"I fear that future generations will judge us harshly for our failure to place proper value on wildness, diversity, open space, spirit, solitude and other treasures of the natural world still available to us today. May they at least know that some of us tried." - Guy Tal



Last weekend, after literally months of incredibly hot weather here in Germany this year, I once again left the comfort zone of my regular life with our cozy appartment, the large comfortable bed, my digital darkroom / computer & gaming room with new inspirational and entertaining digital adventures like Witcher III waiting for me to be consumed as well as the strong, hot and tasty coffee in the morning. All in exchange for another real experience and to really feel alive and enjoy being out in nature in the central German uplands of Saxon-Switzerland National Park as well as the forests and canyons of the Bohemian-Switzerland in the Czech Republic. Actually I planed to bivouac on a mountain summit to be there at sunset, sunrise and during the night in order to create a nightscape photo but fortunately Kirsti spontaneously decided to come along and so we opted for a more pleasant way to spend the nights, at least this time. I am still looking forward to my mountain bivouac sometime in the near future. During recent photo tours and vacations this year I somehow realized, or noticed, that the experience itself during my trips becomes more and more important to me. I learned to appreciate nature and solitude initially through my landscape photography but currently I am more and more heading for the experience first and photos second. I still enjoy creating photos in the field and the post-processing process later a lot but my main goal at the moment is to enjoy the experience itself while traveling and having fun scouting new places. Although this could change again in the future, who knows, it seems to be kind of a process.





We started on Friday afternoon, after a normal working day in the office and drove towards Bad Schandau. After some traffic jams and redirects we finally arrived in Saxon Switzerland and the Kirnitzsch valley. Since we were a little late we instantly grabbed the photo equipment and all stuff we needed for dinner at the summit and started our evening ascent to the top of a mountain called Kleiner Winterberg. After about an hour or so of "speed hiking" we arrived at the summit, prepared dinner and enjoyed the awesome view and the colorful sunset, see photo above. We had the place all for ourselves and had not seen any other person since we had left the car. What a nice contrast to the noisy and hectic city life. When it started to get dark we continued our loop hike and along the way scouted a place for a possible sunrise shoot at sunday. A place I have in my mind for a while now but never made it up there until then. The rest of the hike was a bit steep and scary in the darkness with lots of slippery rocks and both of us never did this loop before (not even in daylight) and hence in the darkness we didn't know exactly if we were right all the time. In my opinion it was a refreshing experience albeit Kirsti may have other thoughts about this last part of our evening hike.





On Saturday we hiked up the famous Prebischtor (or Pravčická brána), a narrow rock formation located in the Bohemian Switzerland. It is one of the most striking natural monuments in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and has a span of 26.5 metres, an inside height of 16 metres, 8 metre maximum width and 3 metre arch. It is the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe and quite a sight. Only the amount of people you see and hear during the hike on a Saturday as well as the high parking- and entrance fee is diminishing the experience but it was still nice to see it once.





Later that day we drove through the Bohemian Forests and through little villages like Jetřichovice and Doubice which strongly reminded me on the medieval villages designed in Witcher III. We arrived in Kyjov in the afternoon and began our second hike that day into a valley called Khaatal. A nice valley with lots of large farns and wild rhubarb. At some places it even looks like some kind of jungle with all its greens and the Kirnitzsch with lots of cascades and rapids flowing through the valley, see photo above. I photographed a lot and looked for new compositions and waited for the light until Kirsti got bored waiting for me doing my thing. I think next time, maybe during the autumn season in October, I will plan more time for exploring this beautiful valley. We then continued our hike and eventually returned to the car. Pretty satisfied with our wanderings and new experiences so far we called it a day and enjoyed the evening sun in a beer garden and restaurant next to the Elbe river.





Since the forecast for the next morning was mostly cloudy with a cloud cover of more than 90% and rain we decided to skip the pre-dawn hike and sunrise shoot and to start later in the rainy sunday. We drove to Hřensko and explored the impressive canyon along the Kamenice. I took my time and created some photos like the one above but after some hours in the rain we had enough for this moment and decided to take care of our tired legs, returned to the car and drove back home to Leipzig. Looking back it again was a very nice weekend trip with decent hikes, some good photo opportunities and exploration of some new places for future tours and shootings and most of all we had a lot of fun being out there and enjoying nature all around us without any distracting devices, Apps and "being connected" and bombarded with senseless information all the time. Nature really is good for the soul and spirit, especially in contrast to city life and office jobs.



Feel free to add any comments or questions below.



Published 8 years and 5 months ago by Dave


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