25-Apr-2004 -- The occasion of having a digital camera at hand over the weekend, as well as the perfect climate (some sun, some clouds, a cool breeze) for confluence hunting, gave us the spontaneous kick to do it once again... After a number of visited Confluences abroad in Turkey and Morocco, I thought it would be high time to visit at long last the second closest Confluence to my hometown Mörlenbach, situated only about 69 km to the SSE.
Moreover, already knowing from the previous visits that the Confluence is located in a forest, I was convinced that this time of the year would also be the best season to visit it: A forest in winter looks rather sad and bleak, and during the summer and autumn, the dense foliage would most probably obstruct the reception of the GPS satellite signals, and thus encumber seriously the final location of the correct spot. But in springtime, a forest looks marvellous with its fresh green leaves, and the canopy is not yet as dense as in summer.
Accessing this Confluence is quite easy; we took the Autobahn south, then continued SE on countryside highways via Bruchsal and Bretten. All the way through the hilly region we saw lots of beautiful cherry and apple trees in blossom. Just outside the small town of Hohenhaslach, the Confluence is located on a tree-covered hill. One can leave the car at a parking site for forest promenaders, just at the foot of this hill and about 640 m ENE of the confluence spot. We continued on foot, following a rather broad and well-prepared dirt road into the forest. After some turns, the road led away from the Confluence, and we started following smaller and partly overgrown paths. Finally, we arrived at a better forest road again, and after some scrambling through scrub and nasty bramble twines (unnecessary, with hindsight), I eventually located the Confluence 49N 9E close to a forest road.
Although the foliage overhead was still somehow scanty, it was nearly impossible to get a stable display of zeros on the GPS receiver. So I did a lengthy "confluence dance", at times closer to the forest road, at times on the adjacent hill slope, until I could finally record the magic zeros on a small knoll beside the road (visible behind my son and me in the picture). It was now nearly one o'clock p.m. (UT + 2), the GPS receiver indicated an EPE varying between 5 and 8 m, and an altitude of approx. 380 m (also slightly varying with time). This part of the forest was marked by a tag showing the name of the town Sachsenheim-Hohenhaslach, the forest district numbers 6/4, and the name "Salzleckendeich" ("Salt-lick Dike").
Before returning to our car, I checked the position of the confluence info board placed near the Confluence some years ago (see visit #2). In fact, it is not located at the WGS84-confluence, but instead some 55 m NNE of it. From the info board, a hiking trail leads nearly in a straight line down the hill and back to the parking site. This trail is marked by a blue cross on white background, and everyone intending to visit this Confluence should not become tempted to follow the broad and inviting forest road from the parking site (as we did), but use the smaller hiking trail with the blue cross-marking instead. And watch out for the mountain-bikers that use this trail, too!
Before returning home, we visited the very impressive Cistercian monastery at Maulbronn, a World Cultural Heritage site, as registered by the UNESCO, which is located 14 km west of the Confluence. Nowadays, there are no longer any monks, the whole ensemble is a wonderfully preserved medieval site with a Romanesque church, cloistral and profane buildings, surrounded by walls and moat, and containing nowadays museum, restaurants, souvenir shops and administration.