The Hohe Mark Steig is the main hiking route in the Naturpark Hohe Mark. Its a pretty recent addition to the hiking trail network and was opened during Corona times. Next to the main route there are tons of shorter side/theme/connection trails. The 6 main stages of the #hohemarksteig from Wesel to Olfen add up to roughly 140k (I started at the train station in Wesel). There is an extra section called “Wasserroute” looping back from Olfen to Haltern am See. All in all it added up to somewhat around 160k – and we all know what that means.
As it was a last minute decision I parked the car in Haltern to be able to have one supply/safe spot after 94k and a secured ride home. After the usual DB experience in the trains between Haltern and Wesel I start around noon from Wesel.
Here is the story of the run:
As a start into the run season with very view CPs I decided to go all in with gear. This means 3-4 L of liquid, 1-2 kg food, a bag of additional/replacement clothing, first aid equipment, a certain amount (ok a rather generous amount) of electronic (power banks/cable). All in all with backpack 10-12 kg.
The Hohe Mark Steig connects like a band the interesting areas in the Naturpark Hohe Mark. As there is a lot of connection needed long stretches of the Hohe Mark Steig are broad and straight forest/open field stretches. Also lots of km following canals/rivers both “on Deich” as well as on asphalt are included. This is worth mentioning for the pure trail guys – nothing for you. The best description would be the german race category “Landschaftslauf”. All in all a wide open, empty and flat area and the Hohe Mark Steig connects it well. The smaller areas like the Venn part at the beginning the Hohe Mark forest as well as “Die Haard” forest are nice to visit (for whatever reason some of them were pretty dark so don’t ask for too many details – I may have missed them). If you are interested in visiting the area but not interested in running it all I would plan 2-3 loop tours starting in Haltern covering Die Haard, Hohe Mark and the lake area. Should be easy to squeeze those day tours out of Hohe Mark Steig and all of those connection trails/theme routes. Also Wesel and the Venn area would make a nice day hike. Lastly to those real ultra runners: go grab an FKT. With support this should be a really fast 100 miler!
I took it easy trying to enjoy the environment as much as doable. Tried to reset the tiredness with a one hour car break from 0230-0330 in the night – repacked food and water as well and started on the last stretch.
All in all a nice little adventure. The feeling of remoteness, endless nights and disconnection with the world is back. Tempted to say finally. It´s the love and hate relationship between real discomfort and the feeling of wandering beyond which defines distance running for me.
Few more pictures:
Last not least: the marking is really good for 98% of the way. Very view sections are not perfect. The marking did not match the GPX to 100% as well – but this may be my mistake. Also there – its really close and not a big deal. Only those who zoom in on their devices would notice. One thing though: they build up new shelters along the – many of them. Which is great. BUT: there is nothing in – only a small board at the back where you can stand/lean/sit sort of thing. NO bank to properly sit and sleep. I mean – that is clearly a missed opportunity. The official banks you find plenty along the way are nice and purple but only designed so that two people can sit on them. Most of them have no back and are way to short to lay down. Can it be that they are not meant to sleep on? Can’t be or?