Wispertaunussteig - Kemel to Espenschied
“A trail for all senses” - that's how the Wispertaunustrail is advertised on the website. And the description is fitting. On roughly 44km and 1250m of ascent the trail leads through five valleys, four small villages and many wonderful views. The diverse landscape from meadows, through dense forest, rugged rocks is spectacular.
We parked our car in Espenschied and then took the bus to Kemel, where our hike was supposed to start. From the bus stop we first had to get to the spring of the Wisper creek, where the trail starts.
The beginning of the trail follows along the creek, across flowery meadows and along the edge of the forest until reaching the small valley with the same name as the creek - Wisper. Here the trail turns into the forest and winds across roots and rocks until reaching the Wispersee in the valley.
The lake itself beautifully lies in the valley basin and is a perfect spot for a short rest. Beside the lake there is a hut of the local fishing club, a public bathroom and a barbeque area - so this probably makes for a nice place to plan a daytrip to. Even though we had basically just started our hike we took the time to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and watch the huge fish in the water for a few minutes.
Even though rain had been forecast for the two days of our hike, there were hardly any clouds in the sky and the sun was burning down on us pretty relentlessly when we continued around the lake and along a gravel road. We were glad to enter the forest again, and delighted when we reached the part of the trail that is called the "Naurother Schweiz" (rough translation: Nauroth's Switzerland). A rugged ridge with gnarly old oak trees and fragrant pine forests. The path itself is beautiful, too, as it winds itself over the roots and by rock formations, first up the ridge and then down to the valley on the other side. Here a tributary to the wisper river cuts deep into the rock and forms a slight gorge. All in all a very nice section of the trail.
Back down on the valley floor we followed the trail along the course of the wisper, until the footpath crosses the creek on a small wooden bridge, reaching the "Hexenmüllerplatz" on the other side. Here several trails cross and a hut sits by the side of the creek. Since it was currently empty, we took the chance to have our lunch in the shade of the hut.
Once we had feasted on crackers, cheese and some home-made snacks our hiking buddies had brought, we continued the trail along the wisper into the "Wisper-Canyon". The most narrow canyon of the wisper creek. For quite some time the path follows the valley floor without much ascent or descent, then after crossing another wooden bridge the track gradually gets steeper. The long ascent brought us towards Dickschied, with some perfect lookout point on the way. Both the "Geroldsteiner Tor" (roughly translated: Geroldstein gate) and the "Dickschieder Fenster" (Dickschied Window) both grant beautiful views onto the small village of Geroldstein as well as the forest-covered hilltops of the Wispertaunus area.
Once we had finally reached Dickschied the trail led us back down into the valley on the other side of the village. Here the path crossed open fields which where fully in bloom with daisies, buttercups and cornflowers. We slowed down a bit to enjoy the atmosphere and watch busy insects buzzing around the flowers. But we still had quite some kilometers to walk and our water supplies wouldn't last forever, so we continued without a real break. By now we were almost a bit disappointed that there didn't seem to be any rain incoming anytime soon. At least a few clouds had appeared and every now and then hid the sun for a few pleasant moments.
After a short descent from Dickschied we reached a wooden bench with a sign proclaiming this to be the "wisper throne". We now wanted to get to our destination though, so we didn't stop again. Right after the bench the trail started into the next climb towards the "Spitzeley". Once again a pretty trail across rocks and roots, hemmed by old oaks. After the ridge followed a steep decline before we finally started into the last, drawn out descent towards Espenschied. This one mostly followed a forest road and wasn't quite as scenic as the rest of the trail, so were very happy when we finally reached the plateau again and saw Espenschied just a kilometer away. On the hill slightly above the valley we found a bench and granted ourselves the luxury of another short break with this beautiful view, before we got down to the last few meters.
When planning the trip all guesthoused in Espenschied had already been pretty much fully booked and we had had trouble finding a place to stay. Researching other options we had found out that the local organic farm of the Korn Family offered campers to use one of their fields to camp for a small fee of 15€. So we had brought our tents, which we didn't even have to carry since our car was parked in Espenschied anyways.
Once reaching Espenschied we first walked up to the farm, where we were shown our camping spot for the night and had the opportunity to buy a few things for breakfast in the farm shop. Then we quickly pitched our tents, because the forecast rainclouds finally accumulated. And not one minute to early – as soon as we were done it started raining. We waited up in the tents until it stopped raining and then made our way to the "Dorfschänke", the village pub. After testing for Covid-19 and all tests being negative, we rewarded ourselves for the long day on the trail with delicious burgers and cold drinks. This was a real highlight for us, since it wasn't just a meal but rather our first time in a restaurant in a almost a year, due to the pandemic.