Skip to content

The Rhine 5: Laufenburg – Basel

    27 November 2016 – Mileage: 34 – no poles

    Much better. Less bunkers and I could go up and down stairways forward. The path was the best so far on the Rhine in Switzerland.As usually I take the first train in the morning to where I ended the hike two days ago. Yesterday I tried to buy a better daypack but the lady at Arc’teryx Zurich tried to sell me something wrong. I don’t know if she knew what she was doing. Generally spoken I know better than the shop assistants what does exist, what materials are used and so on. They had to order what I wanted. Therefore, I use the same daypack as before.

    Again, it’s warm. The first hour I must rely on my headlamp in the dark forest. No eyes. The first living thing I see is a black German Sheppard dog. He runs in my direction, gnashing his teeth and he is enormous. Big mistake. This time I jell in German. His owner shivers when I pass her. She asks me to not jell in this tone, the elderly people would not find it pleasant. I apologize. The day before I wrote something about Señor Presidente electo and I admit that I listen to der Führer on Youtube. The next dog gets the traditional shouting from the middle east with the heavy Russian accent. We are clearly in the rural country side. Try to have your dog like this in Zurich. I am fully aware that dogs are often family members and live in a daily relationship with their owners. No one wants to harm them as this could bring hardship also to their owners. I just don’t like it when they threaten to byte me.

    In Stein am Rhein signs say that you can’t be here when you are drunk.

    I surf with a pace of four miles per hour. My leg still hurts but it works much better. I can use the stairs as intended today. Two days ago, I had to go down sideways. I need to find a way to plan my stops in time. I just stop two times in the morning because there are public toilets therefore I get hungry. Rheinfelden is a nice little city, they still have the city walls from medieval times. Not so nice is the fur store.

    The landscape is pretty. The shore path is just one feet away from the water. I just can’t understand why people have so much junk in their gardens. There must be thousands Davids in every color and size. Everybody has the same stupid sign: Trespassers will be shoot; survivors will be shoot again. Some people heat their house with wood stoves. They burn hardwood. I can never get enough from that smell. It smells like incense. There is a valley ending directly in the direction of the Rhine. There is a cold wind blowing down, I don’t care. I bought a neck gaiter yesterday.

    Fresh beaver tracks everywhere. Hunts in the forests. The hunters complain about the presence of Lynx. They kill and eat road deer so the hunters have less to shoot – in this part of Switzerland road deer and boars are the biggest hunters can get. Is my Gore-Tex jacket bullet proof? I walk in the middle of the street. I understand the need to shoot road deer but to shoot Lynx in fear they would otherwise eat the dear? The Lynx was extinguished in Switzerland until 1971. I hope to spot all the animals in a protection area not far away. Shoots could be heard. They are fare away.

    There are the remains of Roman watchtowers all over the place. They are from the year 300 and must have been nicer than the newer bunkers. I also pass Augusta Raurica. They dug out the remains of an entire Roman town there, like Pompey, just not as big.

    Fishing is done with cranes, they lover a net in to the stream.

    img_3489Rheinfelden is the first big industrial zone on the Rhine. There is the usual dam but they have installed a stairway for the fish. And they have counted the fish who pass. In 2013 they found the first salmon since 1950. There is salt so they provide the salt for entire Switzerland.

    Then comes Schweitzerhalle. That’s where there was a fire in 1986. The water used to extinguish the fire ended up in the Rhine. Killing thousands of fish and interrupting drinking-water networks.

    img_3527Soon enough I am in Birs, that’s where we have our access to the sea.

    img_3551After that I’m in Basel where the Rhine gives you the impression to be part of the whole wide world.

    And where the biggest newspaper was bought some years ago by the Swiss version of Mr. Trump. Since then they write that the city lies in ruins and there is apparently violence everywhere. The contrast to what I see could not be bigger. There is even a European form of trail magic, they sell home made hot tea and pie along the path. People even made small fires along the Rhine. These are not homeless people, they just enjoy the evening on the Rhine.

    the tallest building in Switzerland

    the tallest building in Switzerland

    I would not shy away of doing this with a tent. I may not be 200 % legal but it is possible. There are forests all over where you can stop for the night.  Although in the summer there must be congestions on the nicer paths along the Rhine.