Gschasifelsen – Schutterquelle ~32km
I woke up at 6:30 to a cacophony of birds chirping around me, it’s almost defeaning, the amount of yelling going on in the bird kingdom in spring. I watched the sunset, leaisurely munching on a Kind bar (one of the few bars I can still tolerate and actually like to eat), taking my time with packing stuff up. I only had 6km to go this morning and I wasn`t scheduled to meet up with Cat until 9. The sunrise wasn’t as spectacular as the sunset the night before, but it was still nice to watch the rays reach over the peaks and touch the valleys, slowly warming up the world. And warm up it did, I think it ended up being one of the warmest days of the year so far.
I left my little shelter hut at 7:30 and took my time strolling downhill towards the meeting point, passing another awesome hut along the way. This one even had a portapotty, such luxury in the woods….and a couple other hikers had stayed there the night before. I chatted with the two couples for a short while, the usual hiker topics of gear, trail and base weight….it’s the same no matter where you go hiking. After a nice people experience I continued down the hill toward a small village and the river Elz, where I sat and enjoyed the scenery, filtered some water and waited for Cat to show up.
She managed to find me and a nice parking spot and we continued on down the trail together. The trail that we walked on wasn’t anything special and if I had walked alone, it would have probably been a little annoying (since there was nothing really interesting to see), but being able to walk together, share stories and company, it was simply amazing. Especially when we took a break at the top of the climb and Cat shared her lunch with me….aaaahhhhh how glorious fresh bread with feta cheese and tomato can be. Thank you Cat!
A little more walking along forest roads, a little more conversation and then it was already time to say goodbye again. Cat had to go back to her car and I still had quite a bit to go for today’s camp. It was really crazy how many people I encountered out in the woods today, so many solo hikers, families, mountain bikers, tons of people. Especially when I came to a road crossing, I not only passed the 2 couples I had talked to this morning taking a break in the shade, but also a parking lot that was overflowing with cars and people. SO MANY PEOPLE!!!! Well, that’s what Sunday gets you…
A little further on I filtered water out of a tiny trickling stream, scooping with my cook pot. It took way longer than I wanted, but what can you do….water is essential. I was 22km into the day and still had 10km to go until camp and the next water. It was already 4pm and I wasn’t feeling the trail anymore. Forest road after forest road, with some actual roadwalking in between, not really engaging. So i pretty much went into zmbie mode for the remainder of the day. Plugged intio a podcast, trudging along the path, shutting off my brain.
About 2km before my destination my stomach let me know in no uncertain terms that I had to stop and feed it. Otherwise there would be no more walking for me today. So I sat down for a few minutes, munched on some nuts (peanuts with crispy paprika coating, yummy) and then just pushed through the remaining distance. I got to camp around 6, setting my stuff down in the small cabin. It wasn’t super inviting and had a strange musty smell to it, but at least it was out of the wind (and the accompanying pollen shower), so it was good enough for now. And a table and benches are an opportunity not to be passed up.
A short walk across a meadow brought me to “Schutterquelle”, a supposedly gushing water source. It was depressing….a small tiny trickle out of a pipe that led into an algae-infested pool. Oh well, what can you do…..So I sat my water bladder under the pipe to catch most of the trickle and waited….and waited….and waited. After 15 minutes it wasn’t even half full, but I was done with this day and hungry, and sore, so I figured I’d make do with the water I had and just collect more in the morning. When I went to pick up the bladder I accidentally bumped my hand into the pipe….and somehow I dislodged a pine cone some idiot had stuffed into it. Out came a rush of water that just kept on coming. So nice to have a full water bladder in a few seconds…LOL.
I headed back to the cabin, where one of the couples from this morning had also shown up. Kimchi Ramen and tuna for dinner (and some chili mac without the nasty frozen beef pellets for second dinner) and some polite conversation whiled away the time until it was dark. I decided to not sleep in the cabin, but rather set up my tarp outside in between some trees, shaking off a layer of yellow pollen before I was able to slip into unconsciousness. A long day, good company and a body not as sore as I had expected had me looking forward to my last day on trail the next day.
Keeping you posted…