Sunday 22 July 2007
Last night we enjoyed a lovely sunset at Edel Hütte after some beers and a nice meal. Book reading followed - I've got 'Love over Scotland' by Alexander McCall Smith, and Sue has John Grisham's 'The Innocent Man'. But by 9pm we are in bed. In our dorm for 6 people.
Sleep well. Up at 6.45. Breakfast at 7.00. Leave at 7.45. But it's a cloudy day. We are in cloud. So we look down to the flowers. There are many.
Such as this Alpine Sow Thistle.
We have Allan Hartley's Cicerone Guide (2003 edition) 'Trekking in the Zillertal Alps' and discover it has route errors. [There’s a second edition published in 2013 that may correct some of these errors.] The route would be easy to do with just a map, and perhaps less confusing. Anyway, I've just spent 45 minutes marking up the book with red ink. Suffice to say, the route to Kasseler Hütte, 80 years old this year, undulates gently over a distance of about 12 km (850 metres ascent), crossing 7 or so ridges off the main mountain chain of which we have come down the western flank.
Soon we catch up with Manfred, from Cologne, who speaks some English and is on our route. We take 6½ hours, compared with the 9 hour standard time, which Manfred is closer to. The path is excellent but does have short aided sections and the small and large boulder fields that characterise this area.
Path 519 signs on white plaques, and yellow signposts, occasionally supplement the frequent red and white paint markers. Some of the wires have recently been renewed and path 519 is currently in superb condition. Much easier than some of our recent Dolomitic paths.
We started past some friendly brown goats that live near (or at) Edel Hütte and are of the domestic variety. I saw a vole, and Manfred saw a salamander. We all saw robust and friendly sheep. And lots of flowers (see list below).
Martin reaches Popbergneider 2448m.
Stemples up to Sommerschartl.
Sue at Norfertensmauer - 2277m.
The two bed bothy at Madereggalm.
By 10.30 the cloud was thinning, but we were getting wet legs from the grass, so gaiters were on. I quickly went to t-shirt - the RAB Vapour Rise fleece is far too hot, but Sue stayed fleeced all day. We saw nobody other than Manfred - there were just the three of us on this path today. Soon we dropped below the cloud base at 2200 metres and stayed below it until we finished in cloud at 2.15.
There are good views down the valley to Stillupgrund, and back along our route, even though the peaks were in cloud.
We are greeted by a friendly guardian at Kasseler - we compare Crocs - hers are jewelled!
We are soon tucking into cups of tea (free with teewasser, and our own tea bags) and soup with frankfurters.
My right knee twinged a few times today but seems ok. Sue's boots and new Osprey Atmos 50 rucksack are potential problems, but seem ok for now.
Allan Hartley's book is a big disappointment. Not really necessary for this simple route, and surprisingly inaccurate. But it does have useful peripheral information.
The rain starts, gently, after we arrive, but the mountains are clearing. It's a friendly hut with about 20 in residence tonight, mostly having stayed here last night, or come from the valley today.
Beers were ordered around 4.30, and we relaxed in the cosy dining room reading and playing dominoes. We ate with Manfred at 6.00 - spaghetti arrabiata, and follow it with another beer. Chatted till bedtime around 9.30pm. We are on the bottom row of a bunk for 10 people. It's not full, but could sleep 40.
Not too disturbed - just a couple of snorers.
Dominoes: Martin 1 : Sue 0.
Here’s our approximate route – 12 km, 850 metres ascent.
Zillertal flowers identified on this trip
Alpine Birdsfoot Trefoil
Buttercups - various
Common Cow Wheat
Fox and Cubs
Large Flowered Houseleek
Common Kidney Vetch
Alpine Lady's Mantle
Large Flowered Leopardsbane
Black Vanilla Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Yellow Mountain Saxifrage
Alpine Sow Thistle
Spiniest and other Thistles
Mountain St John's Wort
Biting Stonecrop (and other Stonecrops)