Just a few hundred meters after the start to take some deep breaths before the „Hammerwand” (hammer wall) is living up to its name. Any chance to gain back some energy whilst passing the pagan place of worship, later called St Annen chapel? From this ruin it is not that far to enter an ethnic piece of “Suedthueringen”. Mining walkways lead us along several adit entrances sealed a long time ago! Acoustically and theoretically still far away, the city suddenly is underneath. Right in front of the Ottilien chapel an amazing panoramic view from the famous “Suhler Balkon” awaits us just before we climb up the “Domberg” almost to the base of the “Bismarck tower” from where it is a downhill dash over rough and smooth. Once again we come to pass the sublime chapel, where murals inside tell the sad legend of pretty Ottilie, a miner’s daughter.
At the market square from the fountain in front of the town-hall greets the Waffenschmied (armourer), the town’s landmark. The inscription „Im grünen Wald die rote Stadt, die ein zerschossen Rathaus hat“ (the red town in the green forest with a demolished town-hall) exhorts of the happenings back in 1920. Two kilometres on we inhale fresh air from the forest again, but so do elk and lynx. The zoo in the vicinity, highest concentration is required for the longest uphill section until we reach the inviting “Doellberghuette”. Both the path and the view back are amazing! Atop the „Beerberg“ we are drawn by the hut at „Rimbachbrunnen“. For a moment we forget about the physical struggles. Almost! Downhill across roots and knee-high grass before the thematic hiking trail in the „Pfanntal“ is explaining the local fauna and flora. The bridge over the resounding creek we have to give a miss, but need to battle with the thicket instead. Onwards to the “Salzberg”! But who is going high up, needs to go deep down. The steepest skiing hill in Thuringia, one of the blackest slopes north the Alps is a racy and uncompromising one kilo-meter long downswing!
Arrived safely and soundly at the Alpine Skiclub Goldlauter station, we start humming “O Christmas Tree” and “Every year again”. Hold on, Christmas carols in late summer? Sure, since the hiking trail of songs in honour of the nearby born educationist Ernst Anschuetz is just in the neighbourhood! “Pechgrund”, “Hansenrod” and the nice view at “Plattensteinbruch” are the next milestones of our journey. From the distance we take a look at the “Borstenplatz” before turning to the “Fichtenkopf” with its popular summit cross. And here is the monument for the well-known folk musician from Suhl, Herbert Roth! We keep going to the “Heidersbacher Tränke“ above which thrones the “Suhler Hütte”. After a short rest, the roots of the “Teufelskanzel” grab for us like in a dark fairy tale forest. Attention! We are magically drawn towards the “Schneekopfturm”. At the summit on 1,001 meters above sea level we had reached the highest point in Thuringia. Theoretically! But maybe there is still time to catch a view? Back at the “Suhler Hütte“, still animated, we roll down the „Rosenkopfstraße“ only to get swallowed by the branches just ahead of “Triefender Stein”. What a mystic trail!
Now we drop by the ski stadium Goldlauter-Heidersbach. Downhill all the way! Across the small bridge or right through the „Steinsfelder Wasser“? Just as you like it! For a few minutes tarmac replaces the forest road, but mother nature has us right back. At “Berg Bock” is the legendary location „Tote Männer“ (dead men) just a stone throw from our trail hidden in the forest. Now we irresistibly striving across the “Gänserasen“ overlooking „Albrechts“ towards the evangelic church. We accelerate once again at the seemingly never-ending final climb. But now, in the „Hollergrund“ we are hearing music – the distinct sign for a short break in the start- and finishing area, which we will pass through soon. Right after that the trail shoots up at the „Heinrichser Schiessgrund“ and a path leads us to a clearing in the forest hidden behind spruces.
Time for a quick stop to enjoy an unexpected reward for body and soul! The old Jewish Cemetery, where Moses Simson, the “founding father” of the Simson factory, rests in peace since 1868, is still a romantic insider tip. It is going further uphill now and after a few ups and downs it is time for another quick stop at the „Suhler Steinsburg“, which the myth describes as a former robber-knight castle. Historic sunken roads now circle around and lead back to this place and geologic formations give some insight into the basalt mining, which took place here back in the days. Reinvigorated we storm down via the “Diestel” to the “Dreisbachtal”, which paves us the way like a gentle wave of mother nature back into the civilisation. Indeed, it’s done! And suddenly we are proud, happy and feel like real heroes…