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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

June 29th: Train/Bus transfer from Innsbruck to Galtur, Hiking on the Kopsee

 Bowen had a mild fever, and woke up feeling weak. "I can't possibly ride today," he said. Mike Sojka, the first time after he met Bowen, called him "The toughest 7 year old I'd ever met." At 10, Bowen wasn't any less tough than he was at 7, so when he says he can't ride I had to take him seriously. Gone was any plan to ride from Landeck to Galtur. I looked up the details and it looked like there was a bus that could take you to Galtur from the Landeck train station and it would take bikes "at the driver's discretion." Since we wouldn't ride, we'd just take the bus to the highest place before the Silvretta, so I booked Hotel Vaya at Galtur, which I picked mostly because it was visible from the bus stop without having any need to navigate.

We got to the train station in plenty of time after breakfast, and this time it still wasn't a roll on roll off, but instead there was a baggage car, with the conductor willing and ready to help! Unfortunately in the confusion, while lifting the ebike, Xiaoqin tried to help and got my elbow in her face instead! Fortunately there was no lasting damage but she would need to rest the rest of the day. I fortunately could keep the bike in mostly tandem configuration.

Unfortunately, when we got to the bus it was clear there was no way to load the bike without taking it fully apart, so I took it apart and we loaded it into the wheelchair section of the bus. The bus driver did help, and then he told me that I'd have to hang on to the ebike the entire ride to Galtur!
I held that awkward position for the entire 70 minute ride, which left me quite saw in my warms the rest of the day. The bus ride gave me views of various towns along the way, one of which I'd never visited before because the town proper was high up along a side road, which explains why I was never tempted to stay at any of those places.

Upon arrival, I sent the wife and kids on to checkin to the hotel while I with the help of a curious hiker, managed to put the triplet back together and to my surprise two day of train plus bus travel hadn't damaged it any. After that, I parked the bikes in the hotel's garage, and went to the room to wash off my extremely dirty and marked up hands. The hotel had a full size kitchen in our suite, so I put on the backpack and walked down to the supermarket where I discovered that they had Weisswurst! I bought lunch with salad, weisswurst, and instant noodles, which the kids developed a taste for after Bolzano.

After lunch, Xiaoqin wanted to rest, but I wanted to take the bus somewhere for a hike, since the hotel granted free bus passes, and Bowen said he now felt better. The hotel suggested Kopsee, which I had never been to before, and which both Google  and Komoot suggested as a possible alternative to the Silvretta. I'd never been to Kopsee before, despite 3 previous visits to the area, because it simply was a gratituous climb if you were headed over the Silvretta, so it sounded like a great idea.

The bus ride to Kopsee was beautiful, and I steadily got more and more excited as we approached the trailhead. Once off the bus, we had two choices: walk back to the hotel (90 minutes), or walk around the lake (also 90 minutes)  I finally tricked the kids into doing the Kopsee loop by pointing at the sign that said: "Kopsee - 20 minutes."
Even though it was overcast you could see that the weather was clearing up. The forecast had called for rain, but we had completely lucked out with the weather. Even the hotel staff had commented on it. "It was raining the entire day yesterday," they said to me.
We walked down to the lake and the kids played a bit before we headed over to examine the dam. I got a clear look at trail descending down into Montafon, and it was definitely a gravel trail that wasn't a good alternative to Silvretta for a triplet, though I'd have been game on it with my single bike and 32mm tires,

We crossed over the dam onto the other side, at which point it was too late for the kids to protest --- it was now as easy to complete the loop as it was to go back. But they day was getting nicer to the point where we were removing our jackets.

I noticed a strange flower with an awful smell. The kids each took a sniff and then Bowen suggested using Google lens to identify it.
It turned out to be a veratrum album, a flower so toxic that even its scene was toxic! We didn't take any more sniffs, needless to say!

The hike got prettier and prettier with wild flowers and even a meadow near a ski lift, indicating that the area was a ski resort in winter. I tried once again to convince the kids that a 90 minute walk wasn't that far, but this time they were wise to my tricks and would have none of it, opting to play in the playground while waiting for the bus. Boen finally mastered the art of swinging without assist, and got me to take a photo.

That evening, we were given our own dining room for dinner. I was nonplused about this until I realized that the staff had heard for themselves how loud Bowen and Boen was, and wished to isolate us from the other guests so we wouldn't disturb their dining! After dinner we took a walk in the neighborhood and even that walk was pretty! "I could come back here for a few days just for the hiking," I told Xiaoqin when we were done.
We went to be hoping that Bowen would feel better the next day, and that he wouldn't have to go to the toilet too many times during the night. He certainly looked better!

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