Travelling sustainably through the Alps

The longest Hiker’s Diary

[06:00] I’m the last one getting up in my room in the mountain hut this morning, triggered by the others to finally get ready for hiking.

[6:30] Sunrise is at 6:46 and so I’m waiting for it outside in the cold. The mountains are already shining in a wonderful light, the valley is hidden by a sea of fog and everybody enjoys the complete silence once the wind is not blowing.

[6:46] The guys I met the day before and played cards with in the night are already packing their stuff, about to leave for the 2-hour-summit hike starting at the hut and saying goodbye to me. I told them today I’m just hiking down to the valley again and wished them good luck.

[7:05] My breakfast contained of a coffee, 2 slices of bread and some jam. I’m talking to an older couple about our plans for the day.

[7:25] I finished breakfast, looked at the time and noted that it was kind of too early to go down already. Spontaneously I decided to also hike the summit (but without my backpack) and just took clothes to be prepared for even colder air 700 meters up from there.

[9:00] I already passed the group of people I said goodbye to before breakfast and enjoyed the break at the summit waiting for them. Also realizing on how long a day can be when you’re out doing stuff early in the morning.

Astonishing views to far regions of the Alps were the price of that morning hike. I saw peaks I’ve never seen before and some I know but that are a great way off (thanks to some Apps). It was beautiful and I was happy I went up to enjoy this day from the very top. Some pictures were taken before my phone died in the cold up there.

[11:00] After a long break on the top and a small break after going down I packed my stuff and now had to descent the 1400 meters to the valley with luggage… Motivation was just the lunch break at a hut halfway.

[12:40] Reaching that one made me realize I had no plan which way I would continue after. But first I got a cake, a chair in the sun and luckily some charging for my phone. Again I met a couple and talked a bit about what they and what I was doing. They weren’t the first ones surprised by my arrival to the mountains by train and also not the first ones to tell me they came by car (even though they live nearby) or that “there are way to many E-mountainbikers today”. We talked about hikes and they finally suggested me to do a challenging descent right down to the lake, from where I have to take back the boat to the village. I appreciated that and moved on.

[14:30] Amazing views on the lake and the surrounding mountains all the time. But I was getting tired. The way was steep and I took a break thinking of swimming in the lake right now.

[15:15] Completely exhausted – as I didn’t know my legs before – I finally came down and jumped into the water. Almost too tired to swim I just floated around. The hammock in my backpack cried to be hanged, so I had to. A much needed nap was spent inside.

[17:10] Unfortunately down at the lake I was also back in touristic civilization and everybody around wanted to take the boat back… So I decided to take a later boat and relaxed at the lake with a view and the sunset in the background (I can’t even describe).

[18:33] As everyone took the boat, half of the people also wanted to take the following bus. First time unlucky today: I was the first person that didn’t fit anymore and was told to get the next bus.

[18:35] There was no problem to wait but I decided to wait at the end of the big parking lot right next to the bus stop. I was lucky enough that after seeing 3 cars passing by already the 4th was so kind to take me with her the next 7 km, so I arrived even earlier than the bus I wanted to catch.

[18:51] The hostel (I didn’t book before) just told me they have no more beds and told me to call the nearby youth hostel. With 4% of battery I did so and was told that they just gave away the last bed…

In the dawning light I was just thinking of how long this day still gonna be. Then my phone died.

[19:15] On the way to buy some dinner I stopped someone I saw at the hostel to ask for their phone quickly. She was very kind and helped me out. We checked the tourist website for free rooms and there was one mentioned to be free and reachable by foot. I called, but actually there was no more free room. Luckily I was given a number of another one. I called and got the biggest smile when I was told there is a free room and I can come directly. She told me there is just no shower in the room, but all I cared for was a bed.

[20:10] After finding out where I have to go and memorizing the route from the phone it took me another 30 minutes to walk outside the village on a dark country road, but I arrived. The owner was a (I have to guess) 90 year old lady who was totally calm and very talkative. She told me to have a seat and came back a few minutes later. She excused herself that I had to wait while in the meantime I almost fell asleep. She gave me the keys and I was the happiest person in that house.

[20:30] Ah yeah, there was the shower I really needed. I had to ask her again where it was and so I ended up showering outside on the balcony in an extra cabin without light and cold water… But I was happy and smiling on the fact that I ended up in this tiny old room, furnitered from the 50s or 60s and showering on a balcony. Anyway a cold shower could not have waken me up at that moment. I was completely relaxed as soon as I knew I had a bed, which was the most important.

[21:00] I thought again of how long a day can be, or rather how long it feels like it can be, and fell asleep. (very long)

_Felix Gertheinrich

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