It has been entirely too long since I wrote a hiking post, despite the fact that we had some good hiking days this year! But luckily, I spent this gorgeous fall day holed up in the house, sucking down liquids to head off an impending cold, and sorting through photos just to write this post. Since it was such a beautiful day, I thought it would be appropriate to look back to a few other beautiful days that we spent hiking to and from the Mittenwalder Hütte at the end of August. As per usual, this is a photo-heavy post, so I’m sending it off after the jump. Click away for mountain-y goodness!
BV has been waxing poetic about the Mittenwalder Hütte and its delicious food basically since we started dating. We’ve tried to organize a hike there a few times but it never worked out for us until this year. So we hopped five trains and a bus (thanks to track work from the DB), and headed down to Mittenwald.
After a wander around town and some delicious lunch at the Brauereigaststätte Postkeller (go there, it’s delicious and lovely), we walked towards the cable car station where the trail up the mountain begins.
From the town of Mittenwald to the Hütte itself took about two hours, with a gain of about 600 meters. This was probably one of the shorter, easier hikes that we’ve done, but at the time all those switchbacks felt like a lot. The good news is that when you go up quickly, you are rewarded quickly with the views.
As we followed the side of the mountain, we came face to face with this very impressive side of the Karwendel Massiv.
In the second shot, you can see the cable car that will take you up to more than 2200 meters, if you’re feeling lazy. I did wonder about taking the cable car up, then hiking to the Mittenwalder Hütte from there, but there is a Klettersteig (climbing trail) in between the two, which rules me out. Feet on the ground friends, feet on the ground.
Shortly after this, we met another hiker on her way down who told us that the Hütte was just around the corner. I don’t know how she defined “corner” but we still had a bit of a hike to go.
We switchbacked our way onto the face of the mountainside, offering up gorgeous views over the town, and the surrounding mountains. And just above us?
At this point, BV basically started drooling in anticipation of finally being reunited with his beloved Schinkennudeln, so the thought of that, a beer, and not being passed by the people behind us spurred us to victory. We checked ourselves in with the lovely waitress, ordered cake and beer, and settled in to rest our feet with the spectacular views.
The spectacular views were accompanied by a sharp drop in temperature and a few rain drops, but we toughed it out at least long enough to eat our cake, and take more pictures of the rapidly changing skies.
Eventually though, we accepted defeat, and tucked ourselves into a cozy corner to eat our dinner, play cards, and enjoy the evening. As we were there from Sunday to Monday, it was pretty quiet. Like, really quiet. The house only sleeps 27 people, and there were six there that evening, including us. An older couple who also chatted quietly, and a man with his son, who preferred to read. I felt like I was screaming if I talked at a normal volume, so that was a little strange. And since our favorite Hütte card game, Egyptian Rat Screw, involves a certain amount of noise, we both felt a bit guilty. I was kind of hoping that they would go to bed earlier, but since all six of us were in one room, it would have been fairly pointless for them to do so. Hütte problems.
Although it’s one of the smaller houses that we’ve visited, it was delightfully cozy. The only downside is that the restrooms are outside, in back of the house, so if you need them in the middle of the night you might get a bit chilly. Personally, I got a pleasant feeling of deja-vu, walking the little trail between the restrooms and the house. Something about the chill, the pine-scented air, and the crunch crunch crunch of my feet reminded me strongly of camping in Upper Michigan when I was a kid.
Personal restroom-reflections aside, here are some shots of the cozy factor…
BV and I are both big fans of these old-school Kachelofen (tiled stove), and now we have the new goal of one with drying rack sticks around it. Goals! Although, my preference would be one with a large glass door, as there is nothing cozier than a crackling fire in winter. Or fall, when you don’t want to turn the heat on yet. Brrrrr.
After a good night’s sleep and a solid Bergsteiger (mountain climber) breakfast, we set off again. The sweet waitress had told us that there was a smaller peak about an hour away which didn’t require any climbing gear, so we decided to check it out. We didn’t get too far though, as I didn’t feel great and a tricky-looking path with ropes was only a few minutes away from the shelter. BV decided to check it out, while I decided to take pictures of small things.
BV reported back that it might be a bit difficult, and I would definitely have to balance myself. I wasn’t feeling up to it at that point, and we turned back to head down the mountain. Sometimes it’s best to leave something for next time… right?Our descent was pretty quick, and we ran into many other people on their way up. The Mittenwalder Hütte is very popular as a stopover on the way to other shelters, the top of the mountain for climbers, as well as day hikers who just go up for something to eat and come back down. Although we saw a fair number of people, it wasn’t a bit crowded, which I always appreciate. Plus, the morning light was pretty fantastic.
We even stopped and chatted to a few people, as one couple was lost, and one couple was trying to decide whether or not to continue heading up. Apparently when you have a horrific fear of heights, you can hike up a mountain as long as most of the path is forested. Too many meadows or views are not helpful. They turned around, and we saw them back at ground level drinking beer. That seems like a better choice, if heights aren’t your thing.
That Monday was an absolutely perfect late-August day. By the time we got back to Mittenwald we were almost too warm, soaking up the summer sun. Since the Isar River flows right through town, we thought it’d be a good idea to try to find a spot to stick our feet in. We followed the river and the train tracks towards the outskirts of the village, and were rewarded with a perfect spot on the riverside.
That water was damn cold and felt damn fantastic. We spent a good hour here, lounging, snacking, and drying out our sweaty socks. There were a few houses nearby, but the only people we saw were bikers or walkers on a nearby bridge. Perfect if you want to do a slightly awkward riverside costume change. Refreshed and thirsty, we set off again in search of something small with beer, to quote a Czech menu.
We walked back towards the center, and spotted a sign promising a beer garden a kilometer out of town. That sounded good so we turned onto that path and then met ALL THE PEOPLE. I don’t know where they all came from, but there they were. Families, bikers, nordic walkers, dog walkers, and the Acrophobic guy from earlier, all came together on the path to the Klamm.
I don’t think we ever found the beer garden that was in the original sign, instead we stopped at the entrance to the fairly famous Leutasch-Klamm, where they sell all sorts of goodies, as well as entrance to the gorge itself. The place was packed on that lovely day, but we managed to snag a table and a beer. We didn’t want to join the parade in and out of the gorge, so again, something for next time! Instead, we sat in the sun, watched the resident guard dog inspect the competition, and enjoyed a last, delicious, Mittenwalder beer before embarking on our journey home.
Always good to end a post on a beer picture, right?
Have you been to Mittenwald? Can you still taste the beer? Do you whine as much as I do when hiking?