Day 5 Meilerhutte

Hard case walkers arrive at the huttes late, rolling in about 7.30. They give the impression that they have been walking all day, have crossed the Alps, and in a not so subtle way suggest that johnny come earlies are not really cutting it. Late arrivers also mean that you just can't count your "I've got this room to myself" chickens until they finally hatch. The tiny little loft space, room 13, which I thought belonged to me had, by lights out at 10 o'clock, 5 other occupants. Despite being packed in like sardines, I did actually manage to get some sleep, at this rate I might even get used to it.

Climbing up to Feldernjochl Pass

The walk today was amazing, much more dramatic than anything I did in Bavaria last year, proper Alps.  It was also a huge walk, over 30 kilometres and nearly 2,200 metres of climb.
View from the Feldernjochl Pass
Roughly speaking the walk broke down as follows: a descent down from the Coburger Hutte, an easy walk along the bottom of a valley and a gentle 700 metre climb up to the pass at Gelderjochl; a lovely contour walk through high pasture to another pass and the German border at Gatteri; another contour walk across dry limestone to the amazingly located Knorrhutte; a long descent, savage at the beginning and past the pretty Reintalanger Hutte all the way down to Hochemporhutte and, finally; a savage 1400 metre climb all the way up to the Meilerhutte.
Approaching the Reintalanger Hutte

I liked all of it, particularly the approach to the Knorrhutte and the final approach to Meilerhutte. Both were dominated by huge summits, the Zugspitze for Knorrhutte and the Parthenkirchener for the Meilerhutte.

Looking down the Oberreintal Valley

It was a Saturday, the weather was perfect, but the number of walkers and climbers out and about was still impressive. In Austria, and this part of Germany, walking is definitely not something dominated by people with grey hair - lots of young people, lots of women, lots of people having a good time.

Looking up to the Meilerhutte

The Meilerhutte is the best located hutte so far, and even after 5 days the competition has been intense. It's located high on a sort of pass with views to the north of the final ridge of mountains before the German plain, the ridge I walked along last year; and south into the heart of the Alps, seemingly endless mountains. The location is perfect and the sunset was both full of colour and prolonged - an absolutely wonderful place.

Sun setting at the Meilerhutte

Wonderful, but it is a Hutte, and from an English perspective Huttes are weird places. Somehow, at 2400 metres, there are seemingly endless quantities of beer and food. Getting a shower, or even a wash however is a challenge. I was directed to a shed down the hill which was full of men washing themselves. The water was cold. I made my way to a basin in the inner sanctum, found myself a corner, stripped off and did my business. I was efficiently quick and had got my shorts back on when I was joined by a women. She didn't seem too bothered but it was immediately apparent that the inner sanctum was for women explaining why the men in the outer sanctum kept their underpants on - pleased that hadn't been arrested I made a quick exit, past the men in their underpants, embarrassed but clean.

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