So I’m back from my 5 weeks in the Alps and now I’ll try to pull off a series of a posts covering some aspects of my walk. I will start with a brief overall statistics and some teaser pictures.
So I started on 6th of June with a flight from Riga to Munich and from there via trains to Ehrwald, which is only a few kilometers away from Bieberwier, where I ended up last year. From there it took 34 days (315 hours) to cover about 1070km.
Took one rest day during that period.
Visited Germany, Austria, Italy, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and France
The average distance covered was 31,5km and depending on the day it took about 10 hours to cover. Some days were better though and therefore the overall average speed is near 3,4 km/h. I felt pretty strong on the ascents, but not so on descents, but maybe I was just careful. I believe that on most days I would have been able to go on for another 10km or so.
About 1/3 of days it rained or was cloudy so it’s suitable to call that part “the imagination tour”. The rest was pretty sunny – ocaasionally too sunny ’cause I managed to burn my nose again. Although I was dressed pretty lightly – shorts and a longsleeve and the SilPoncho when it rained I generated enough heat to keep warm in temperatures between 10-15 C.
The overall expense of this trip went much higher that I expected. Mainly because I overshopped, slept too much indoors – 9 nights total of 37. One of those was in a sheperd hut I used, but didn’t have to pay for and one was in an airport. Also paid once for camping, ’cause I needed to get human like again before going to trains and planes. Food prices in Switzerland are just ridiculous and the money you have to give away in mountain huts and restaurants is just insane. But the added price isn’t constant for everything – for example ice cream (very expensive) is about the same price as in supermarkets, but the price of bottled water is 5x higher. Once I cashed out 9 euros for 1L of water. How stupid is that?
Mostly I drank from streams and wells making sure that there is no cattle upstream. NEVER used any water purification method and NEVER had any bad consequences – which doesn’t mean that you can get away that easily anywhere. I did check the water for small particles of course so if I could see anything floating around in my bottle it was a no go. The best place considering drinking water was Scuol, because it had MINERAL WATER coming from various fountains all over town. How cool would that be to have at your home?!
The paths. I walked basically every surface one could imagine – except lava rock. The waymarkings were usually pretty good, but going down to decent in some places. There were streches where the Via Alpina markings weren’t to be seen for days, but as long you went in the same general direction it was OK. In some higher passes where there was plenty of snow I had some trouble finding the markings, but that was due to bad weather and I will come to that in a later post.
Camping. I usually went on as long as I found a campsite that satisfied me. Again very wide range of ground, but mostly soft and even enough. On few occasions I had to settle for a under satisfactory conditions – meaning I was on a slope or that the ground was so uneven that I could comfortable sleep only in one position. On about half the nights I slept outdoors I had the tarp set up or half set-up so I could pitch it in a matter of seconds. I made a habit of always having a plan how to pitch the tarp, if the weather changed quickly and it started to rain. On only one night, when I didn’t have a plan I was punished with a violent thunderstorm that lasted half a night. It wasn’t very pleasant to try and pitch the tarp in the middle of night on a shitty ground and then hold on to the tarp with both of your hands, while the wind is doing it’s best to sherd it to pieces. Next time I pitched it good and slept OK during an another thunderstorm.
Food. As last year pasta became my main dish. I cooked only once per day to save gas and time. To go with the pasta I used mainly Knorr dehydrated soups. Worked pretty well. In the mornings I ate cereal and gorp and cereal bars and chocolate during the day. My big favourite was a 600gr package of nuts covered with chocolate that can be found in COOP. When in town I tried to gorge on everything I had craved during the days when I had to keep simple diet. And that did the main damage to my bank account. The few times I ate “out” or actually “in” it was mainly pizza although as the prices went up my appetite went down – not ready to pay 20 euros for a pizza. Once I had lasagne and that proved quite under average, but a tiramisu cake in the same town was heavenly.
I was alone 98% of the timeon the trail. Although I saw other hikers they were usually going in the other direction. When I got near Chamonix it got really crowded, with everybody doing the Tour du Mont Blanc. I think I didn’t see as many people during the first 4,5 half weeks than I saw on the last two days. Not complaining at all. I can say that nobody could match my pace, ’cause there wasn’t anyone who came from behind and passed me – expect some bikers and trailrunners. I managed to leave some bikers behind myself 😀
I think that’s enough for now. I’ll have worst and best experiences and also some gear talk in later posts. And pictures when I’m done sorting and editing the 1000+. And maybe a video for those lazy enough willing not to bother clicking through the final cut of the pictures.