Hutthaler Widerwaage - A walk between Ponds and Pumps
Since we had to leave that afternoon, we only had little time left for our last hike in the Harz, so we chose to find a walk close by to save us the time of driving to the start of a trail.
We looked at different routes and decided for the "WasserWanderWeg Hutthaler Widerwaage" near Clausthal-Zellerfeld, a circuit of only about 8km that was supposed to lead by different ponds and historical water routing systems.
We started at a parking lot close by the Polsterberger Hubhaus, which unfortunately was still closed due to Corona - else we might have stopped there on our way back. Here the path led into the forest, and the smell of the spruce trees reminded us so much many a hike in Austria. It's amazing how smells can transport memories. We followed followed a small parth until reaching the first lake - the "Jägersbleeker Teich", where we returned to a wider track. Besides the lake is a "Widerwaage", but not the one that gave the circuit its name.
A sign informed us that a "Widerwaage" in general is a small reservoir with a wooden barrier. The system of ponds in the Harz was used to collect water to power the works of the mines closeby. Depending on where the water was needed, the wooden barrier could be opened or closed to control water flow.
Following the forest road, it took less than a kilometer to reach the next pond, the "Hirschler Teich" and the "Oberer Pfauenteich", with an old pumphouse still located between the two lakes. Located just a bit west to the ponds are the old mines "Dorothea" and "Caroline" that were the receiver of the water power collected through the ponds. The path does not lead close to the mine, even though it can still be visited with a reservation at the "Oberharzer Bergwerksmuseum".
We continued and soon crossed a road to get to the second part of our hike. Right at the parking lot was an interesting sign about WWII in the Harz region, before we headed out again on our trail and reaching the next pond, the "Ententeich". This cute little pond has a special feature: a huge picture frame that you can take a photo in.
The path continues along a trench that in former times brought the water to the ponds. Here we now also came by the "Hutthaler Widerwaage" that gave the circuit its name, before cutting back towards the road and finally leading back to towards the parking lot where we had started.