Thursday, June 16, 2011

A-Hiking We Will Go

In spite of less than stellar weather the week we were in Germany, we found our way to hikes and mountains and lakes in the vicinity.  We had varying degrees of success with each excursion.  This will take you in order chronologically
Our very first day we decided to head to Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak.  The ticket seller warned us that the visibility was not ideal, but also informed us that the rest of the days of the week didn't look much better, so we decided to give it a go.  Cogwheel Train up (hour ride) and a Gondola ride down (20 min ride) was our plan.  
The train stopped part-way up the mountain to access hiking trails.  I snapped this from inside the train car.

The train takes you to an initial stop, from which you can hang out, take pictures, write your names in the snow, and sled!  

The snow was beautiful.  The temp was high enough that the walk back with a sled made you sweat - so the kids quickly dressed down to short sleeves.

From there is a short gondola ride to the summit.  

Unfortunately there was zero visibility at the summit and one very grumpy German man.  Apparently, while looking at the souvenirs displayed, Lucy touched a keychain/toy which then broke.  I got an angry fussing at in German, and Ted bought a 5 Euros sheep... Lucy's souvenir now :)
I spy a blue gondola on its way up the mountain.

That kind of soured our moods, so we decided to go back down.  We found restrooms and then got on the gondola--only we got on the wrong one!  Eventually, we made our way to the right place, and got back down to the beginning.
We stopped at the red tower and a worker climbed out on the support beams.  Yikes.

From there we walked to Eibsee, a lake at the foot of the mountain. It's a large lake with a nice walking path around the perimeter.  

A small shower thwarts our plans to start hiking, so we shop at a tourist stall to stay dry.  Before long, the rain subsides and we decide to start around the lake.  At least one of the children is not thrilled with this plan, but we press on.  Mind you, as we're beginning our plod along the path, we are being passed right and left by multiple groups of men and women easily 10-20 years older  than we are, so truly it can't be too bad.  Then again, we've got Pokey.  

We walk, and walk, and walk.  We find snails, frogs and snakes (much to Ted's chagrin), and an hour and a half in we finally get to what seems the halfway point of the lake.  Fortunately, spirits are still up, and we are enjoying the views.  
Nice hat!

But then the rain comes.  And it comes harder.  And the lightning and thunder.  And Cory tells Ted something along the lines of "I don't think this is a very safe place to be anymore."  I have no pictures of the last 30 minutes of our hike, because we had the camera tucked away under our jacket to protect it from the rain.  We finally make it to the van, all dripping wet, when someone needs to use the facilities...which of course are not nearby.  

On another day, we headed towards the Olympic Skistadion, where the 1936 Winter Olympics were held.  Nearby is a hike through a gorge that we decide to take.  As we begin to follow other "hikers" one way, Ted wisely stops to ask one of them if this was the way to the Gorge.  Uh, no.  Good thing we asked.  So, now, headed in the right direction, we make our way to the gorge.  At the beginning is a pay booth, where we pay our entrance fees and begin the trek.  It's a beautiful gorge, if not sometimes a little scary with the little kids and the rushing water just a slip and a fall away.  

Postcards show the waterfalls cascading in the summer and frozen over in the winter.  

We made our way through to the other side and decide to take what we assume to be the higher path back to the beginning.  But you know what they say about assuming...Not sure exactly which of two different paths to take, we again stop someone to ask if they know.  They're not from the area, but pull up a map on their iphone, and in broken English, he and Ted look at it and make a judgment.  

So, we press on in what we hope is the right direction.  and on.  and on.  Eventually someone has to use the facilities again.  Convinced that we must be near the end, we encourage her to just hold on a little.  We find ourselves at a restaurant, where we stop for some refreshments and restrooms.  Initially, Ted suggests we just get some sodas and then be on our merry ways.  I advise that since it's noon we buy a small lunch first.  We share schnitzel, brats, potato salad and fries.  This place really was in the middle of no-where.  The decision to stay and eat really saved us an hour of crying by multiple starving/tired kids (and one low blood sugar wife).  

Then we start off again rested, recharged, and ready for more adventure.  

Suffice it to say, that we hike, and hike, and hike, up and up and up.  It's brutal, although the scenery was still beautiful.  
At one point the trail forked...and the path Ted chose said "for experienced hikers only, not recommended for kids."  I quickly pointed the sign out to him and we then took the other fork (uphill).

We finally arrive at a clearing, see a trail or two in different directions and ask someone where the trail they've come from started.  Back at the end of the gorge they tell us.  YIKES!   We've hiked for over an hour and we will end up at the same place we started (at the top of the gorge). 
What goes up...

As painful as it seemed, we headed back to the end of the gorge, knowing that no matter what, we could at least walk back through the gorge to the beginning.
We are all smiling because we know we will finally escape the gorge.

And that's exactly what we did!
Once again, we headed out to see some sights.  This day was one of the clearest we had seen since our arrival at Garmisch, so we decide to drive out to another lake in the area.  The write-up at the lodge said it was a 'beautiful emerald-green color, noteworthy for any traveler.'  We get to the parking area, and hope that the hike to the lake is not too long, but we're expecting pretty much anything at this point.  Wahoo!  Just a quick walk through a parking lot, and bam, we were there.  

Immediately, Riley noticed the trail around the lake and made it clear she did NOT want to go on any hikes.  We find some park benches and notice the giant fish and ducks.  Ted finds a food dispenser, and buys food for all the kids to feed the "wildlife."  
Cory wanted to fish.  And he eventually crafted a pole and string from broken limbs and grass.

They have a lot of fun with that, and soon we find a momma duck and three little ducklings!  

The water was, indeed, a lovely color.  And the path looked so inviting.  Eventually we decided that we needed to walk around the lake.  We even pointed out to all the kids how much smaller this lake was, that we could pretty much see the entire path from where we sat, and that it wouldn't rain on us.  

It was a lovely little walk, with walking sticks to be found and everything.  

The momma and her ducklings swam over to the other side to see us, too.
Thankfully, the third time's the charm.

No comments: