Since we finished our walk so early yesterday, we decided to slow down a bit: up at seven thirty, breakfast at eight and we start walking around ten. It should be another sunny, cloudless day and I put on the same combination of layers. Our route starts from the hotel, leads us eastward out of the valley and then takes us up the Bäckeralm. Alm means alpine meadow, Bäcker is probably a family name, in any case it’s a location at the top of the hill with a restaurant, reachable by a route prepared for winter hiking. Though I have the route mapped out in a navigation app, we choose initially to follow the local signs, leading the walker from one hamlet to the next. It’s pretty cold at the start, the sun is up but we’re in the shadow of the moutains and the tips of my ears are getting tingly from the cold under my woolly hat. We’ll turn north soon and start walking on the south facing slopes of the Bäckeralm where it will be warmer because of the sun.

After a bit of confusion between summer and winter hiking routes (the summer route is completely unfindable under all the snow) we start our off-road hike at Einsiedl, a farm with a church and a parking lot for hikers. The path is hard packed snow, I wonder what kind of machine they use to get this effect.. The turn we take to start our climb has a little sign that Bäckeralm is closed, we do see some logging activity, but since nothing was marked on the website for winter hiking we assume at least some of the roads will be open. I ask a couple overtaking us, towing a sled and carrying a baby in a backpack, and they explain that the closed sign is for the restaurant at the top, but that the road should be clear.

We do encounter a few people on this hike, some lonesome walkers with dogs, three middle-aged ladies each towing their own sled upwards, even a cyclist on an electric mountain bike, this place is popular! The path is now cleared of snow and you can see patches of gravel. Nevertheless, it looks like people come up one side of the mountain with their sled and then just slide down the other, hopping off when they encounter a gravelly patch. We pass such one lady sledding down, followed/preceded by a dog, they both look like they’re having the time of their life.

We reach the top of our tour around noon at 1024 m, where we have a great view over the Inzell valley and the mountains just beyond. We can see the two peaks that we circled yesterday, as well as our hotel at Inzell. It’s such a cliché, but the village is surrounded by a fluffy blanket of snow, with the outlying hamlets sticking out in gradations of brown and tan.

On our way down we plan a bit of a detour/shortcut/alternative to see some uncleared snow. Much more tiring, but also much more fun. We plow our way down the mountain towards Hutterer, I must admit I’m not certain if we followed a path or a frozen rivulet near the end there. Nevermind, we end up exactly where I planned and again follow the local signs back to town. We see more and more people, everybody says hello, most even with a genuine smile. I politely ask one such a person what it actually is they say, I say Gute Morgen or Grüss dich, but the locals use a different word. Apparently it’s ‘Servus’, which can mean hello or goodbye or really anything in between. I try it out on the next few people we encounter and nobody bats an eye.

Back at the hotel around three, we spend the afternoon chillaxing in the sauna room, two hot sessions divided by some reading in one of the recliners. The proprietor told us we’re all alone today and we enjoy our spa afternoon in peace and quiet. Out for dinner tonight (on foot), tomorrow is a resting day, which means no long hikes but a small car excursion to something cultural nearby, probably Herrenchiemsee.

Hiking info:

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