Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 30 July 2012

E5 in reverse - Day 22 - Kemptnerhütte (1846m) to Oberstdorf (814m)

Although the light in the matratzenlager went on at 6am, people were slower to move than the previous night, so it was well after 7am before we went down for a well organised breakfast with no queuing. Memmingerhütte could learn a lot from this place.

Some German girls from near Cologne, students who we met over dinner last night, were munching massive cheese sandwiches outside. We usually meet people over dinner - the previous night it was an older Dutch couple, whose English was very limited compared with that of the German girls.

There had been rain in the night, and soon after we set off down the hill that leads into the snow choked Sperrbachtobel gully, the skies darkened threateningly. So we took one look back to the high summits of the Allgauer Alps (pictured, and there is much more here than E5), donned our waterproofs, and headed down the thin footpath beside the spectacular gully. For a while the rain was torrential and care was needed on the slippery path. A surprising number of people were descending - perhaps having just spent the night at Kemptnerhütte, or perhaps returning from peak bagging, or the Heilbronerweg, which looks an excellent route.

After the best part of an hour the rain eased and the sun came out, so our good weather statistics didn't take too much of a bashing.

Luckily we met very few of the day's E5ers on the narrow path that led eventually to a lovely woodland track before a lane leading to the Spielmannsau hotel and restaurant. We enjoyed an expensive coffee whilst watching a motley group of over 20 E5ers disembark from taxis and assemble for a roll call from one of their guides. Their other guide, rather worryingly, was carrying a large ice axe. We had to wonder whether he had been here before.

Although we have another week on the E5, this was the last of the E5 crowds, (we think) as the German tour companies seem to start their trips from Spielmannsau, which they mistakenly call 'Oberstdorf'. (Well, perhaps that's a little harsh, as they may meet up in Oberstdorf.)

We spent the rest of the morning strolling down lovely woodland paths that were being well used by holidaymakers, before wandering into Oberstdorf, a pleasant alpine town with a huge ski jump, at around noon.

Oberstdorf (pictured) seems to us a bit like Germany's rather larger equivalent of Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy.

An easy day!

Lunch was taken at great leisure under the canopy of Stehcafé, from where we could watch the next torrential bombardment from above at close hand but without risk of wetness.

Then it was off to beat the next shower and find the Kurparkhotel. Sure enough - there it was, in the middle of Kurpark, by the church in the centre of town. After five nights in mountain huts it was a great pleasure to enjoy a hot shower, and soon all our clothes were washed as well. Sadly the odour from our socks has been a little more difficult to dispel than the dirt that was on them.

While Sue was doing the washing I was trying without success to sort out the blog posting problem. I'd have preferred the manual labour of doing the washing.

Later, we adjourned for pizza and zabaglione at a restaurant close enough to be able to nip back in the rain without getting too wet.

Even later, many exchanges took place with Gayle, who identified the problem behind the rejection of my postings and kindly uploaded some of them by a different means. Then overnight on Sunday/Monday Google seemed to recover from their technical problem with mail2blogger functionality and some of the postings were duplicated. More would have been duplicated if I hadn't 'lost' Lechtal Day 3, but since the following day (21) has now been published I may as well try to upload day 22 from the phone and leave the missing day until I find or rewrite it!

Thanks again to Gayle for the help provided last night.

29 July 2012
12km in 4 hours with 100m ascent
Cumulative on E5 to date - 392km, 22,750m ascent
Cumulative other (on holiday from E5) - 69km, 4,400m ascent
Time spent walking in rain - 5 hours
Flower of the Day - Streptopus (in the woods below the Sperrbachtobel gully)

Itinerary -

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