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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Walchensee Hike

Walchensee Hike

Stefan told me that he and Irene were going to go hiking near Walchensee, and I jumped at the chance. First of all, Stefan's a great organizer, and will have everything down, right down to which direction to walk in. Secondly, I'd ridden past the Walchensee a while back, and it was gorgeous.

So I dragged Lisa out of bed at 6am, got everything ready and caught the 7:44am train to Munich's main train station, met up with Stefan by 8:20, and caught the train to Tutzing, where we switched to another train to Kofel, where a bus picked us up and then dropped us off to Walchensee. The hike began in a forested area and we were glad of the shade, since the day had already warmed up. The climb began gently enough, but after about a half hour or so suddenly started to get steep and granted us occasional views of the valley below. The Walchensee is at the Northern most end of the alps, so when we got near the top we got to see the plains of Germany far to the South. As we walked along, we got to see the ridge that we were going to hike. It didn't look nearly as precarious as Helvelyn peak in the Lakes District, and the trail was surprisingly sparse with hikers, despite Stefan telling me that the German alps were way too crowded.

Following the signs to Heimgarten, we finally crested and saw the restaurant waiting for us, with a fake bus-stop sign. We bought food and ate quickly, because we were invaded by a swarm of bugs, which while not being the stinging kind, still made eating lunch annoying as we had to stop occasionally to swat at them. At one point my companions laughed really hard and I had to ask why, and it turned out that two bugs were copulating on my shoulder.

After lunch, we pressed on along the ridge. The book apparently said that there was some scrambling involved, but it was all really tame. At no point did we feel like the ridge was precarious, and the views were rewarding. The weather, which had seemed a little ominous earlier, cleared up really nicely and gave us good visibility and the occasional cloud cover as shade. At the shelter near the second summit we took pictures of each other, ate some food, and then hiked down to the cable car, which cost 6.7 Euros per person. The descent happened in about 10 minutes, and we had about 40 minutes before the bus arrived, which gave us plenty of time to eat ice cream and chat before the trip home.

This is a stunningly pretty hike, and I was much impressed. Highly recommended.

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