The weather in Bavaria is slowly starting to change, and there is already snow on some of the surrounding mountains. I am not a snow hiker, and while I have been loving bike rides more than hiking lately, I made sure to get in a couple more hikes before the snow covers everything it touches.
Please don’t skip fall though, it’s my favorite.
There is a mountain right behind where I live that I have been eyeing everyday since I arrived. The mountain is called The Kramer, and it’s one of the more intermediate hikes. This meant I didn’t want to hike it solo, and it took a while to find someone with a free schedule to hike with. They say wisdom comes with age, and I have to say it’s true.
I used to venture off on solo hikes regardless of the terrain, and now I am more conscious of my safety. (My parents will appreciate this.)
It’s a good thing too, because this hike was SK-ET-CH! Granted, we (my roommate and I) went on a day it was raining (which isn’t typically a big deal for me) with limited visibility. We also planned to go the “easier” route, but discovered it was closed that day. I’m not usually one to give up easily, so we decided to go the “harder” route.
How bad could it be?
Long story short: I almost cried because I was so scared. The trail itself wasn’t overly difficult physically, but the higher we got, the steeper the drop offs on the side were. The trail was made up of loose rocks most of the way, and one wrong move meant a slip and slide to death. OK, so I’m being dramatic, but it was honestly scary at times.
So much so, that we made it about 700ft from the summit and decided to call it quits. It got to the point where it was no longer enjoyable. We were both feeling uneasy about the path (perhaps in better weather it would be ok) and decided to turn around.
The hike took us nearly nine hours, mostly due to moving so slow at the top because we were literally crawling.
Although we were only a handful of feet from the top, it would have likely taken another 45-60 minutes. We got back down and it was dark by the time we made it home, so it was a good thing we turned around when we did. I plan to try this hike again, but not in shit weather, and not from this side of the mountain.
All drama aside, I was really proud of myself on this hike. Not for my physical accomplishments, but for my mental accomplishments. This is the first hike I’ve not finished where I didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. When I first started hiking frequently in 2014, not summiting wasn’t an option. The summit was the goal.
These days I try to enjoy the journey and the company more than the summit. I felt such emotional strength to not only accept defeat, but be proud of my decision to turn around.
Another hike I didn’t officially summit here was back in April, when I thought it would be a good idea to attempt to climb the Wank when there was still snow on the mountain. I thought I was closer to the summit than I actually was, but because I didn’t officially reach the cross (there was far too much snow and it was impossible to get to) I knew I needed to hike this one again.
We had an unexpected nice day in Bavaria a bit ago, so a group of seven of us decided to hike the Wank to take advantage of the weather. Three of the people and I worked with at Yellowstone last summer, and we hadn’t spent much time together since arriving in Germany.
We all arrived at different times (I’ve been here the longest, and one just arrived last month) and this was a great hike together.
The view from the summit of the Wank is unbelievable. I have been making an effort to sit and savor more when I reach a summit/reach a destination I physically worked to reach. I used to hit a summit, and sit for maybe 15 minutes before leaving. It would sometimes take hours to reach the summit, why wouldn’t I appreciate it more??
We hiked the Wank after work, and we were some of the last people at the top. We stayed at the top for about an hour before heading back down. The sun was setting by the time we were halfway down, providing a beautiful contrast to the surrounding mountains.
Sometimes we win some, and sometimes we loose some. I “lost” the summit on the Kramer, but I won the summit on the Wank. I lost the summit of the Wank back in April, which just means I will win the summit of the Kramer at another time. It’s ok to stop, step back, and reevaluate things.
It’s ok to readjust and plan for a better route – whether it’s on a hike, or anything else in life.
I catch myself cringing when I tell people how old I am, but I think it’s partly because I am surrounded by people younger than me. Truthfully, I am so happy to be out of my 20’s and being 30 is freaking awesome. I am wiser, I am stronger (mentally), and I am caring less and less what others think about me as each day passes. Life lessons make a bit more sense these days, and for that I love being in this decade of life.
Q: How do you handle situations like my Kramer experience?