Snowshoeing Inzell

Since last year’s attempt at snowshoeing was in March and basically a very wet and muddy bust, we were extra determined this year. That determination did not, however, mean that we reserved a place way in advance, which meant that we ended up going to Inzell, a place we knew nothing about. Why Inzell? Well, there was an AirBnb available and it was not as insanely expensive as the rest of the options in the area. It turned out to be an excellent location though, with piles of fresh, fluffy snow everywhere.

We were joined on this excursion by my sister, fresh off her 6-week European Grand Tour. She only had a few weeks left on her tourist visa, but luckily we were able to squeeze this little extra trip in.

After a loooong drive through the Bavarian countryside, in which we turned approximately 300 times without finding a bakery*, we arrived at our destination. We weren’t staying directly in Inzell, but in a village about a kilometer away. The village was entirely compromised of these grand old Bavarian farmhouses, and we were delighted to find that ours was particularly cozy (not to mention, nearly 600 years old).

Our host was kind enough to provide us with a map after we told him of our snowshoeing plans, and assured us that we’d find more than enough possibilities nearby.

Car unloaded and nerves calmed, it was time to get our bearings. We had spotted a path and the yellow signs for hiking paths at the end of the village, and decided a walk was in order…

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Sunday Snapshots: Mountains, What Else?

Berchtesgaden, 2013

August is my birthday month, and for the last few years that has involved hiking. There were a handful of other August trips in the last 8+ years abroad, but since no photos from them are jumping out at me, expect a whole lot of mountain on Sundays this month.

31-Day Challenge: Day 20

Yesterday we walked through seemingly endless fields of grapevines. The sun was hot and the wind barely blew.

Today we hiked up 800 meters to a shelter. While we stopped for beer and a snack, I stepped outside to take a few pictures of the ever-changing skies. As I turned to go back into the house, something soft and cold hit my hand. It was snowing.

We’d been watching rain showers pass over the valley and peaks across from us, so of course we didn’t expect to escape it totally. There was something special about it; watching out the window as the soft drops fell, chatting to the Wirtin on the first day open of the season. That was as unplanned as the snow, and felt as lovely.

When people think of Italy, they think of the Mediterranean, brightly colored houses spilling down to the sea. They think of Rome, of Vespas and ruins. They think of Tuscany, of golden sunsets and dusty hills, vineyards and villas.

But this place?

I had never really heard of South Tyrol before coming here, and my theory is that the Germans are keeping it secret. It’s got all the charm and the same language as South Bavaria, with a slightly different accent and better food.

The area we’re staying in has one of the most striking landscapes I’ve ever seen. The views in the valley are lovely, all pastoral with a mountainous background. But when you go up?

You have to work for it, but the result is worth so much more than I can express.

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Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.

31-Day Challenge: Day 17 

Peeking over the green top of the mountain in front of me are a few jagged, stony spikes. From the altitude of our little hamlet, they don’t look like much. A steep, serpentine climb up the grassy hillside behind the village starts to reveal more. 

Running into a thin road, we continue along, passing farmhouses where cats sun themselves and cows munch grass. Coming past a chapel perched high up, we wonder who visits. Turning around, we realize that after the short and steep climb, a whole new world has emerged. 

Clouds wisp around high peaks still coated in snow. The light changes constantly, making one photo unimaginable. 

Leaving the road and turning towards the forest we decide against going higher now, instead aiming towards the grassy fields and scattered chalets surrounding the valley far ahead. 

A long shady walk through the forest brings decision time again. The first farm is just ahead but we’ve lost height. Seeking the sun and a less-populated place, we turn left up a gradually sloping forestry road. 

Small animals dart across the road and birds chatter their voices. The sound of a chainsaw behind us gets fainter and fainter as we climb. In the deep, shady places, snow still lingers. More moss hangs from the tree branches and blows across the path, proving the quality of the air up here. It sways in the breeze; the wind is picking up. 

The trees to our left are thinning as the path evens out. Ahead of us the view opens up as the trail gently curves off to the right around the mountain. 

A long valley twists ahead far below us, a road winding down its center, towns dotted along the way. 

We choose to turn left again through the forest, the trail markers promising a meadow. Finally after a few more twists and turns, a fence appears in the distance. Between the trees a grassy expanse is dotted with wild flowers. It won’t be too long before the cows are driven up but for today it was only us, our backpacks filled with bread, cheese, sausage, and wine, and one running deer, to enjoy the view we’d been looking for. 

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Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.

Sunday Snapshots: Snowshoes and Solitude

Bavarian Alps, 2016

Bavarian Alps, 2016

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The downside of picking a major winter sports destination for your snowshoeing weekend is that the village is chock-full of people. The upside? During both of the days that we spent five or six hours tromping around on the mountains in said snowshoes, we saw two other people doing the same. Everyone else was on the ski slopes, or doing rounds on the cross country ski trails that ran through the valley below. We were 100% on our own.

Was that slightly alarming when it started snowing like crazy a few hours into a hike? (That would be blowing snow in the picture above… not smoke.) Yeah… it was. But we lived to tell the tale. Plus, there were plenty of restaurants in town open for dinner when we came back to civilization, thank goodness! A couple of hours trekking through fresh snow really works up the ol’ appetite. 🙂

Sunday Snapshots: Gray Mornings

hochrieshuette

Hochrieshütte, April 2014

Spring of 2014 was unseasonably warm around here. So much so that we were able to head to the mountains for our first hike of the year in the middle of April, something that is almost unheard of! Many of the mountain shelters, especially those at higher altitudes, don’t even open until May, typically around the Pfingsten (Pentecost) holidays.

On this hiking trip we climbed up to the Hochrieshütte, which is located in the Chiemgauer Alps. It’s not too far south of Munich, and offers a beautiful view on clear days to the Chiemsee and the higher Alps to the south. Though the shelter was open for the season, as you can see from the photo, there was definitely still some snow at the top. Going up was relatively okay, but the chilly morning and  icy/misty weather that we woke up to made the decision to take the cable car back down an easy one. It’s nice to be able to take advantage of that, considering that at most mountain shelters it’s not an option!

Gone Hiking: A Trip Over Reit in Winkl

Today felt almost as though the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky had flipped a switch. We had been enjoying the most gorgeous golden autumn weather, but this morning the sky was gray, the wind whipped clouds across the sky, and leaves flew past our windows. A week ago, we were staying and hiking in the Alps, and the contrast could not have been more striking.

riw2

Greetings from Reit im Winkl!

As with most of my ‘Gone Hiking’ posts… this one is photo-heavy so click away…

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Gone Hiking: The Mittenwalder Hütte

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!

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Silly Questions, Mountain Answers

On more than one occasion, friends have incredulously questioned the fact that I enjoy hiking in the mountains. Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Friend: So you like this hiking thing, huh?

Me: Ummm…. yes? If I didn’t like it, I probably wouldn’t do it… it’s kind of a lot of work.

Friend: Yeah,  I wouldn’t do that.

This confuses me to no end. Perhaps I don’t look like the type of person that hauls themselves up and down large expanses of rock (see: This Guy), or perhaps they just don’t get why anyone would do that for fun. But I do, and I love it.

Ages and ages ago, I wrote this post about why I love the German mountains, and every word of it is still true.  After this weekend’s trip, I thought I’d share two more reasons why this question baffles me.

I give you: Sunday’s sunset…

hochries sunsetAnd if that doesn’t convince you, how about Monday’s sunrise…

hochries sunriseYes, that is a very poorly placed flagpole, at least from our room’s window.

Flagpole or not though, those views aren’t happening at sea level.

So. Does that clear it up for anyone?

 

*Ironically, this Wednesday post is brought to you because I’m home sick from a cold that came on after sweating my way up and down this mountain.

So. Worth. It.