We enjoyed a leisurely start to a hard day. Breakfast at 8am, a quick supermarket visit, and we were on our way, under blue skies, in shorts and t-shirts.
The only flat section of today's walk was on the other side of the Inn river after crossing the motorway. Soon we were climbing and dripping, on the path that skirted the cliff where someone was already climbing, high on the rocks above us.
Beyond a memorial to Alois Bogner (5/11/1862), red and dark red helleborines lined the path, which dipped in and out of the shade of pines, past lizards and backpackers. The path was exposed, high on the walls of Zammer Loch, a narrow ravine where far below the river cut through. (Apparently 'loch' means 'hole' in these parts.)
Surefootedness was required due to the long drops to our left. The trees clinging to the steep sides wouldn't have broken a fall.
Eventually the path entered less precipitous woodland and we reached a wide green pasture, with tall purple monkshood. Haflinger horses were grazing, and a small cabin shortly before the side path to Württemberger Haus was serving drinks and luxurious plates of food. We'd met a group of 26 leaving the cabin but by the time we arrived another group of 20 had taken all the tables.
But huge glasses of Apfelschorle were produced quickly for us. In view of the heat, it was most welcome.
A huge number of people were met on today's route. E5 starters from Oberstdorf on Sunday. Soon after leaving the cabin we met another large group, this time with large dogs - what was going on? During the course of the day we must have met over 200 people. Another couple were going in our direction.
Beyond the burning heat outside the cabin, rickety wooden bridges crossed the river a couple of times, and the gradient for a while, on a path bordered with round-leaved wintergreens, was less steep.
Lunch was a quick tuna salad and chocolate in the shade of some pines. The path followed the river as the trees turned to shrubs and the views in this high valley became more impressive. Just before the gradient steepened again, a yellow bears-ear primrose shone out from below a bush, and pink primroses grew nearby. From here the going was steep and hot, but the flowers were an excellent distraction. From the alpenrose zone there were zones of other flowers - kidney vetch, the yellow primrose, trumpet gentians, then alpine pennycress, purple pansies, rock jasmine and snowbells as we neared the top of the pass, Seescharte, at 2599 metres. It was a narrow cleft, with a new and beautiful view (pictured), down to some small lakes and the Memmingerhütte, with a fine mountain backdrop.
The descent to the hut was steep and narrow, particularly next to a stream, and the final flat stretch across a green meadow and past a small lake was a relief.
Memmingerhütte has about 140 beds, and it was very busy. Manuel spoke good English and showed us two our sleeping place - two 'overflow' mattresses on the floor in the large matratzenlager, but separate to everyone else. It was strange but it worked well.
Others were less fortunate - camp beds in the winter room, mattresses in the basement, etc. Nobody is turned away.
Rehydration was achieved with a litre of teewasser.
The evening was sociable but also strange. The dining room was full, so we sat outside, but grey clouds were building and it began to rain. We managed our soup, and part of our goulasch, spätzle and salad, before thunder and lightning and heavy rain started. This was unfortunate as there was no room for us in the hut. We adjourned to the porch, where we finished our meals on our knees, much to the amusement of others.
When the rain turned to hail the porch was bombarded, so we moved further inside, where our dessert eventually caught up with us. It was washed down with beer, whilst in conversation with new friends from Holland, Edwin and Gertjan (pictured). They were camping nearby and had been walking some interesting paths.
With folk heading to bed around 9pm, we were able to sit at a table for a while before adjourning to our mattresses in time for lights out at 10pm.
Alan R - so what should the replacement be? HTC? Samsung? Nokia? i?
Gayle - thanks for your sympathy. I'm still struggling with the space bar but have improved my technique!
24 July 2012
13km in 7 hours with 1850m ascent
Flower of the Day - Bears-ear Primrose
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange