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I learned on my previous hike to trust in the beaten path, but my next hike taught me to take a few risks once in a while.  I was still new to Freiburg, though I had already walked around the city a few times.  After a full day of orientation in classes, I was tired but also feeling cooped up.

I wasn't the only restless student!

A rather accurate sketch of our professor: I wasn’t the only restless student!

The entire day had been foggy.  Even though–or perhaps because–I live in sunny Florida, rainy days are my favorite days.  Here I was, spending the day watching clouds drape the hills.  It was moody, and it was perfect.

Can I please hike now?

Can I please hike now?

Everything I’d learned about hiking–don’t hike too close to dusk, don’t hike alone, etc.–told me that hiking was a bad idea.  But here was a chance to walk inside clouds in the Black Forest.  I mean, who could pass that up?  After a little debating, I grabbed a quick meal just before 6 o’clock and headed for the hills.  The only problem was that I wasn’t familiar with the area surrounding my dorm; I had no idea how to even find the hiking trails in the first place without trespassing on someone’s property.

I decided to just wing it.  No planning, no Googling for internet hints.  Just explore.  I walked along the Dreisam river until I found a bridge, and then I kept walking straight toward the hill.  The paved road turned to dirt, isolated houses nestled at the edge of the forest, and suddenly I was on a trail.  It was steep and a little muddy, but I loved it.

Thankfully this road went past the house and into the hills.  Otherwise, I might have been intruding!

Thankfully this road went past this (gorgeous) house and into the hills. Otherwise, I might have been intruding!

I found an overlook from which I could see my dorm (the tall and narrow white building).

A view of my dorm

A view of my dorm

Since I was new to the area and had learned my lesson from previous hikes, I took paths that others seemed to be walking onA trail that lead up. A strange clearing with benches.  More people walked here.  A sign described the area as “Fort Freiburg Castle Hill Historical loop” in German.  Later I would learn that this area was the site of a count’s castle, which had been destroyed in the Middle Ages in a dispute between the count and the townspeople.

The history behind the ruins.  Makes sense, right?

The history behind the ruins. Makes sense, right?

I was so thrilled to walk among ancient ruins, and the fog made it all the more exciting.  I could only see a little bit in front of me, so stone walls and other hikers would appear and disappear.  I resolved to return on a clear day, so that I could have a better idea of the area. Here are a few more foggy photos I took:

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