Finally found some time to blog about my paddling again. About a month ago I was paddling with a good friend of mine on the Altmühl. The Altmühl is small river in Bavaria. It is really chilled and easy to paddle. There is a lot paddle tourism going on there with mostly canoes. So there can be some points where it is a bit crowded on the water especially on weekends. But it wasn't that much that it would have been annoying.
We paddled from Treuchtlingen till almost Dolnstein. We started at around half past 10 in the morning. The river was quite shallow at the beginning. So we struggled a bit when the river opened up and there was even less water under the boat. It was a sunny day and the nature around is really nice. Quite fast we left the last traces of Treuchtlingen behind us. As the noise of the city was passing out, we more and more notices the nature around us. Mostly all animals around seemed to be used to humans on the water. In other places most birds and animals living near the water are gone, way before you approach them. Not here. The ducks are totally chilled and won't even wake up when you pass them. Most of the time they simply ignore you. We paddled by many black coots with fledglings who barely took note of us. They eventually swam to one of the sides but won't take cover in the embankment like they do elsewhere. After about an hour of paddling we reached the first weir on our tour at Pappenheim where the river is blocked for a mill.
The passage was quite easy because there are stairs right at the riverside to get on and off. There were also some banks and tables for taking a rest at the passage but it was quite crowded so we decided to paddle on. After the weir the river was shallow again and we struggled to get forward the first hundreds of meters. But when we got some water under our kayaks, paddled down the river and the trees on the side started to get lighter, a beautiful view on the old town wall was revealed. At that point we started to look for a place to have lunch at. But it should take us about another hour to find one. Since the water was quite low the edge at the riverside was high and we weren't able to leave for lunch easily. So we paddled on. While going down the Altmühl we notice "buildings" beside the river which we suspect have been build by beavers. Though we weren't able to see one cause they sleep through the day. After about an hour we saw the next weir somewhat ahead of us. Since the water was high and therefor the edge on the riverside was low, we decided to take the chance and go for lunch here.
A bridge for cars provided us the a pleasant table. ;) We cooked lunch, drank some homemade ice tea and took a little rest. When we started off again we quickly reached the weir, which again was an easy passage due to the nice infrastructure. We paddled on, due to the low water level, you guess it, it was hard to not get stuck, but we managed to get on our way again. The river slowly started to open up and more and more forrest would surface on the riversides. Which then changed quickly because we approached Solnhofen. And we got to the next weir. When took the kayaks out of the water we noticed that there is a restaurant on "island" where you get off and on the water, but since we had lunch a short time ago we decided to paddle on.
Now the Altmühl is quite wide, offers lots of space to paddle and there is always enough water under the boat. We quickly left Solnfofen and got into some beautiful nature. It was quite, the sun began slowly to set and we saw lots of life on the water. Now some might have heard the name Solnhofen, because now we passed the place where it is famous for, the stone pit where the skeleton of the Archeopteryx was found. Right after that we approached the "twelve apostles" which is a famous stone formation. We then overtook a group of paddlers who were going slow. Usually we avoided other people on the water and tried not disturb them but this time they were just going to damn slow.
After that we reached the last weir of our trip, but this time it had a boat pit. So we closed our spray decks and had some fun riding down the weir. At this point the rivers almost stopped, there was no current driving us forward. The sun began to set and it was really pleasant time to paddle. The river was getting away from most streets and trains lines and it got really quiet. And even more nature around because "visible". We had a quite curious King Fisher following us for about a kilometer. He would always fly ahead of us, land on the next tree at the riverside, watch us till we approach him and then fly to the next tree. After he had left us some Eurasian jays where fighting over their territory which we could watch from the water. They were chasing each other from tree to tree. As the sun set we reached the end of our trip. Took the boats from the water and packed them onto our cars.
It was a really nice trip. If you are looking for a nice and easy river to paddle this really one other once you want to go for. Not sure if one would actually go for a paddle there in summer again. There are lots of the people around and the water is really low. If you are paddling to enjoy the silence avoid the summer time. I for one would definitely go there again for a paddle in spring when there is more water.
Picture on top: Stephanie Kroos CC BY SA