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: Sunlit Snow

Reit im Winkl, Bavaria 2016

We’re planning on driving south next weekend to get our fix of mountains, snow, and snowshoes. Since we waited to go until March in 2017, we found less snow and more mud, but we tried to make at least a few hikes out of it. Though we still had a good time, I’m hoping this year’s trip looks less wet, and more like this…

Sunday Snapshots: Festivity!

Wisconsin, 2016

This is what happens when your friend and her fiancé figure, “hey, everyone will be in town for the holidays anyway, let’s get married right before Christmas!”

Which is exactly what they did. Winter weddings can be so pretty, and done for a dime if a venue is already decorated to the nines like theirs was. Major wedding hack right there. Then just get all the aunties to supply the Christmas cookie bar and it’s off to the races! Win win win. 🙂

Sunday Snapshots: Snowshoes and Solitude

Bavarian Alps, 2016

Bavarian Alps, 2016

19snowshoe-2

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: Into the Mist

Tuscany, 2012

Tuscany, 2012

Tuscany doesn’t always look like the photos in the fancy travel magazines. Sure, there are lots of golden fields and buildings crumbling under the (Tuscan) sun, but sometimes it’s downright foggy. At least, that’s what we found on a walk around La Verna a few years ago.

To be honest, pretty much every time I open my laptop or turn on my phone these days, it makes me want to run off into the forest. Since we I can’t do that, and since I can’t quite put so many of my thoughts on the world’s events into words quite yet, today’s picture is just going to have to suffice.

Sunday Snapshots: Wintry Wonderland

Oberpfalz, 2016

Oberpfalz, 2016

Though it is currently well below zero and we do have  a dusting of snow in our garden, it’s hard to compare our view to this… the driveway of our friends south of Nürnberg in the Oberpfalz. After a long night of fun and games to bid farewell to their Workawayers, we all awoke to find an absolute blanket outside. The snow continued all through the morning and was fairly appropriate…. couldn’t have them returning to Costa Rica without shoveling themselves out of the house first!

Snowshoeing Conversations: Vol. 2

Judging from my Instagram feed over the weekend, I’m currently living in the one corner of Germany that isn’t covered in white fluffiness. It did snow for about 30 minutes yesterday, and it was lovely, but it melted as soon as it hit the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to not be shoveling right now, and I’m quite alright with being able to leave the house in only my winter vest… but the GRAY. Ugh, the gray. Gray skies here make me long for the mountains, and that means it’s time for another round of snowshoe silliness.

Snowshoeversation Three:

Lovely white virgin snow meant that BV and I had lots of opportunity to dust off our Ranger Rick skills, and do a little track identification. There were lots of different animals represented, from a house cat that we tracked across the white plain all the way back to where he jumped the fence to get home; to the delicate tracks of a deer in the forest. We also found the cat’s quarry, in a large area that was completely covered with the tracks of at least one very busy mouse. My favorite though, sparked this conversation…

Hop hop hop.

Hop hop hop.

H: Hey, check it out!

BV: Ooooh, those are very nice ones.

H: So, what do you think?

BV: What do you mean?

H: Well, we are pretty far south in Bavaria.

BV: And?

H: Well if we are so far south in Bavaria, what are the odds that they belong to…. ZE WOLPERTINGER!

(And if any of you have forgotten what a Wolpertiger is, let me refresh your memories…)

Yes, one is a Wolpertinger. Beware.

Yes, one is a Wolpertinger. Beware.

Snowshoeversation Four:

We followed the trail past the amusing signage from Snowshoeversation Two, and climbed up the mountain a bit. There was an Alm further up the trail but since we were short on time, we just enjoyed the view from part of the way up the mountain. On the way up, there were two areas that were full of fallen ice from small avalanches. Even more impressive though, was a giant wall of icicles. We stopped for a few photos on the way up, and then BV stopped again on the way down. I went on down without him, until I reached a point where the path turned and I couldn’t see him anymore. I waited there, and waited, and waited some more. I was starting to get a little concerned, so I turned and started going back up. Eventually I saw his red jacket through the trees, and when he caught up…

H: Hey, Michael Scott*, what were you doing up there? Not looking at icicles from directly underneath, I hope?

BV: What? No?

H: Are you sure? Remember what Dwight said (summarizes the clip below…)

BV: No, no. There were just some things frozen and I was taking pictures of them. Not from directly underneath!

And I believed him until I saw several pictures like this one…

icicles2

Back. Up.

This kids, is too close. Back. Up.

As an illustration, here is what proper icicle photography distance looks like.

icicles1Note the safe distance from sudden and horrible icy death.

To be fair though, he did get some legitimately cool pictures of the plants that were frozen at the base of the rock.

icicles3Cool (and cold)… but remember, safety first! Dwight’s advice is not always the best, but being impaled would suck.

*Any day in which neither of us manages at least one reference from ‘The Office’ is a wasted day.

 

Snowshoeing Conversations: Vol. 1

Before I get to the main point of this post, I am happy to announce that yesterday I finally finally got to pick up my new residence permit. I’m good for two years again, so thank goodness we won’t have to repeat that whole rodeo for a hot minute. I wanted to take a triumphant leaping picture outside of our Ausländeramt, but our appointment was at 8:15am, and since I’m neither a morning person nor a jumper, I decided against it. Suffice to say that there was some skipping, and a prosecco celebration last night. You’d think after dealing with this nonsense for six years, it’d get less stressful… it doesn’t. Either way, no worries for two more years! Woo!

On to the snowshoes!

Since we weren’t able to leave the country until I had that stupid piece of plastic in my hand, BV and I decided to make a quick escape to the mountains at the end of our respective Christmas breaks. (Side note: he managed to come down with a cold, extending his Christmas break by one week, and infecting me enough to cancel one day of classes last week. Danke for that one, honey.)

He’s a big fan of skiing, but I’ve never done it, and since the mountains are full of snow, what else could we do? Answer: Snowshoe. Something else I’ve never done, but at least it doesn’t involve plummeting downhill at the speed of ice without really knowing how to stop. Unless of course, you do it wrong.

We figured out a place to stay, and a place where we could rent the snowshoes from, and set off for the mountains. Pro tip: if you’re planning on renting things from the Deutsche Alpenverein, do it early. Turns out they’re closed over the Christmas holidays, presumably because everyone who works there is, you know, in the Alps. Should’ve seen that one coming.

We opted to stay in Ettal, not too far from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It was only two overnights, but we had an absolutely perfect couple of days for it. Instead of posting all the blue sky and snow-filled pictures we took, I’ll use a few posts to share some of the silly conversations we had.

Snowshoeversation* One:

…After roughly 45 minutes of snowshoeing on our first day…

H: BV, I’m going to say something, and I would like you to remind me of it tomorrow, when I probably won’t be able to move.

BV: Oooooookay. What?

H: I’ve been in the mountains in winter a few times, but usually it’s just to do some sight-seeing kind of thing… like taking the train/cable car up to the Zugspitze, or seeing a castle or something. And I’ve always been surrounded by people dressed in brightly colored athletic gear, who are in the mountains to do cool, outdoorsy sorts of things.

BV: And?

H: And it’s kind of nice to be one of those people here to do cool, outdoorsy things. Even if neither of us are in color-coordinated gear from Jack Wolfskin. I just want you to remind me of this tomorrow when I can’t move my legs.

Luckily, as you can see from the above photo, my legs were fully functional on day two.

Snowshoeversation Two:

…Upon reaching a split in the trail with some interesting signage…

H: Soooo, what exactly are you allowed to do here?

BV: Hike… that’s about it.

H: Okay, I get most of them, but what’s up with the paragliding? It’s pretty flat here, where would they jump from?

BV: It probably means you aren’t supposed to land here, or hike up with your gear and jump from above here.

H: Well, I guess the second part makes sense, but how in the world would someone know not to land here if they don’t see the sign?? Are they supposed to pull up and take off again if they do?

BV: They would see the sign.

H: Well, at least no one will land on the guy cooking his illegal sausages.

no fun allowed

*What? Germans aren’t the only ones that can invent weird and long words.