Hiking & Biking – Birkkarspitze 2749 m, Is it doable in one day?

Birkkarspitze was actually not my plan for this weekend, but as I could not do the hike I had planned in Innsbruck, this was a nice plan B. This is not very easily accessible hike, specially when you want to do it with one day.

Birkkarspitze is the highest peak in Karwendel mountains, I actually thought that Westliche karwendelspitze was the highest one and that I was on top of karwendel when I did Mittenwalder klettersteig. Turns out that it is actually Birkkarspitze 😀

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If you want to hike Birkkarspitze in one day the options are to bike into the Karwendeltal or Hinterautal. The advantage of choosing Karwendeltal is that you will have a hut on the way back and you can do a nice loop, including the ridge over Ödkarspitze. From Hinterautal you can only do Birkkarspitze and you will need to go up and down the exact same path. We did the Karwendeltal route, If I decide to only hike Birkkarspitze, I will do it via Hinterautal.

So our route was the following (Outdooractive link):

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This was the first hike where I bike to the starting point of the hike. I just bought a new (used) bike on Thursday and I was both excited and nervous about using it on this hike. I had read on the all knowing internet that the road to Karwendelhaus should be also bikeable with normal bike, but I also knew that it was 500hm uphill, over 13 km. So I uncertain if my city bike would be suitable for that 😀 But when in doubt I try to remember the advice a Norwegian expeditionist,  Børge Ousland: “Don’t be so afraid of failing”. So with this advice in my head we packed the bags on Saturday and went to bed at nine to wake up 5:30 the day after.  The first train from Munich to Scharnitz leaves at 6:30 so we biked to Hbf. in the dark!! I can’t believe that it was dark, this actually means that winter is coming! Ok I am exaggerating a bit, but still, days are getting shorter fast.

In Scharnitz we took out our outdooractive map and tried to follow it, but still go lost. Luckily there was a nice lady who told us where the bike road to Karwendelhaus starts.

Still, the beginning of the trail was a little bit tricky. We could just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal, but chose to take a short, but steep as hell, shortcut through the forest. In retrospective it was worth it, because I am quite sure it saved 30 minutes, or more by doing this. But if you do not feel like starting the hike by pushing your bike up a narrow ,steep forest path, just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal (the outdooractive map follows the forest path 🙂 )

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After sweat 20 minutes in the forest, the path ran into the main gravel road and we were able to start biking. It was still heavy and all the mountain bikers, with their crazy ass mountain bikes, biked pass us. One of them was even asking me if we really wanted to do Birkkarspitze, then laughing and biking pass us. Honesty, not everybody has 2000 euros to invest into a mountainbike, you do not need to be a ***hole about it!

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From Scharnitz It took us 2 hours to bike to Angeralm, but since we forgot to look at the map we biked a bit too far and had to bike back. That cost us probably 15 minutes or so 😦  

At Angeralm we locked our bikes under a nice three and started the hike at 11:45. There were no signs on the whole hike so a GPS map from outdooractive was really very useful. The hike up was very steep to begin with, but flattened out after a while when we reached the ridge. The path itself was hardly visible, and at times it felt like we were not following a path at all, just walking in the wildness. There were no other hikes on the path we took, so I guess most people hike just Birkarspitze from the hut.

 

 

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Do not bike into the forest here, the path starts on the right side of the big tree

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We did not mind having the path to ourselves, the views were amazing and looking up towards the ridge reminded us of the Dolomites, just without all the tourists. Before we got to the real ridge we had to cross a long gravel valley, but it was not steep and was easy to cross. From here the last accent to the real ridge started. There were sections on the ridge that were surprisingly exposed. Luckily there were fixed iron ropes on these sections, which was good because even I felt unconformable at one spot :O :O

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Climbing down from Ödkarspitze

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Another thing that surprised us was that the ridge was not really flat. Looking at the map I thought it would be more or les flat, but in fact we had to go quite a lot up and down between the Weslishe Öderskarspitze (2712m) , Östliche Ödkarspitze (2738 m) and Birkkarspitze(2749), even though their height difference is only couple of meters.

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When we got to the part where you can choose to go up to Birkkarspitze or down to the hut it was 15:30 and so after some discussion we decided to drop the peak. We were not sure how much time it would take and we wanted to have some time at the hut. Also, the path down to the hut looked really hard and we decided therefore to take a small break at the Biwak hut instead, have our Gipfel beer there and then head down. The Biwak hut was nice but very small, I think some of the people coming up planned to stay there overnight. So this would also be an option, but remember, there is no water there, so you need to bring enough water in you want to do this.

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Biwak slefie

In retrospective we could definitely have made the peak as well, but we would then have been stressed about the time on the way down and would not have enjoined it as much. Therefore I am also not too bitter about missing the peak. In the end I don’t do this to gather the most peaks, I do this because I love being in the mountains. From the Biwak we used 1h 30 minutes down, not rushing it. We were at the hut 17:30, but it turned out they did not serve dinner before 6:00. Which meant they only had soup and beer. Not exactly what we were hoping for 😦

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Karwendelhaus, Birkkarspitze is in the fog behind it.

After some beer and Apfelstrudel we started heading down to our bikes, which took us about another hour walking. From Angeralm we just rolled back to Scharnitz in ca. 1 hour. This was pure enjoyment! And at the same time I understood why it was so heavy to bike to Angeralm, it was in fact all uphill! 😀 😀 ..

We were down at Angeralm at 19.00 and at Scharnitz train station at 20:15. The loop to the hut took us 6.h 30 min. If you want to do the peak you need to add at least 40 minutes, I would say.

We had some time to kill before as the last train back to Munich leaves 21:30. We used the time on stretching and got some beverages and crisps from the local petrol station.

All in all this was a real challenging hike, including the hm from Scharnitz, we did over 2000 hm in one day! The feeling of accomplishment was even stronger as we did it with normal bikes, which is way more adventurous and challenging than cruising to the hut on a mountainbike. Do I recommend this hike for “normal” people ? Well, you differently need to like a challenge if you decide to do it with normal city bike, but let there be no doubt, it is doable!

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This weekend I can’t go hiking because of work 😦 , but the boulder world cup 2017 is held in Munich this weekend, so I plan to stream it and enjoy my sofa. Furthermore, in two weeks I plan to do a real badass hike in Austria, which I need to charge my batteries for, so a weekend at home will be nice. 

 

 

Trust or not to Trust the Weather Forecast – Hiking Thaneller 2 341 m

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At times it feels like looking at the weather forecast has become my new hobby 😀 While other people spend their time checking for Facebook updates, I spend my time on checking the weather forecast for different parts of the Alps! 😀 (Btw, I still trust the Norwegian weather app yr.no the most)

This weekend I had not been been hiking for the two past weekends and was quite desperate, but again the weather forecast predicted thunderstorms and rain in the mountains for the weekend to come. The question was, should I trust the forecast or not?? In the end I decided not to do so, and went hiking anyways! I was off course ready for rain and we had decided that if the weather turns stormy we will turn around.

So we got up at 5:30, took the 6:35 train from Hbf and headed to Heiterwang to conquer Thaneller (2341m). First of all I must say I was totally surprised that I could use the Bayern ticket the whole way, as Heiterwang is in Austria. So this was a pleasant surprise. After 2 hours and 15 Minutes we were there. The weather was perfect, 23 degrees and sunny. Still, I was a little worried because the rain was supposed to start after 12:00, hence we had quite fast pace for the first two hours.

The path from Heiterwang is not hard to find and it is a nice path through the forest and across several green meadows. If the sky is clear you can spot the peak already form the train station (It is the highest one).

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This is the peak, but you have to go around to the right, before you start the accent

 

After two hours, a rocky gravel path starts and heads to the right. We were not aware of this, but in fact you have to go to the right side of Thaneller to get to the peak. This was a little disappointing for us, as it felt that we were almost there as the peak was so near, but instead of heading right up the wall we needed to follow the path approx 30 minutes direction Reutte and decent approximately 150 hm down into a valley, where the real accent started.  From the valley we followed a zigzag gravel path direction a rocky wall.  When we meet the wall, the most fun part of the hike started. There is some scrambling and some iron ropes, but no equipment is needed. From this point we thought the peak was quite close, but in fact It took us another 1h 30 minutes to reach the peak.

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THE WALL , the path follows the left side

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The view from the peak was really worth the struggle. Plansee changed its colors from blue to green as the sun hit it and the white clouds made the view to the lakes mysterious and idyllic at the same time:

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One happy mountaingirl

As always we took our time on the peak and stayed approximately for an hour enjoying the sun, the view and the calmness of Thalneller. From the peak, we could actually see all the way to Hohenschwangau. We could also easily spot Säuling, so it was cool to spot it and know that we have been on top of it :D:D You can read about our hike to Säuling here.

We went down the same scrambling path as we came up, but choose a different path down in the valley to Heiterwang because I find it boring to go up and down the same path and that way we did not have to climb 150 m up again 🙂 It was a really nice path that followed the river for some time so we could fill up our water bottles and then turned into a forest road which was very enjoyable to walk down to Heiterwang. I would not choose this path up to Thanleller, because upwards it would be too boring to walk the forest road, but downhill after a heavy hike, it was perfect!

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The fog got to us on the way down, but we did not really mind after the view we had from the peak.

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I have made a GPS track of the whole trail available on Outdooractive.

We got to Heiterwang at 17:50 and had some time to kill before the next train at 18:38. So we saw everything there was to see of Heiterwang, which is not much. We could not even find a place where you could buy a beer 😦 In other words, there is no point to spend time in Heiterwang, there is just nothing to see! But we used the waiting time to do some stretching and yoga exercises, so the passed fast.

In conclusion, don’t trust the weather app 100%. At least I am glad I did not this weekend. I even know people who were braver than me and went for Alpspitze – a peak that I have planned to do for a month now! Perhaps later this month I can finally stand on top of it!

Until the next hike. Now I’m off for some boulderfun 🙂

 

Mittenwalder Höhenweg with T-Rex costume!

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Last weekend I joined a quite bad-ass hike; Mittenwalder Höhenweg. Mittenwalder Höhenweg is a via Ferrata over a ridge in Karwendel. There is an option to take a cable car up, but then it would not be a badass would it? So we hiked 1900 hm up from Mittenwald! That is the most height meters I have done during one day, and I must say it was not bad, not bad at all. I did not feel too tired, but I guess it helped that we decided to take the cable car down 😀

Mittenwalder Höhenweg is not an easy hike, unless you take the cable car up that is. There are several options for hiking up. but they all require you to climb 1900 + hm. One option is to follow the trail under the cable car, but this is very steep gravel path. Not much fun in other words. Then there is an option to hike from Scharnitz and over Brunnensteinspitze, this option is doable. We met actually couple of friends in the middle of the hike who came up that way. It is a really nice hike up to Brunnensteinspitze, but it is steep and so when we met them they were already a little tired. You also climb the most height meters following this trail. The third option is to hike from Mittenwald over Brunnsteinhütte. This was the option we chose, and I am happy we did so. This way you have a nice, not too steep, climb in the beginning, and you can have a rest in the hut, some food (btw, they actually had proper coffee, not some instant coffee) and then continue up where the two paths from the hut and from Brunnensteinspitze meet.

Here we had our second break and decided to have fun with a T-rex costume that my friend Haitham had with him:D When he put it on he instantly became a celebrity. It was so much fun! At one point a guy asked us: “What’s wrong with you people? Why would you ever bring a T-rex costume to a hike?” I laughed and answered him: “Because life is only as fun as you are.” He then laughed and wondered where we came from and if we were Erasmus students 😀 I had to disappoint him and reveal that we are all adults who live and work in Munich. Anyways, we got lots of laughs and comments and many cool pictures 😀



PS. We did not do the kletttersteig with the costume of course, we are not crazy either 😉 Haitham , just took it on couple of times for some awesome pictures.

The klettersteig is level A/B so I thought that a klettersteig set is unnecessary, turned out I was the only one in our group who had decided not to bring the equipment. Therefore got a little nervous when I saw all the people coming down fully equipped, but luckily I am pretty good with highs and did not feel a need for a klettersteig set during the hike. BUT don’t get me wrong, Mittelwalder Höhenweg is a proper klettersteig, and there is a reason why most people use the klettersteig set. I just know that on B klettersteigs I normally would not clip in anyways and therefore there is no point of having the set with me. If you are not 120 % conformable with heights, bring your set! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The ridge is fantastic. You go from peak to peak. I am actually not sure how many peaks we crossed in the end. Since it is a via ferrata, we needed to wait for people at times and did some queuing, but I did not mind that, not at all. It only gave me more time to enjoy the view and take pictures.

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The klettersteig was really awesome too. At some parts there were planks you had to walk over,  and there was also a very long ladder which we had to climb down. So much fun!!!

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I think the ridge took us 3 hours, but we were not fast and had breaks to play around with the T-rex costume 😀  During the klettersteig we decided to take the cable car down to save our knees. This meant that we had to be at Karwendelbahn before 6. We were there at 5 and had just enough time to run up to the Westliche Karwendelspitze (2385 m) This was our victory peak! We made it, across the whole ridge and had climbed 1900hm! After a short break and mandatory gipfel beer, we headed down to the cable car. I already then could feel that taking the cable car was the right thing to do. When I finally sat in the cable car and looked at the gravel path under us, I was even happier that we took the cable car, it would just not have been worth the struggle to hike down.

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Karwendelbahn in front of the Östliche Karwendelspitze

I saw some nice mountains during this hike that I will add to my to-do list: Östliche Karwendelspitze and Arnplattenspitze.

I really loved this hike, perhaps this could be your next adventure? Mittenwald is really easy to get to from Munich by train. My friend Anna has made a GPS track of the hike available here (This track still shows that we hike down, but in fact we took the cable car)

Other hikes you can do from Mittenwald are Große Arnspitze and Obere Wettersteinspitze. Obere Wettersteinspitze is one of my favorite hikes, so I really recommend it!

I hoped to go hiking today again, but that did not work out, the weather is just too unpredictable at the moment 😦 So this weekend is going to be a quiet one, but I got the new issue of Bergsteiger yesterday and am looking forward to just relax and read about some awesome mountaineers out there 🙂

Slogen – a hike you can’t miss while in Sunnmøre.

Sunnmøre is the southernmost region of the western Norwegian district of Møre og Romsdal. Its main city is ÅlesundThe district is made up of mainland as well as several large islands such as Hareidlandet, plus many small islands. The region is an hikers wet dream! There are several big fjords in the area which means steep hikes and amazing views. Most of the hikes start around sea level, so even though the highest mountain in the area is bellow 2000 m, fear not, you will get to climb enough high meters. There are few sports that can not be practiced in Sunnmøre, its perfect for hiking, kayaking, skiing, paragliding, and you can even do surfing. There are also a lot of possibilities for climbing.

I have not yet explored all the different possibilities and do not know the mountains as well as the locals do, but I have done around 5 hikes in the area and am convinced that the mountaintops in sunnmøre are what dreams are made of 🙂

If you are lucky enough to be in the area during nice weather, Slogen (1564m) is the mountain you can not miss. Despite its sharp and steep appearance, the top is relatively easy to climb. From the peak you have a fantastic view of the peaks around and the valleys deep down at Hjørundfjorden.

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From the fjord, Slogen rises like a triangular pyramid, straight up. Coming closer you will see that it is not quite as steep.

With nice weather, the hike up is easier than you would think, only the last part is a bit exposed and requires some scrambling, so do not be surprised to meet Norwegians in sport BH and shorts running up. There are some really sporty Norwegians out there so even we had to let some pass us 😀

You do not need any equipment of any kind to get to the top, but I do not recommend this hike with fog or rain, at least not all the way to the peak as the last 100 hm are really exposed. We are talking about several hundred meters right down!

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The trip up to Slogen is suitable for day trips, but there is a possibility to spend an overnight stay at the Patchellhytta before climbing the top the next day. With accommodation here, this trip is also suitable for children.

To get to Patchellhytta (and further up to the top) you can either go up Skylstadbrekka from Øye in Norangsdalen (about 2-3 hours) or up the Liadalen from Engeset not far from Stranda (about 2-3 hours). From Patchellhytta, the trip takes up to about 3 hours. The trail up to the top from Patchellhytta is not marked, but it is quite easy to find. The third option would be to walk from Urke to the hut and then do the peak next day.

Season: June-September.

From Øye: 3 km. 1500 altitude meters, 4 hours.

From Patchellhytta: 3 km. 750 height meters, 3 hours.

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We hiked the route from Øye (Marked black on the map). It is 1500 hm more or less right up, but in return you feel that you are getting closer with every step you take and just after 1 hour, you can already spot the peak. The first 1000 hm are in the forest, after that there is a short part of gravel path and after that you have to jump between the rocks and find you way to the top, while enjoying the amazing view to Hjørungsfjorden.

The path from Øye has normally less snow so it is a nice option if it is early in the season. After perhaps 500 hm you will find a sign to water. It is a nice opportunity to fill up your water bottle as it gets really warm on that side of the valley during sunny days.

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We did not fill up our water bottle on the marked place, so we had to get creative.
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100hm from the peak, there was a lot of snow so we had to climb next to it. This is where you want to stop if you do not like scrambling.

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The views from the peak speak for themselves:

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The one hour that we spent on the top, went way too fast!!

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This view spoiled us on the way down. I need to figure out what the closest mountain is called and add it to my list 🙂

We used 4 hours up (with two 20 minutes breaks)  and 2,5 hours down. The path down is long and steep so I do recommend hiking poles, even thought you will be an obvious tourist while using them (very few Norwegians use hiking poles :D).

If you are a true Norwegian you finish your hike with a refreshing (read freezing) swim in the fjord. Luckily I am Estonian so I had an excuse 😉

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This is just one of the hikes we did during our vacation in Norway this year. In one weeks time, we managed to do another hike and some kayaking in the area. I had also planned outdoors camping, but that we had to cancel due to the weather 😦

Interview with Munich Mountain Girls

Munich Mountain girls is a community started in 2016 by a mountain girl from Munich. Here you can learn to know sporty mountain girls in Munich. You can sit back and get inspired by reading about inside hiking tips, must have hiking gear and girls’ favorite places to hang out in Munich. I was contacted by Christine (the owner of the page) early June for a short interview and was glad to participate.

Now I can officially myself a Munich Mountain Girl. It’s only a label but its a cool one 😉 I also look forward to get to know all the other girls part of the community and to get inspired and to learn from them.

In the interview you can learn about my first experience in the mountains, about my favorite hike until now in Germany, and what I always have in my back bag when I go hiking :).

You can check out Munich Mountain Girls and the interview with me here.

PS. It’s in German, but I am sure Google will help you to translate it 😉

Enjoy.

Last but not least, I want to share a little glimpse of my hiking trip in Norway. I just got back today but I already miss the mountains there. I will write about the hikes in Norway soon so stay tuned 🙂

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Hiking in China – Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River. It is located 60 kilometers (37 mi) north of Lijiang City, Yunnan in southwestern China. According to Wikipedia the maximum depth of the canyon is 3,790 meters (12,434 feet) from river to mountain peak. The gorge is about 15 kilometers long, and the hike is doable in one day, but I do not recommend it. The name of the canyon comes from a legend which says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 meters (82 ft) wide). Of course we wanted to see if a jump like this would be possible 😀

We started out from Lijiang with a local bus. The hostels in the city all help you to book tickets and show you where the bus goes from. If I remember correctly the price was around 50 yuan (45 there, 55 back). The price for entering the valley itself was 60 yuan.

In Lijiang we were discouraged to do this hike as the weather prognosis said it would rain for the next three days. This was also perhaps the reason for there being so little other hikers on the trail. Despite the weather forecast, we decided to go, after all we had packed our rain clothes with us and a little rain has never killed anyone.

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The best available map of the trail.

We arrived to Qiaotou where the trail starts around 10 o’clock. The beginning of the trail was really not well-marked. Our strategy was just to go to the right and avoid all the roads that turned left. At one point we must have had looked pretty confused or uncertain, as a truck driver passing by pointed out the correct direction for us. The trail started on a asphalt road between the houses in the small village. Before we even got away from the asphalt road, we had changed clothes five times! On with rain clothes, off with rain clothes, on with jacket, off with jacket, on with rain clothes again…. It did rain, but not really much and as it was warm climbing upwards in rain clothes was just not comfortable. After an hour we packed away our rain clothes and used regular clothes. Which actually worked really well, except in a rainsower lasting for 30 minutes later in the day. At times it was even warm enough for shorts, but not wanting to change clothes yet again we just went on in long trousers. At the end of the asphalt road and before the huge construction site, there was a house where we could buy some drinks and water and even refill our thermos with hot water for free. The last part we only knew because Elias was able to read the chinese sign that said so. It was very convenient, since we had instant noodles with us for lunch. The woman in the house also wanted to sell us bamboo sticks for walking. It is slippery she said. We did not buy any and did not regret it afterwards.

The real trail started right after the house. It was a steep dirt trail, at the end of it there was a little sitting place with a roof, that we chose for our first lunch/breakfast. At this point we were actually hoping that we had done the climb and that the path would even out, but we were wrong. The path kept going upwards and it was hard to spot it at times. Again when we were about to go in the wrong direction a local mushroom/herbs picker pointed us to the right direction. On the three-hour path to Nixi village, I could count 4 stands where we could buy snickers, water, fruit and even local weed!! We disappointed most of the sellers, since we were had enough food and water with us.

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On top of the first hill ready for lunch

All in all the first 3 hours of the trail I was really disappointed. I tried to not show it, but I know Elias felt the same. One thing was that we were not prepared for such steep climb, but that was not the main issue. The problem was the huge construction down in the valley that completely destroyed the view. I am not 100% sure what they were building, but it looked like two tunnels for trains, and a bridge over the river to connect them. Because of this it was not quiet, and the river was all brown. Considering that this canyon is supposed to be in world heritage list, I could not understand why they would destroy it just for better train connections (and more tourists).

The trail from Qiaotou to Naxi village was as following: We climbed a lot of high meters, it was quite steep, and we kept seeing the construction site and the destruction of nature in the valley. More or less the moment we got up, the trail started to go downwards again and ending up in the Naxi village. From the village one needs to climb all these high meters up once again. So therefore if I would do it again, I would start the hike from Naxi village (There were actually some Russian girls doing that). Luckily after the Naxi village we could not see the construction anymore, only very tall and steep mountains on the other side of the canyon, hence our mood got much better.

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View to the Naxi Village

The Naxi village itself was not really something special, it is a village not a touristic site. I do not know what exactly I was expecting, but I guess it is nice that it is authentic and not glorified for tourists. From the Naxi village one has to climb the 28 turns. We did not count but, it was a long and steep climb. There were of course several places where you could buy food and drinks, as before. After the 28 turns we did some downhill hiking again and ended up in a the Teahorse guesthouse.

Here we ordered some proper lunch which was chinese noodles with vegetables and tea. We also met a couple from Belgium who were doing the same hike and who were planning to travel for three years!! For me that sounds quite crazy. I guess I like being home too much. The couple from Belgium decided to spend the night in the guesthouse. We were a little tempted to do the same, but it was only four o’ clock, and too early to end the day. We estimated it to be another two hours the Half Way Inn guesthouse and decided to go on. The path to Half Way Inn from the Teahorse guesthouse was very well marked and easy to follow. It was also the prettiest part of the hike, I would say. Now we were finally just walking on the side of the canyon, not climbing upwards and could enjoy the views in front of us! Soon after the Teahorse guesthouse we walked past a temple, sadly it was closed.

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It was cloudy the whole first day, after several hours finally the mountains showed themselves!

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At the next village we were not sure how to find the Half Way Inn guesthouse. There we walked past several guesthouses and already started to consider entering one, just because it also looked quite nice but luckily we didn’t. After passing five or six guesthouses we saw the Half Way In. I still remember the view and the excitement I felt when I entered it. This is by far the nicest mountain hut I have stayed in! The owner spoke perfect English and told me that he had run the guesthouse for 25 years. When I told him that I am Estonian, he said that I was in fact the first Estonian staying in Half Way In. We took a bed in dormitory and were not expecting much, as it was 45 Yuan per person (The most expensive room was 250 yuan). But this is how the dorm looked which we btw. had all to ourselves!!

If anybody has stayed in a dorm with better view, please let me know where 😀 There was a trick to get that dorm thought. We specifically asked if they had a dorm. If you don’t ask, they will not tell you that they also have a dorm (as long as they still have other rooms left). I noticed this when other hikes were checking in and I guess this was the reason for why we were the only ones in that dorm.

After settling in we went to the roof terrace to read and enjoy the view. It was way too easy to daydream and forget the time on those rocking chairs facing the huge mountain ridge right over the canyon.

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Then we were told that the kitchen closes at eight and that we had to order dinner if we wanted some. We moved down to the open courtyard in the center of the guesthouse and ordered some dinner. While sitting there enjoying my tea and food I really started to daydream. I could imagine myself living in that place for a year, perhaps writing a book or something. I could help out in the kitchen and write during evenings. With a room cost of 5 euros a day, that would be much cheaper than living in Munich!!

We sat outside until it turned dark. Back in the dorm I changed my head position, so that I would wake up to the mountain view and left the curtains open. I could not have been happier, even the beads in Half Way Inn were soft. (Or at least softer that what is normal in China).

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View from Half Way Inn Guesthouse

We woke up at 7 so that we could have a lot of time to down in the gorge. I had very good banana pancake for breakfast (that is Chinese pancakes, not crepes). The trail from Half Way Inn was at times very narrow, but we did not mind that at all. We could now see all the way down to the gorge and the river on the bottom of it. We also walked pass several small mountain rivers and waterfalls.

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This is how narrow the trail got – we loved it!

The hike down to Tina’s Guesthouse took us about 3 hours (with a lot of picture breaks). Down in the gorge we had to exchange our bus ticket from Half Way In to the one from Tina’s guesthouse. There is only one bus from Tina’s to Lijiang which leaves at 3.30. It is a strange inconvenient system. After exchanging the tickets, we took the free shuttle bus to the place where one could go down to the gorge and the river.  

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Tina’s Guesthouse, not even comparable with Half Way Inn

Getting of the shuttle bus it turned out you had to pay 15 yuan to enter the trail down to the gorge (yes, even when you had already paid 60 yuan just to enter the gorge itself). We decided to take another path which we drove past, just because I do not appreciate this kind of trickery! 😦

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View of the gorge

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I think the best trail would have been not after the bridge from Tina’s Guesthouse but before it, but I could only see people walking there when we were already down in the gorge. Another disappointing thing was that the paths in the gorge were not connected, so we  only used 1 hour on our gorge tour and then had still 5 hours until the bus left. I even tried to ask if there were more buses, but apparently there was only one. Therefore, if I would do it again I would not rush from the Half Way In Guesthouse to Tina’s Guesthouse. The trail between these guesthouses is very scenic and I would just take my time, perhaps sleep in a little and enjoy a long breakfast in Half Way In. There are tourists who just take a bus to the Tina’s Guesthouse in the morning, walk the gorge and then go back. I do not know what they use their time on, because there is not enough to do or see in that gorge for 6 hours. Luckily we had some books with us so we were not bored to death before finally the bus came. The ride back to Lijiang was on very bad roads in a small bus. Apparently they want to avoid the highway in order to avoid to pay for it. So a set of podcasts saved me on this bus ride. There was also a possibility to take a bus from Tina’s Guesthouse to Shangri-la, and we probably could have had our luggage transported to Tina’s by the bus, but as we left parts of our luggage behind in Lijiang, we needed to get back to Lijiang.

This was our second “real” hike in China. There were no stairs and no guides! Just beautiful nature. During our stay we also hiked in Four Sisters Mountains, which you can read about here.

Säuling (2047m) – A mountain that has been on my list since I moved to Germany.

I remember the very first time I went to Füssen and to Schloss Neuschwanstein. It was back in 2015 and we had just moved to Germany. We were standing on Marienbrücke when I saw Säuling, as a big pyramid in the sunset. I remember telling Elias that we need to find out what that mountain is called and hike it! Eventually we did find out what it was called, but it took me two and half years to finally stand on top of it. Therefore it was a little special to stand on top of Säuling today. It just had been on my list for so long!

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Just couple of words about the Säuling itself. You can hike if from German side or from Austrian side. Or do like us, and hike if from one country to another. We Started from Pflach in Austria and ended in Füssen in Germany. I did not know that one could take Bayern ticket the whole way to Reute im Tirol and Pflach, so that was a nice surprise 🙂  From Pflach we used 2 hours to Säulinghaus. It is a nice hut to take a small break before the really steep ascent to the Säuling peak. We used 40 minutes from the hut to the peak. The weather was perfect, but we were not sure how much snow there could still be. Luckily there was almost none, because this hike would be very difficult to do with snow.

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After a nice lunch and some selfies on the top, we started our descent to Neuschwanstein. I must say, I did not expect the descent to be so steep and so long. Therefore I recommend to start and end the hike in Pflach instead of hiking down to Neuschwanstein and taking the train from Füssen. That is unless you really want to see the castle. We had already seen the castle plenty of times so in retrospective I think it would have been nice to avoid all the tourist and the super slow train from Füssen to Munich. A map of the route is available on outdooractive here.

Säuling in not the only hike that can be started from Füssen, Branderschrofen is also a nice hike that has a hut and is not as long as Säuling. From Branderschrofen you will also have a very nice view to Säuling. I wrote a small post about it here.

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This was the first hike over 2000m in Germany this year, I’m happy to see there that the season is here and the snow is gone.

PS. My next hike is already planned and will be from Kufstein area, so stay tuned.