I’ve managed to catch some breath from work and actually sort, edit and so on all the pictures from the Via Alpina trip this year. More emotions from the trip are also on the way.
I’ve fallen a bit behind with this post, but nevertheless here it is.
The simplicity of what I was doing. Walking. Obviously. It’s like the most simple thing you can do – put one foot in front of another, repeat. (more…)
I have finished with the pictures. It wasn’t very easy sorting through 1000+ of them, stitching them into panoramas and going through them trying to select out the one to share with others. Nevertheless I managed to make a selection of 400 which are available in the usual gallery – Via Alpina 2011.
Now as I needed something for my fathers 50th birthday and I had the idea of printing out one of the bigger pictures to hang on the wall. Wasn’t very shure how it would turn out ’cause my Panasonic TZ4 allows only about 3200×2400 with 12 megapixels. Gave it a try and here is the actual result. I consider it to be pretty impressive and it really is high quality.
Got me thinking and here’s what I came up with.
How would you feel about sponsoring my next trip and in return get something like that on YOUR wall? To be honest this won’t be very cheap to have a photo that big ‘because the photo laboratories charge quite a lot depending on the end product. So browse through the gallery for this year and also the first part and if you see something of interest then let me know and we can figure out the details.
So enjoy, I certainly did.
Snakes. They creeped me out too. And I saw more of them than I have ever seen in my life in just three days. And as one can imagine this is the post about what I didn’t like during the walk through the Alps. Word of caution. Some highly aggressive ranting is going to follow and lots of fucks.
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.
To please the old gods of mountain and weather we sacrificed a pig on Saturday.
I have all the gear, maps, willpower.
I have some food and Swiss franks, which look like tickets to the art-museum.
I have no idea how this will turn out or if I will get any gas from Ehrwald.
I’ll be back on 13th of July
Finally ALMOST done with my maps. So much easier this year cause I scanned the paper maps I bought using a much smaller dpi setting – only 300, but the end product turned out great. One mistake I made though. I bought a bunch of maps online and they’re fine although later i discovered an online source that lets you create pdf files of ALL the Switzerland at very high resolution. Those actually printed much better than the one’s I scanned and arranged myself. Could have saved some coin when had that source sooner.
The source is switzerlandmobility.ch and it has about a ton of useful features. It can display mountain biking routes, canoe routes, walking and so on. You can choose the scale you want your maps to be in and you can go down to 20k ,which is very-very accurate. I made mine in 50k cause that’s accurate enough for me, has all the contour lines and doesn’t need that much paper to be carried. Also my other maps are in this scale. All together it’s 17 A4 sheets printed both sides. It replaces I think about 15-20 big maps (1m2) each. Much easier to carry, fold and use and if something happens to them it’s just paper. To keep them form elements I went a different way this hear using a hint by Andrew Skurka. Last year I laminated each sheet. That worked quite fine, but I this year I store all the maps in a big 28×40 ziplock bags and have another bag for the one I’m currently using.
Now all I have yet to do with maps is to trace the path out and mark the resupply points.
It’s official now. I’m leaving on 6th of June to Munich to continue my walk in the Alps. Ill try to catch the flight back on 12th July from Geneva. Flying back was a bit tricky to figure out cause there weren’t many good flights available. I tried directly to Tallinn, to Riga and to Stockholm, but those proved too expensive or long with many transfers. but through Helsinki was easy enough although I have to spend about 15 hours in Copenhagen.
So basically I have about 34 days to cover the distance of approximally 1000 km or more 😀
Bought some gear too, but about that when it arrives. Id still like to get a new sleeping bag and trail shoes, but I have my eye on some items.
So I have booked the ticket to Munich to continue my walk on the Via Alpina Red trail. I’ m leaving on 6th of June. From there I have to take two trains to Ehrwald and then I’m on foot again for about a month. The plan is to reach the Jungfrau and from there it should be fairly easy to get to Bern and then home. Ideally I would push longer and harder and reach near Genf, but that would be really-really good. On the map below this would be starting a bit right from Liechtenstein and to Chamonix. Gotta start packing soon.