It was cold last night..oh so cold. I woke up constantly, because of some draft or other hitting a sensitive area of my body, giving me chills. Clearly, I’m not used to this lifestyle anymore. I remember clearly a time when I woke up in almost freezing temps and heading out in shorts…oh well, what to do about it.
I did wake up fully with the first light, as usual, but I stayed snuggled up in my quilt until I saw the sun peeking into the valley. As I sat up I was greeted with a pristine morning, clear air, sunshine and a tiny bird twitching its tail and hopping back and forth right in front of my little shelter. Not a bad way to wake up…beats an alarm clock any day.
I packed up slowly, grabbed a cereal bar for breakfast and started walking downhill along a small river. There were some waterfalls not too far into my day and a pretty steady descent for the first hour, followed by some roadwalking. Along this road I suddenly heard yelling, pretty insistent, just before I was almost run over by a pretty big dog. I guess pupper wanted to see who was walking by his territory and came charging up. I stood stock still (he startled me and also…he was BIG) until he was appparently satisfied I wasn’t a threat and decided to listen to his owner’s calls. Phew…
A little more roadwalking, a little more downhill, crossing a road, and then….oof, the first uphill of the day. It was all still in shadows, a trail climbing in a ravine, always next to a stream. Beautiful, but also pretty cold. I was in shorts and just refused to stop to put on layers, I just kept moving. Uphill always warms you up quick enough anyway. It wasn’t too long before I made to the top of the first uphill push, taking a break on a conveniently placed bench by some huge boulders. I finished my breakfast bar, had some water and then continued on climbing some more.
Across another road, saying hi to the construction workers there, then up some more on wide forest roads. I mostly find these super boring to walk, but it gave me a chance to call my mom, chatting with her a bit to pass the time. Not too long after I hit the last uphill push, conveniently marked with a pretty cheeky sign. It basically says that if you can manage the uphill climb to the hut in less than a half hour, you do not need to see a doctor yet…albeit in the very heavy dialect of the region. I lived in the area for about 3 years, so I was fine understanding it, others might have a slightly more difficult time of it. The switchbacks weren’t bad at all, they reminded me of the PCT again, and needless to say I managed the climb just fine…in about 15 minutes I was standing at the top.
The hut was closed of course, but there were some benches outside, a running well and even a self-service station with a few drinks available for purchase. All that was left was beer though, and I didn’t really want that, so I made do with water. But….I found a power outlet and used the time I took for lunch to charge my phone…..ah, what would the modern hiker do without technology. I made some Ramen (yes, I STILL love to eat it) and just enjoyed the view and the sun drying my drenched shirt. A few people came by, but I didn’t feel like chatting, so after about an hour I packed my stuff and continued on.
The trail led into the woods, no more views sadly, and then all of a sudden turned sharply downward. And somehow, what had been amazing trail so far, turned into almost a bouldering experience. Barely marked, very, very steep and rocky, it was NO FUN doing that with a heavy pack. What shold have taken me 30 minutes max turned into almost triple that. I dropped about 520m/ 1760ft within two miles. Weaving around rocks, trying to find sure footing while being pushed downhill by my pack, I was pretty exhausted by the time I made it to the bottom. Legs slightly shaking, I stumbled further along, enjoying the trail leveling out again.
It was hot out today, the sun blazing down mercilessly as the afternoon progressed. At least the next few miles were level walking, along the river through a valley and a very stretched-out village within it. I decided to take a breather around 5pm. I was out of water at that point, the source next to an abandoned creepy (murdery) cabin was just a dirty trickle with a bunch of trash. And that’s when the difference between backpacking in Germany and backpacking in true wilderness was most obvious. If I had been on a trail somewhere in true wilderness, with nothing you’d consider civilization around for miles and miles….I probably would have put on my big girl panties and sucked it up, struggled up the last climb of the day with yucky water from a nasty stream. BUT, since I was literally in a town, had cell service and within a half hour drive of my friend….I caved…and called her. She was kind enough to come rescue me, giving me shelter for the night, pleanty of water and a nice meal….and great company. Thanks Cat :-* !
So after a pretty amazing, hard, long, hot and sweaty day, slightly sunburned, I was in an actual bed for the night. But….I was determined to keep walking. How that turned out…I’m keeping you posted!