17-Apr-2004 -- Well equipped with all accessories a modern confluence adventurer needs (Daimler-Benz (in fact, a small one), CD-player, cigarettes, fruit, water, GPS receiver, compass, cell phones, and detailed maps), Navigator Guenter and Supervisor Heinz started their expedition towards 48° N 09° E quite early in the morning (to be honest, at about 11 a.m., as breakfast had taken its time and the GPS receiver could not be provided for sooner) from their hometown Ulm.
Weather conditions were pretty rough (slightly cloudy, sunshine, about 17 degrees Celsius, wind NE at about 3 Bfd, fairly heavy gusts up to 4 Bfd, visibility not too poor), but manageable. Tyre pressure was slightly reduced in case of the necessity of cross-country manoeuvring.
So after about 1 ½ hours of concentrated driving, soon after having passed Messkirch, a town with the epithet Badischer Geniewinkel and about 10 km from the world-famous Benedictine monastery of Beuron they reached the last outpost of civilisation, a small village named Altheim, which is only 3 km away from the Hohenzollernstrasse, a culturally and historically rather interesting ringroad across the Hohenzollern area.
Near Buchheim at the south border of the Naturpark Obere Donau, just a few hundred meters west of Altheim they approached a dense forest area. As the terrain grew more and more difficult, they had to abandon the car and to walk the last few hundred meters or so towards the confluence.
Suddenly they reached a frightening warning sign (reading: “Wildlife Recreation Area – Please choose another path!”). As a first reaction, this almost drove them to despair, but when they gradually calmed down, Navigator Guenter and Supervisor Heinz decided to proceed, disregarding all dangers the upper swabian forest might have provided for them. Their first confluence point was expecting them and they should not have endeavoured so many difficulties just to fail thus short before their goal! Yet out of respect for the local wildlife (and, admittedly as well, of the authorities who had posted the sign) they decided to use a detour that took them right across a moist swamp and several deep ditches filled with water (sorry, no photos available). Next time, at least a first-aid-kit should also be provided for!
Soon after, the forest ended and a wide clearing opened in front of them with a large slope. Nevertheless the situation became even more peculiar when quite an amount of strange items appeared. As far as could be seen with the naked eye (now they realized that they had forgotten a pair of binoculars) poles had been stuck into the ground within a distance of about one hundred meters between them, each one topped and wrapped with a bundle of straw – presumably erected by the local original inhabitants. Could it be one of those notorious idol fences as can be found from time to time when confluence hunting across the world, demanding “Do not trespass this line without a life sacrifice!” (so far only reported from quite other corners of this planet (compare visit of confluence 5°N 7°E by Captain Peter on 13-Jan-2002))?
As they later learned it was a so called “Strohwisch” – a centuries old mark of the peasants to protect their pastures from flocks of sheep. Cold blooded as they were, Navigator Guenter and Supervisor Heinz spontaneously took a photo of it to ban its evil powers and immediately started their confluence dance and proudly presented
the result to the world.
As Navigator Günter and Supervisor Heinz could not completely succeed in getting a zero reading, which was slightly affecting their first confluence experience, they decided to do just another confluence on this eventful day.