Alarm at seven, we’ve asked for breakfast at seven thirty. We’re staying in an Aparthotel, where you basically rent an appartment but get all the services of a hotel if you want them, including breakfast. The friendly young lady who welcomed us yesterday had asked if we had any preferences and we said we’d be hiking the whole day, that we’d need something filling and that we’re not picky. The result is an impressive spread, including meats and cheeses, overnight oats, veggy sticks with a dip, fruit sticks, freshly baked bread and a piece of cake on top. We take our time, read a few page of our books and are ready to leave around nine thirty.

It’s pretty cold, but very sunny and completely windless. I’m wearing four layers of wool in increasing thickness, a down bodywarmer and woolly gloves, hat and neckscarf, so that the only visible skin is around my eyes. Snow hiking boots complete the stylisch ensemble, with compression ski socks, woolly leggings and softshell pants. We head south out of the valley

The village of Inzell where we’re sleeping is at about 700 m above sea level, surrounded by high peaks and narrow folds of valleys, excavated by gletchers in the last ice age. The plan today is to go around a smaller peak, only just qualifying as a mountain at 1181 m. Since we’re not used to moutains, we’ll avoid high altitudes and big snow fields, sticking to the official winter hiking path ways. An official winter hike is prepared, meaning the snow is packed down in a wide path, and secured from avalanches, which is reassuring. We climb up to the Falkenseebach valley, it’s an easy hike if you’re wearing the right kind of shoes, and decide to deviate from the route to see the Krottensee, a small lake nestled in the crook of the Falkenstein crags. It’s hard going, there is no piste here and we need to work to get through the knee deep snow. The view at the lake is stunning, the white snowed on the lake turned a bit blue by the reflection of the bright sky, with the steep slope beyond it lit up in yellow by the sun. A bit further up ahead, the Falkensee is equally picturesque, some low fog creepingn by as we watch.

We continue up the valley to come out near Zwingen, where we can either turn back to the village or continue on to circle around the Kienbergl peak. The path should be easy, winter hiking roads all the way, so we think we can take it and start our climb into the next gletsjer valley. Aside from trying to guess which animal made which track next to or crossing the road, we also theorize about which type of sleds would make these kinds of marks on the road. When we look north towards Inzell, we see four hot air balloons coming up, high above the mountains. We heard yesterday it’s a festival that will last the whole week, so we’ll be seeing more of those in the area. We take a tea and banana cake break when we approach civilization again, from this point it should be a half hour walk into the center of town. At this point we’re just following local signs, I’m still tracking our route on the GPS but it’s not always easy to see which paths have been cleared for winter hiking. In town we stop to buy some essential supplies: extra FFP2 masks (mandatory in most restaurants here) and hair elastic bands, impossible to go without when wearing woolly hats. We’re back at the appartment around two, make a restaurant reservation for five thirty (remember we skipped lunch) and spend the afternoon under a blanket, watching TV.

Today’s route:

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