We enjoyed a leisurely start after chatting to Timo and Lydia and their children, eventually leaving Staufner Haus after 9am. It's a great place, and it was lovely to be somewhere where folk were enjoying the ambience rather than rushing off at the crack of dawn.
We chose to ignore the E5 route, and despite later rejoining the route marked on our map, we saw no evidence of E5 signage or walkers today. The weather was perfect, if rather hot, so we felt compelled to continue our stroll along the 24km knife edge switchback of a ridge that we started along yesterday. I'm pictured on it.
'Nur fur geubte' (only for experts) signs told us that care would be needed on the final stage to Hochhäderich. We soon encountered Alexander and his nine year old son Oscar. If they could do it, so could we. It was easy enough in the warm, dry, calm conditions, with plentiful wires to grab on the more vertiginous sections.
Alexander told us over 300 alpine peaks can be seen from this ridge. We believed him, the views were stupendous on this clear day.
We disturbed a black grouse as we stumbled over tree roots that blunt the knife edge in places, and we passed a man who was taking panoramic pictures of the area using special equipment on a tripod above Falkenhütte. Sue posed under the blue sky that accompanied us all day at the 1581 metre summit of Falkenköpfe (picture). Sadly we won't be that high again until September.
Views towards Bodensee (Lake Constance) improved as we moved west along hot wires fastened to hot rocks resembling badly mixed concrete in texture, past border posts indicating that we were walking along the German border with the Austrian region of Voralberg, and the brilliantly clear mountain vista to the south remained with us.
The restaurant at Hochhäderich was closed - Wednesday is their day off - but their cool crate of drinks and an honesty box was most welcome. We'd already savoured our tuna salads and chocolate at the final summit just above the restaurant.
Alex and Oscar had been telling others about our exploits, and we seemed to be greeted not by the usual 'Hallo' or 'Grûß Gott', but by 'Respect', which in North American terms may be the equivalent of 'Awesome'!
The descent to the valley via Lochalpe (pictured, bottom) was steep but easy, with eagles or buzzards, and constant 'dripping' caused by temperatures in the low 30's Centigrade the only real distractions. Hittisau was soon reached and we thought we were nearly home.
The route through the woods past the 994 metre summit of Rotenberg was well signed at first but lacked a crucial indicator at a left fork, sending us circling on up the hill when we missed the turn. Then, having relocated the path, we found that it took us on a pretty comprehensive tour of the woods, past 14 information boards, going all the way past the Voralberg village of Lingenau before finally giving way and depositing us in the village centre.
Hay making in this pristine alpine farmland scenery was in strident progress, and tractor dodging became our main concern on the final stages of the descent.
Gästhaus Adler, where Frank, a Dutchman, speaks very good English, provided beers and an excellent meal, though Sue's eloquent request for 'boiling water' (for tea) was unfortunately misinterpreted as bubbly water - she should have asked for teewasser!
Later we were joined by an Austrian pin-up and cartography expert who kindly produced a 1:25,000 scale map and a route through the Voralberg for tomorrow, as the E5 route suffers from a massive cop out in this lovely area, by taking the bus to Bregenz.
Alan R - erudite as ever, but the 'olympic' comments are completely over our head. In three viewings of about 5 minutes maximum we've seen Rebecca win a bronze and two German fencers ... fencing, I think. Just think yourself lucky that Sue wasn't wearing her turquoise jacket(she has a complete wardrobe) or using her Yorkshire tea bags!
Anonymous - it's always good to hear from you. The tablet idea may be a good one, but how robust/heavy/waterproof are they? I'd already thought of using the camera to store images of emails etc relating to B+B and hotel bookings as we haven't really needed the pieces of paper we brought along.
I've never really had a biro problem since few of our trips (if any!) are at zero gravity!
Nightbird - great to hear from you too. Shouldn't you be soaking up the sun somewhere?!
Jules - your comments are flooding in as I write, and are always appreciated. After the annoying technical problems it's nice to return to normality.
Alan S - we hope you are ok.
1 August 2012
18km in 8 hours with 800m ascent
Number of E5ers seen today: 0
Flower of the Day - Fox and Cubs (lots in the woodland along the ridge)
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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