Two days of worse-than-reported weather. Day 24: a very long day of trekking (29 km and around 1800m vertical gain), out of the Karwendel mountains and into the Wetterstein, through the Gleirsch gorge, the villages of Scharnitz and Leutasch, over the Hoher Sattel and the (surprisingly rather tricky) Söllerpass (2259m), towards Germany and up into its highest mountain range, the Wetterstein.
Gleirschklamm in the Karwendel
Despite a reportedly dry day, according to the forecast, rain fell for most of the day. By late afternoon, when I reached the Meilerhütte on the Austrian-German border, this had turned into a full storm. At night this unannounced storm raged with gale-force winds, so hard that the hut warden went around the hut in the morning, to check it was still in one piece!
Storm rising on the karst plateau near Meilerhütte
The silver lining of my unplanned stay on Meilerhütte: I meet two anglophone astrophysicists, and we trek together the next day (the 25th) towards Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany and the northern turning point of my trek. One of my companions, it turns out, went to the same primary school as I did in Tokyo, when we were both young kids, just one year apart. Small world indeed!
So on a still-stormy morning we head down, past crazy King Ludwig’s hunting lodge Schachenhaus, and then up the Reintal to the Knorrhütte, one of the classic waypoints on the way to Zugspitze.
A bit of afternoon sun in the Wetterstein mountains
View from near Knorrhütte
So now I’m back in Germany (for just two days), almost four weeks after my trek began. The border here is porous, hardly noticeable; the mountains feel far more real than the countries that claim them. Part of the terrace of Meilerhütte is in Austria; the hut itself on German soil – another reminder of just how artificial all of these national borders are.
Have a great day!