Sunday 17th of July Sonthofen to Unterjoch

It sounds a bit like a schoolboy excuse but I do have German guide to the Maximillianweg I just don't have it with me. Couldn't find a shop with a local map yesterday and couldn't get on the internet to research the route last night. There were lots of E4 signs taking me to Sonthofen but none taking me through it. I somehow had to sniff my way to the E4.

From a schematic at the hotel I knew that the route went high up on the north side of the valley running east out of Sonthofen and that it had to cross the only bridge over the river in the same valley. So the first thing I did was find the river and then, walking alongside it, find the bridge. Sure enough at the bridge, at Binswagen, there were lots of footpath signs although none mentioned the E4 or Unterjoch. Worse still heading through Binswagen I couldn't work out which paths to follow.

Decided to follow the road up the side of the valley on the basis that the footpath would have to cross it at some point and, after 20 minutes, just as I was about to give up on this strategy I got to Walten, found the route and, better still a map. Took a picture of map and used that to navigate my way to Unterjoch.

Desperate navigation measures

Not a long walk but quite a tough one involving a steady 900 metre climb up to the highest point at the Tiefenbacher Eck and the weather, which was nice and sunny at the start, was obviously getting worse. Messing about in Sontofen meant that it was getting onto 10 before I was really on the route. So by the time I could see back across the valley to yesterday's walk it was already getting cloudy.

Back to Sonthofen

Saw signs firstly to Breiten and then Bildstockle and followed them. The signs were not exactly thick on the ground and at one point had walked at least 500 metres without anything confirming I was on the right route. Went past a lovely church in miniature just before Breiten.

Mini church

Bildstockle turns out to be a giant cross. On the map the path goes from solid red to a line of red dashes and sure enough on the ground the convention changes as well. Initially an E4 sign points you to Tiefenbacher Eck but then I had blue poles, blue blobs on trees and occasional blue cross to follow. You could also make out the path although after you got to Tiefenbacher Eck itself, which encouragingly had an E4 sign, the path became very indistinct. Worse still the blue dashes then decided to distribute themselves either side of an electric fence which I discovered was live. The weather was getting worse.

Eventually got to a sign, with red and white markings, pointing me to Unterjoch. Great joy. An hour later, at about 2, was in the very nice and very reasonably priced Gasthof am Buchl. It was raining heavily by 2.30.

By the way I should get the guide book, new socks and new shoes tomorrow. Just like the last two times I replaced my shoes the sole of the right shoe cracked once it knew it was no longer needed.

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