Friday 27 July 2007
Up at 6.45am. The dining room was full for breakfast from 7am. It was hazy, and already cloud was obscuring the peaks, but it was warm enough for shorts. The first section was bouldery (pictured above) and passed the small lake where Martin camped with Mark and Julianna last year. Cloud had come in but it was still bright and we were soon free of it again, but it felt very humid.
We passed Kevin and Alison, who would descend to the valley from Kessel Alm as Kevin has a cold. Soon after, we pass Manfred. He has seen gamsbok (antelope), but we have only seen a large cobweb and heard marmots whistling.
A sharp descent to Kessel Alm, a meadow with an attractive waterfall, and two curious grey calves.
Stopped here for half an hour. Ate several handfuls of bilberries today - ripe and warm from the sun. A hot climb from there across a green meadow with loads of flowers. Views across the valleys we have traversed on the rest of the walk.
Pitzen Alm is a welcome stop - Schiewasser and Apfelsaft on a balcony overlooking the valley. The young woman comments that we are 'early'! We meet 'Alfonse' here, who we ask to say hello to Manfred when they meet.
Next, an area of pasture and rock, not far above the firs, with some climbing from the alm.
The cloud built gradually but provided some shade - it was hot. Only a few drops of rain fell whilst we crossed some boulders. The final couple of miles were on a narrow path, high above the valley, which crossed a few streams and required care.
Spotted a gamsbok just below - very pretty. (Just about visible in the centre of the picture.)
Bearded Bellflower - Campanula barbata
Sawwort - Serratula tinctoria
Only at the last ridge did we get a view of our destination, Gamshütte, just below.
The path weaved down through bilberry bushes, with views to Mayrhofen where the valley widens. Arrived at the 1916 metre hut at 2pm, after just over 6 hours walking. Interesting that the guidebook quotes 10-12 hours, and the signposts 9 hours.
Ate some lunch, then sorted out - Making beds, washing, writing postcards and looking at the view. The clouds obscure the tops but the view down is clear. Primitive washing facilities - the only shower is outside, behind a wooden screen.
We provide a welcome party for Manfred when he arrives, tired but obviously satisfied. There are only a few people here - a man and his young son, and another couple. We didn't need to book and this was the only hut we did book in advance (as it was a Friday night at the start of the main holiday season). Cloud sits at about 2300 metres, but no storms or rain - this had seemed likely given the high humidity. The hut log records only 5 British people since the start of the season on 25 May.
Final evening meal together with Manfred, who has appreciated our company. Recently retired, he was brave at the age of 67 to set out alone after his more experienced friend pulled out of the trip at the last minute. We eat Schnitzel with salad and potatoes, and Manfred provides schnapps - this time 'home brew'. We top this off with apfelkuchen, then worry about whether we have enough cash for tonight!
Later - billed paid, as usual before we adjourn to bed. We have €6 left.