Day 12 Pfitscherjoch

Just as yesterday was worse than we expected, today was better. It's all about expectation management. We are busy turning tomorrow into a nightmare.

We decided yesterday that getting a bus to Ginzling was a better start than an endless walk up the long valley. That meant staying in Mayrhofen in a fairly luxurious ski hotel at a bargain rate. The only trouble was their internet wasn't working and I was hoping to get onto the Via Alpina web site and go through the itinerary again. It gets a bit complicated over the next few days.

The decision to get a bus was a good one. I'm sure the route from Finkenburg to Ginzling would have avoided the road wherever possible but it's still a long valley bottom walk and there is plenty of that to enjoy after Ginzling.
Easy trail up from Ginzling

For much of the time after Ginzling you're walking along the old road with a newer road, built probably as part of the construction of the dam at Schlegel, on the other side of the valley. Every kilometre or so you come across a semi-derelict gasthof, redundant now the passing trade has gone. Reminded me of the impact of the new road on tea houses on the Annapurna Circuit.

Because of the bus trip there was no rush but still wild raspberry eating slowed the pace further.
Eating wild raspberries

At Brietfahner the valley splits into two with the quieter option heading south east up towards the Berliner Hutte. The road and the Via Alpina head south west towards the dam at Schlegel. The dam is impressive and the path takes you right to its foot, slightly eery knowing that a whole lakeful of water is pressing against the structure from the other side.

The dull weather didn't do the views up to the glaciers and the line of 3500 metre peaks justice but you got the general idea.

The best part of the walk was the stretch between the lake and the Pfitscherjoch Hutte, which we did after refuelling on alpine milk and sacher torte. A sign told us that the path was being repaired courtesy of EU funds and as we followed the side of the rushing stream the new big stone slab path made walking easier. We were climbing steadily up without having to make too much effort.
The valley was beautiful, wild and untouched, flattening out in a couple of places where old lake beds must have been.
On the way to Pfitscherjoch Hutte
An hour and a half after leaving Schlegel see we saw our hutte perched high ahead on the pass (2245 metres) and soon got there crossing the border into Italy in the process. Spaghetti tonight.


The hutte is very nice, we have our own room and own shower, luxury!

It's being extended on a big scale anticipating the traffic from mountain bikers - perhaps explains the work on the path - judging by the number of bikes in the lobby they are not going to be disappointed.

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