Adventure Day in the Murgtal Valley
BW Story - Bernd Sautter
Rappeling, Hiking and River Rafting with the whole Family
The world is full of surprises. Our daughter Lina is hanging on to a rope that dangles down from a bridge. Normally, this 11-year-old is a scaredy cat. Today, though, she is excited, grinning from ear to ear. Lina is rappeling down 50 feet/15 meters, and is enjoying every second of the experience.
Clayton, our guide at Adventure World, says this happens a lot with the kids on the adventure day trips he leads. As he explains, you see the world from a completely different perspective when you rappel from this bridge over the Murg River. We are only 90 minutes west of Stuttgart, but deep in the Black Forest. And I have to admit that we are already having more fun and adventure than I expected.
This day is full of surprises. And the biggest are our children! Roman, our son, has already reached the river bed. Of course, the nine-year-old had to go first, as usual. He is never afraid of anything. But he was suspiciously quiet as he held on to the rope hanging from the bridge. "Are you all right, Roman?" His "Yes" sounded a little hesitant. This chatterbox is rarely as quiet as during the descent. Only when he reaches the bottom and feels the ground under his feet again we do hear the real Roman!
On this adventure day we will take on three challenges. First was the full-on adrenaline rush of rappelling from the bridge. Next is a hike scrambling along the rocky bed of the Murg River. The final challenge is river rafting. It all sounds challenging, but it is actually a lot of fun for any child over the age of six.
For me, hiking along the river was surprising. I was really looking forward to it. After all, it sounds quite relaxing, walking along the banks of a rushing stream. But my legs tell a different story. Stepping and sometimes jumping from rock to rock, even from pebble to pebble, is quite tiring. Especially since you always have to watch where you put your feet.
Most people like to go for a walk to enjoy the views and scenery in the Murgtal Valley. And our guide chose a beautiful part where huge rocks form beautiful pools in the river. As we bound from a chunk of sandstone to a big lump of granite, we have to jump carefully, swinging our arms to propel ourselves. It's like doing gymnastics! I feel rather clumsy and am secretly jealous of how easily Lina and Roman jump from stone to stone. But I bet they will be pretty tired in the evening.
We are in the middle section of this river valley. We started just below the Schwarzenbach dam. Now the last challenge of this family adventure day starts in Forbach. It's called soft rafting, using inflatable rafts. Instead of taking on waves and wild water, this is fun for the whole family, including my wife, Maria. She is a little skeptical at first, but like Lina in the morning, she is completely fearless when it counts. We are in different boats, and watching from behind, I see how easy it is - if you do it right. The principle is simple. Equipped with life jackets and helmets, you kneel down in the small inflatable raft. The person at the back puts the paddle in the water on one side; the person at the front puts the paddle in the water on the other side. The experienced guide steers.
I have to admit that our crew thinks that Maria and Lina look really classy, gliding elegantly through the rapids. Instead of watching them, perhaps I should focus more on what we are supposed to do! As soon as we set off, we turn our rubber dinghy 180 degrees. No one explained paddling backwards! I am glad that our calm, professional guide is on board to tell us what to do. And it is all really fun. The trip is only about 985 feet/300 meters long, so Roman and I carry on paddling a bit further. I am no expert, but I reckon that we end up being just as good as Lina and Maria!