I went on an organized group hike for the first time, and it didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped….
Day 1: Schönau – Gotzenalm
Woke up super early, not by choice, I guess my body was eager to get moving and hiking again. If I had known what was awaiting me, I would have stayed in bed. 😂
So I got up at 3am, finished packing and drove three and a half hours to the very southern tip of Germany. An area that is almost surrounded by Austria, only a small corridor of accessibility exists. It’s beautiful though. Königssee is a very beautiful blue-green gem of an alpine lake, framed by sheer rock faces along its shores.
I walked to the lake and tested the water, perfect swimming temperature actually. Then I had some breakfast and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. They took their sweet time so it was already 10:30am when we finally set out on our hike. And immediately the path went straight up the damn hillside. Climbing constantly we covered 10km and 1400m of elevation gain.
We sat out a thunderstorm in a mountain refuge and then hiked on in the rain. The pace of the group was more than I could maintain so I fell behind a lot. At first it really bothered me, I felt like a total fraud and a failure, but I tried to muscle through it. And you know what, I did it. I sweated like crazy and cursed a lot in my head, but I did make it to the mountain hut where we’re staying tonight.
I was glad to get there and be able to change into some dry clothes and rest. We chatted a bit, relaxed and all had dinner together. It was pretty delicious. I was apprehensive about my ability to sleep in a room with 4 strangers, but it turned out alright. I slept more than I thought but it wasn’t as restful as a night under the stars.
Day 2: Gotzenalm – Wasseralm
What a shit show. That’s all I can think of to describe the day. It started off with a pissed off group leader and ended with the cancelation with the rest of the hike. And lots of anger and frustration in between. But I’ll start at the beginning.
I woke up just before 6:30 and used the facilities, then waited for the others to get down to breakfast. Conversation over breakfast was strained, the group leader seemed annoyed with everyone and just seemed generally pissed off.
We set off at 8 to a viewpoint, where we stayed for all of 5 minutes before heading in the opposite direction.
The path was pretty nice, rocky through some forest and then out in the open, along a cliff face. I wanted to tell one of the group leaders how much this reminded me of the PCT in Washington (because she had asked what it’s like) and she just shuts me down in the middle of a sentence and tells me “to better get back to my place in line and all this talking annoys her”. Ooooohhhkaaaayyyy. What the hell biatch? I was pissed off ad for the rest of the day we pretty much stomped single file alobg the path, down and up steep inclines, with hardly a second to breathe, much less enjoy the view. I mean isn’t that what you’re supposed to do wwhe you’re hiking in the mountains? It was some stunning scenery, but I can hardly remember any of it, because I felt like an ox in front of a cart being lashed repeatedly t walk, walk faster, keep walking, no we don’t stop here, walk, no, no breaks, walk up that hill and don’t STOP.
Needless to say I was not amused and in a shitty mood by the time we got to the next mountain refuge….at 1:30pm no less. So we would have had ample time to take breaks, enjoy the views and so on.
I’ll spare you the details of how the rest of the afternoon turned out. Let’s just say that there was A LOT of discussion going on, most of it pointless, because the ‘leader’ just kept repeating how frustrating it was to ‘constantly take care of us’ and how she had ‘no time to be on her own and just breathe’. I don’t think she’s exactly suited for the job of group leader. 😂
Early on I told the group that I would not continue on with them, instead going on my own path from here on. Turns out, later in the evening the leader had ‘enough of all this bullshit’ and decided to end the hike for everyone. They would be descending to the lake the next day as well. No onewas especially cheerful when we all went to bed. But on a high note, dinner, vegetable soup as the only option, was huge and pretty damn good.
Day 3: Wasseralm – Königssee
I woke up at 5:30 and got ready to descend the mountain. I chose the most direct route, which is designated as a ‘black’ route, meaning it is difficult, strenuous and dangerous in some sections. But I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, contrary to what the group leaders thought. They had made me feel like a complete fraud and totally incapable the last two days, just because I don’t run through the mountains with no regard to what’s there to see.
So I started walking at 6 and the path descended steeply from the get go. The views were amazing, fog covering te lake looking like a fluffy cushion, with mountains framing it all around.
I have to admit, there are some really tricky sections to this trail, the Rothsteig, but if you’re careful and sure-footed you should be able to make it down to Obersee lake safely. I did slip on the last metal step and took a tumble, but it turned out alright. Only a scrape on my knee and not a fall to my death….thank you guardian angel.
I got to the lake at 9 am and stayed at this tiny beach for over 2 hours, havingsome much-needed food and enjoying the scenery. I was even able to blot out the masses of tourists passing me by, I just enjoyed the moment as best as I could.
Just as I was leaving and turning a corner I hear my name being called and it was none other than my former hiking group. It was nice to see them again and we walked to the ferry together, had some food and some nice conversations. It was a pretty good ending to a partly bumpy excursion.
I don’t know if I’ll do one of those organized trips again, because maybe it’s true what one of my fellow hikers said: ‘You’re just too independent.’
Until next time…keeping you posted.