Time for Nature 2 – 6 July 2012Hut walking in Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany Mhairi McFarlaneSouthwestern Ontario (London)
6 day backpacking trip traversing habitat between 600 m – 2713 m
Day 1: 1328 m 6 kmClimb to Watzmannhaus, watching vegetationtransition from valley floor conifer forest tosubalpine.Martagon Lily Watzmannhaus (1928 m)(Lilium martagon)
Day 2: 1351 m 13.5 kmEarly start to avoid being clipped to 4 km of steelcable during an afternoon thunderstorm….
Easy walking tothe firstsummit, but wewere wishingthe weatherwas more Lots ofstable….. fossils – some sort of bivalve?
Wondering where the “hard bits” start – we soondiscovered – time to gear up! Nice of them to provide abench and emergency shelter for the purpose.
4 km of easy rock scramblingover exposed terrain. Noneed to worry about beinginjured if we fell! The routewas well protected withsteel cable pegged into therock (via ferrata).Fortunately, the weatherheld off.
Final peak – Watzmannsouth peak 2713 m –the highest mountainwholly within Germany
Most mountain tops in theAlps - even obscure ones -are marked with a cross, andmany have a summitbookwhere you can record yourname and date of ascent.
Karlingerhaus, digs for next two nights. Running water,hot food and Bavarian beer! Perfect after a 12.25 h day.
Day 3: 600 m 13.5 km“Off” day to rest ourleggies…..just aiming toclimb the Grosserhundstod(2593 m)…….
But a rapidly approaching thunderstorm made soup, hot chocolate and beer a more attractive option at the conveniently nearby hut on the Austrian side of the border! Stuffed AlpineGlobeflower Marmot(Trollius (Marmottaeuropaeus) marmotta)
So we explored the “SteinernesMeer” – the “Stony Sea” instead – aremote area with sparse alpineflora and spectacular limestoneformations.
Stumbling into our finalsleeping spot: Carl OStahlhaus (1728 m)
Where we once again had to support the European economy by having a beer
Day 6: 664 m 8 km Final day was a lovely ridge walk (unfortunately shrouded in cloud) then an exhilarating via ferrata where we were really glad to have our climbing gear.
….ending at one of the most populartourist destinations in southern Germany – Kehlsteinhaus, or “The Eagle’s Nest” – Hitler’s country retreat……… Photo credit: http://www.hotelfriesacher.com/ausflug-kehlsteinhaus/?L=1
…..Where we emergedfrom the cloud behindthe dire warning signs,much to the horror ofseveral sandal-cladtourists…..
Total ascent: 6081 mTotal distance: 68 kmDays: 6Sets of clothing: 1
Other points of interestSeeing Norway Maple, …..and an Alpine hayHerb Robert and Garlic meadow full of [native]Mustard in their native Queen Anne’s Lacehabitat…. (Dauca carota).
LOTS of buildings with photovoltaics (for generating electricity from the sun) and solarpanels (for heating water) – Germany is one of the few developed countries which has reduced its carbon emissions, partly due to increases in the renewable energy sector.