I have decided to start anew. Start clean and fresh. It was long overdue.
I almost forgot how much I like writing. The fun I had while pouring out my thoughts in an organised disorganised way. Forgot how much mumbo-jumbo I had written in the past and how that would make my loved ones feel once I am simply not there.
I only realized this during my first lone trip to Innsbruck. Completely alone.
Usually whenever I plan a trip, there would be at least one friend tagging along with me. Or there would be someone I know, living, in my destination. But not this time.
So all alone (in this age, that is HARD!), I took my my first nervy steps on the Alps- from Seegurbe to Hottingar Alm. Wondering why this route? Going down is easier than climbing up- that’s what I thought! I was so wrong.
I (foolishly?) decided to trust Google Map’s navigation rather than the printed trekking/train guide I had in my hands. Trusting and challenging my instincts- which I am so proud of.
As I wandered down the steep mountain road along the trail, fading with each step I took- a sense of fear and euphoria bagged my feelings’ rucksack.
I was sensing that something is going to get wrong but I was also excited to see how I coped with it.
I had two bags with me (bad idea)- one for regular travel things like clothes, toothbrush, snacks (bad idea!) and one with my camera gears. Both were big and I had one on my back and one hanging from the front. I could barely see where I was putting my feet while making a step and had to plan each step with three steps in advance.
I thought it was okay- I had fears of height and that way I was not looking down to the sides where it was a steep fall of at least 100m. I told myself “you are cool so move on!”
I went on for over an hour- with my knees shivering under the pressure of my luggages with each step I took to climb down- it was steep. Almost like 80 degrees most of the time. And add the strong cool wind thanks to the dark clouds gathering.
As I cautiously crossed a round corner- I could, at last, see the Hottingar Alm. Around 100m down towards the west. By that time, the stony trails had turned to a path along the grass and then to nothing.
My eyes searched for a short-cut path towards the Alm. There was one way I had to go up and around the Alm and then go down. And there was one that went down, steeply, across and leading to a stony slope.
I felt I could take the latter one. Trusting the hiking shoes and my experience with them in Berchtesgaden. I carefully went down the earth grass road- I was not getting any grip there. I decided to to just run for it, confident of finding some grip on the stones.
So, with two bags- I wobbled down there, towards the trail leading to the Alm. The bags were weighing me down and my knees were shaking with each step. “But I am almost there”- I told myself and put my right leg on the stone trail.
Then I slipped.
I rolled down the side of mountains. It was a 10m slide, on some thick stone rubbles, with two bags covering my back and front- I managed to stop myself, landing on to a small bush with thrones sticking out of the mountain side.
Next few minutes were tough. I cut myself in few places but managed to get back- going four legged like a toddler, I climbed back to whatever trail there was.
I sat down on the trail- took my bags off and stayed there still for full two minutes- gathering my thoughts. I did not wanna think what would have happened if that stack of bush was not there.
Apparently- the stone trail was full of small loose rubbles. With some big stones sticking firmly to the ground. I carefully examined the valley or slope or whatever you can call that- it was a slide from mountain top to all the way down to the Hottingar Alm. In winter I guess people snowboard here. So most of the stones in that line were washed down from the top. Nothing firm.
But where I was sitting- with my feet dangling down to the sides, WAS a path which went across that rubble slide. It was risky but to me, seemed better than climbing up the mountain. I was even considering taking out my camera gears from the tank of camera bag I got from Lowepro and use that as a slider to slide down the mountain side.
I was not thinking straight- the hottingar alm looked so easy to reach by taking that slide. But I did not. Sadly, I regret not doing that now.
I carefully got on my feet, picked up my bags and this time I put both of them on my back- I needed a clear front view before I could take any step.
And then I started walking- before making a firm placement with my feet, I was touching the stones with the tip of my shoes and making sure that it was firm. Each time I was putting all the weight on one of my legs- it started quivering. But I clenched my fist around my bags and tried to get the weight of my bags on my hands rather than my shoulder. It helped.
Slowly and with a cold sweat around my spines- I started crossing. I did not look down. It looked like rocky slide asking me to scream “weeeeeee!” and jump down.
And then I made it across. But I did not stop. I kept walking. I felt the path going up and approaching a round corner. I held my breath and kept walking. Thousand thoughts were racing in my mind. “Why is the path going up again? What if there is again a slope with rubbles? What if there was nothing?”
But there was something. No path. But lush green mountain side.
I saw a mountain goat run past me, with bell clinking following it.
There was no path there but hoof marks of mountain goats and cows. Good for them that they can climb up there. Meant bad for me as it would take some more effort from a overweight human like me to climb down.
I could see a path leading towards the Alm, 50m down from where I was standing.
My knees were about to give up by then. I decided to rest and then climb down. And I did that for the rest of the path leading to Hottingar Alm.
When I arrived at the Hottingar Alm, it was already 17:20. I remember starting from Seegurbe at 15:20ish time. So it took me two hours.
I was greeted by Patrick (the owner of Hottingar Alm?) and he was surprised to see me covered in dust and mud. I told him about what happened. He was bemused- apparently no one takes that trail anymore and that trail is for seasoned hikers. Even they only take a small bag with water for that trail.
And I made it with two bags!
“But you are a strong guy! So you did okay!” Patrick tried to cheer me up while handing me my room keys.
“I did do good!” I told myself. I did, indeed!