The Walk

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This is a true story in so far as related to the location. Concerning the events, my memory remains a bit faulty with regard to the particulars. The telling I leave among yourselves to decide

Mari is my partner. She and I enjoy our days out indulging in kayak touring. Our outings amounted to leisurely paddling around on lakes or slow rivers near where we live, where a meandering course and mood of the day will deliver us to a destination. For some days, if the sun failed to make an appearance but we did, hats and sunscreen were optional. Those foggy days did not deter us. Actually, the calm and limited visibility added a bit of mysterious novelty to courses well followed. You see, one has to be flexible in this climate. Don't get me wrong, we do enjoy the sunny days as well, but limiting outings to Fair Weather Paddling Days would miss the greater balance of the magic. Not such exciting sport, I know.

What about the white water stuff might you ask? There is much to be said about the adrenaline rush of that roller coaster ride. The paddler directs their way traversing rolling course ways and even down waterfalls. We have watched videos and observed the action first hand. Totally amazing. There is so much appreciable skill and thrill on offer. But for us, it is just not enough. Boring in our own way is what works for us. That's just how we are wired.

In the north of Switzerland, near the German boarder, is where we live. That makes us neighbors to Lake Constance and the calm Rhine River which flows out of it. Perhaps you are familiar with Lake Constance, or its proper German name, Bodensee? Well if you are not, let me just say it is quite a lake, big enough to be visible from space. It is a natural flowing lake, glacier formed- there are no dams. Divided in half by a long peninsula, a water flow between joins the upper and lower lake. In the middle of this land bridge is a classic old German city, the lake's namesake, Konstanz. Three countries claim a portion of the waterway in the vicinity: Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.

The Upper Rhine River which flows into the lake at the eastern end is a river of another character. It consists much of the white water stuff I told you about. Though it was on a quieter stretch, we once joined an organized rafting day trip. The route floated the bottom of a steep gorge. The scenery was simply spectacular with areas alternating between sheer granite walls and crumbly mountainside. The views are so vast and yet compacted into a small area. It must be seen to be appreciated.

The events related herein occurred during a paddling day-trip on the German Bodensee, west of Konstanz. It is a favorite area of many favorites. The shoreline there ends a dense forest. The land begins a section of nature conservancy, what is called by the locals, Naturschutz. The terrain is secluded with rollings hills that come to an abrupt end in steep sandstone cliffs at the lake shore. It is an isolated oasis in a populous country.

For our day's outing the area was sparse of people. Even the few sleepy sail boats typically found anchored offshore were not present. It was too early in the season for them. They were still in their winter dry dock. Sadly, there would be no FKK sunbathers on deck to greet today.

This day was an atypical sunny Spring day, a break from the constant rain of the last weeks. There were few clouds and no weather threatening to blow in from the Black Forest, from the west. The trusted weather forecast had predicted as much yesterday, reconfirmed before the car was loaded. The sun had tried its best, but the last of the winter's chill was still in the air. Out on the water, our boats had no care; they were singing a happy song, sliding over the calm surface. The tiny wakes flowed out, intersected and carried on unheeded across the distance. We were quiet with the rhythm harmony of paddling.

The scene is set. This story begins when we pulled in midday for the lunch-break by the creek that cuts a small slot canyon called, Marienschlucht. Let's let our characters relate the story further.

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