I have driven to Austria from Germany many times, I have even biked to Austria from Germany twice, it only made sense the next step would be hiking to Austria from Germany. I don’t know where the bursts of energy came from for me, aside from the fact I have been diligent in keeping my carb intake balanced, but just a couple days after my long bike ride my roommate and I went for a long hike.
I had wanted to hike to the Hochthörle Hütte since I first head about it last summer. I knew there was a trail along the base of Lake Eibsee so when my roommate asked me if I wanted to go for a hike on her day off I immediately knew where I wanted to go.
I assumed the trail (from where we live) would take us TO the lake, where we would then look for the trail up the mountain, however the trail we took never took us down to the lake. The trail instead continued to climb around the lake. I didn’t mind this, as I felt we were saving time avoiding going down just to go back up.
Everything was fine and dandy for the first few hours, it was a beautiful day and we were seeing a new view of the lake. Energy was good, spirits were high, and the views along the way were continually changing. My roommate MaryBeth is my favorite person to hike with, and I always feel relaxed when we’re together.
I felt relaxed 99% of the time of this hike, until the terrain changed.
Unexpectedly, with the flip of a switch, we hit the white blankets of death. I made the same mistake last April of thinking the snow would all be melted, but we’re in the middle of the Bavarian Alps…how could I make this same mistake twice? I assumed the elevation of this hike would be low enough to avoid any snow, but I was mistaken.
The snow wasn’t immobilizing, but it was deep in some spots. One wrong step sent us slipping knee deep into icy sharp snow. I now have a scar on my calf from this hike! We had already been hiking for around four hours, and were very close to the Hütte, so we didn’t dare turn around now just because of the snow.
Our spirits were still high, and we were determined to make it to the Hütte (by this time we were already in Austria, the Hütte is just on the other side of an invisible border.) The snow began to slow us down, and my map continued to say we were 15 minutes from our destination.
It said 15 minutes for close to 45 minutes. Something was off.
By this time it was nearing 1500, and we had been hiking for five hours. We were still doing great on daylight, but we were both loosing interest in finding the Hütte. We made it within 0.4 miles of the Hütte before calling it a day. My old brain would have told me how ridiculous I was for turning around within FOUR TENTHS of a mile, but my current brain was O-V-E-R I-T.
The remaining 0.4 miles were down slippery snow roads, and that’s when we knew it was time to call it. We sat where we stopped, ate a bit of food, and turned around for the ten miles back home. We left home around 1030, and arrived back around 2000. If MaryBeth and I hadn’t had a handful of other successful hikes, I’d say we were cursed to always attempt hikes we had to turn around on.
We hiked 20 miles into Austria and back, and managed to catch both golden hour and the sunset on the mountains, I’d call that a success.
Do I wish we had made it to the Hütte? Of course. Am I mad we didn’t? No. The day was full of laughs and great company, and our sore muscles reminded us of our crazy adventure into Austria…during a travel ban. What can I say, we’re rebels. 😉 (That, and I don’t think it counts as problematic when its in the mountains and you see zero other humans.)
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Q: Have you ever gotten this close to a destination and decided to call it quits?