the Badeparadies Schwarzwald Water Park to travel on the Feldbergbahn cable car and entry to the Steinwasen Park, a theme park with a small zoo. Not forgetting boat trips on Titisee lake or Schluchsee lake! Best of all, the all-inclusive Hochschwarzwald Card is provided by more than 500 hotels, B&Bs and guest houses – for free! – to guests, who stay two nights or more.
Read more: hochschwarzwald.de