Day 1 Prinz-Luitpold-Haus

Because everyone I spoke to raved about the Carnic Way I didn't really give the rest of walk as much attention, expecting it be similar to the walking I did in Bavaria last year - good but not spectacular. Well today was a nice surprise and tomorrow, the first half at least, looks absolutely amazing.
Heading up the Oytal Valley

Today was all about getting high (most of the locals were getting the funicular to the west of Oberstdorf which takes you up nearly 1000 metres) but despite all the climbing it was a great walk. The route takes you south out of Oberstdorf along a none metalled road and then, after a couple of kilometres, west along an increasingly beautiful valley. What surprised me after last year, was how quickly you escape the trees and get into the lovely open summer pastures. The easy going at the bottom of valley meant it was busy - lots of people on bikes, some with those supplementary batteries which are popular here - and everyone heading for the huttes along the bottom of the valley for mid-morning cake and coffee. If Christine had been here I would have stopped as well but walking alone there was nothing to slow me down but the occasional Snicker.

Eventually the easy valley bottom trail comes to an end and after climbing 400 metres up to the Kaseralpe Hutte (another missed opportunity for sustenance) the route took me north, leaving the non metalled road, climbing 600 metres up to the pass at Himmelock Pass (2009 metres) - total distance 20.5 kilometres and total climb 1528 metres.  It took me about 7 hours but I'm still getting my eye in on the signs - I missed the turn up the valley and went wrong leaving Oberstdorf.

From the Himmelock Pass

The scenery is now at the epic end of the spectrum, a huge cliff running north east from the pass, a wonderful valley heading north west and the 2500 metre summits of the Hornbachkette filling the horizon to the south. Above the cliffs to the east is Hochvogel, which is just under 2600 metres.

Although I have already exceeded the anticipated 1000 metres, the trail descends steeply from the pass, crosses the valley and then climbs again on the final run in to the Prinz-Luitpold-Haus.

Prinze-Luitpold Haus

The Prinz-Luitpold-Haus is a classic high altitude hutte in an amazing situation, at the bottom of a semi-circle of huge cliffs but high above a valley below. Established in 1880, I can't imagine anyone agreeing to build it in such a place today, not that I'm complaining.

Accommodation is in dormitories, and the one I'm in has two opposing lines of double decker platforms - I guess there will about forty people in there so god only knows how anyone will get any sleep. Good shower though so at least I feel lovely and clean.

First sausage, kraut and mashed potato of the trip and it's only Day 1 of a 28 day trip. Germans don't seem have had the same health scare about smoked meat induced bottom cancer we have had. Still they all look very healthy and the number of families up here with young children walking the hills is very impressive.

Sausage No 1

All in all a great first day - some serious walking and, looking at the map tomorrow - more to come. Lots of ladders on the route, which means bits of via ferrata, so it should be good.

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