Ice Age Eistobel, Maierhofen, Germany, 8-2017

A loud crack reverberated in the deep gorge as the sound filled the forested canyon. It stopped dead in my tracks and I looked upwards to see where the sound originated from. A large branch began falling from the forest canopy and I shouted “WATCH OUT!” to a young man crossing the bridge who froze in place with eyes as wide as saucers. Myself and the other onlookers watched in horror as the evergreen plummeted down onto the unsuspecting hiker. Thankfully the bough landed just inches from his body. We were all relieved that he remained unscathed. Occasionally Mother Nature sends us a reminder of who really is the boss. Putting aside these concerns I enjoyed the sheer beauty of the 15,000 year Eistobel Gorge in Maierhofen, Germany. The canyon was carved out during the Ice Age and the rock layers have revealed millions of years of geological history including fossilized shark teeth from an ancient sea that had earlier covered the region. One literally walks back through time with the water cascading over rocks and plunging down chutes that are filled with the sound of the life giving compound echoing off its 900 meter depth. Dramatic and unique this geotope landscape is home to numerous rare species of plants and animals that thrive in this Bavarian environment. The reserve is open year round even during winter when crampons are a must and adventurous hikers trek into the canyon to view the formations covered in snow and ice. It was another day well spent delving into the recesses of the earth.

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