Schmalah See

Brilon Forest (51.322942 | 8.564538)

In the river

Naturally designed dam at the end of the Schmalah valley.

They say you never get into the same river. With respect, this is also true for lakes. Now I'm standing for the third time on the same spot on the shore, where the Schmalah reservoir is allowed to overflow when it has accumulated too much. And yet each time I look at a completely different lake. On my first visit, I found it boring: too artificial, too quiet, not spectacular enough. Last year, at the end of a long dry summer, the water level was very low and I saw only lack, paucity, something was missing. Today I am here again. A rainy day in spring, the lake pours downhill over a wide bed of boulders, white haze rises from the surrounding spruce glades and suddenly I realize: I like this lake.

Das Wasser fließt über Steine aus dem Überlauf des Schmalahsees

The signs were not very good for the beginning of a wonderful friendship when I started my hike at the fire oak. It was raining cats and dogs and the towering work of art on the L 743, which is dedicated to the elemental power of fire, could hardly be looked at without it dripping into my eyes. I confess: I'm not one of those enthusiastic wind-and-weather hikers whose mood is literally beaded by constant rain. From the busy country road, the forest path led down into the valley of the Schmalah. Step by step, the noise level continued to subside, and it also became quieter inside me. I thought about how pointless it actually is to resist things that I can't change. In this case: the rain. And how liberating it can be when I can simply accept moments of life as they are.

Blick auf den Schmalah See

Perhaps it is thanks to this mental approach that I now look at the lake with completely different, benevolent eyes. Near the shore the water level is smooth, in the middle of the lake the water ripples and shines silvery, even now, under a dark cloudy sky. A pair of mallards paddles gently rocking forward. On the shore, beech and birch trees perform a slow-motion veil dance in the rising steam. A still water, deep in thought.

The walk from the fire oak to the water reservoir has sensitized me to the perception of contrasts. I notice at the spillway that there is a tingling friction as the water begins to move. Stagnant becomes flowing, the silent becomes the quietly chattering. As I set off from there to walk around the lake, I notice another contrast. Around the dam wall, the grass is mowed in neat strips, shorn short like a golf lawn. As I continue, the shore becomes more and more natural. Dense bushes alternate with wild meadow, light brown leaf carpets lead up to the waterline, fallen trees get a burial at sea. For long stretches, I forget that this is a constructed reservoir.

Wasserüberlauf mit Weitblick auf den am Schmalahsee

When I arrive back at the starting point after completing the circumnavigation, my view has changed again. I got to know different lake faces and now I know that there are two reasons why I can never stand at the same body of water. One, because that shiny mirror is always reflecting new sky colors, seasons and weather conditions. The other is because I, as the observer, am never the same either: My inner emotional landscapes, mood colors and streams of thought are also constantly changing. The living enters into resonance with the living. Always the same, always different.

Author: Michael Gleich

A still water, deep in thought.

Michael Equal

The Schmalah See is best reached from:

Hiking parking lot Feuereiche, hiking board at the Feuereiche on the Rothaarsteig, Olsberg Bruchhausen.

Here you will experience Olsberg'snature in all its beauty. This medium-length tour has a little bit of everything: Many highlights along the way, a natural trail and last but not least a beautiful half-timbered village with cozy refreshment stops.

For further information please contact the Tourist-InformationBrilon-Olsberg: Tel: 0 29 62 - 97 37 0, E-Mail:

Blick von den Bruchhauser Steinen
Schmalahtal circular trail (Wanderbares Deutschland quality tour)
Difficulty: Medium | Distance: 8.5km | Duration: 2:31h | Ascent: 225m | Descent: 225m
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