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vicino a Ruitzhof, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)
The hike starts at the parking of the Vennbahn station of Reichenstein, near the Reichenstein Abbey. You cross the cycling path and walk up into the woods past the border stones. About 600 m further you come to a rocky outcrop called Richelsley, with a large cross on top (Kreuz im Venn). A small cave with a Mary statue (Mariengrotte) can be found at the foot. From Richelsley you continue on quiet forest roads (largely paved) around the Pannensterzkopf hill. You descend towards the valley of the Hill/Helle river. Just before you descend you have a great view across the valley towards the Grande Fagne. Below, near the river, you find the Pouhon de Herzogenhügel, a source of ferruginous water. You cross the river and follow a small trail through the moors in the beautiful Helle valley, partly on boardwalks. At the Petit Bongard bush you turn right and follow a trail through the wood until you get to the edge of the Grande Fagne. A single path takes you straight through the moors. In the first section you pass a small lake, typical of the area. It’s called a pingo or palsa, a small lake created by the melting of a lens of ice. A bit further you pass the Geitzbusch, a forest with a lot of dead trees in the middle of the moors. You pass this forest and head for the next collection of dead trees, the Noir Flohay. From here the path turns left towards the boardwalk from Baraque Michel along the Helle. You follow the boardwalk upstream until you get to the Belgian-Prussian border stone. Here you turn left on another boardwalk along the Fagne Wallonne straight towards Botrange. Near Botrange there is a viewpoint across the moors. At Botrange, there is a restaurant, and a small hill with stone steps bridging the gap between 693 m altitude and 700 m (the Baltia tower). Parallel to the main road you walk to the nature center, where there is a small restaurant (‘Fagnetaria’) as well. You cross the road and walk northeast along the Fagne Wallonne and the woods. You turn right on a forest road until you get to the Sentier de la Roer, a small track through the woods taking you along one Roer branch to the other. You then cross the young river and walk on the other side of the Roer until you get to a forest road bridge across the river. A path takes you along the Bosfagne moor before you cross woods to the Nesselo moor and the Scheidbach. Just past this moor I went left through the Rurbusch, but found at the end that the track was off-limits to hikers. I replaced the track for this part with an alternative track, right and then left twice getting you to the same point (the waypoint marked Rurbusch). You follow the forest road, turn right until at the end you walk through grass on a minor path and another minor path through the woods until you get to the forest road. You follow the road until the turn-off taking you to the Schwarzsee, a small reservoir in the Schwarzbach valley. You then follow the valley on a forest road and then a track until you get to the German border. You cross the stream and the border and then walk up into the Ruitzhof enclave. This piece of land is completely surrounded by Belgian borders (part of it the Vennbahn), and consists of pasture with good views of the Eifel. You leave the enclave on the other side and walk back to the starting point.