A fabulous hike to the Braunschweiger Hut! Day 4 of the E5 Alpine hike.
It is 05:00 o'clock in the morning, a restless noise penetrates gradually over my ears into my consciousness and tears me from my REM phase. The night, which I spent this time not in the tent, but on the hut, thus ends for me unfortunately already very early on this Sunday. The guys with me in the room are apparently early risers and there is already lively hustle and bustle, so it is at this early hour already quite loud in the mattress camp and sleep is hardly to think. Sleepily, I rub the tiredness out of my eyes in vain, slide forward to the edge of the bed and pull on my pants, while I look irritatedly over to my roommates. "Isn't breakfast not until 07:00 or did I miss something?" I think to myself. I guess some people, unlike me, are just early risers and like to start the day before everyone else. I definitely don't belong to this category, even though it seems to be a great virtue, I on the other hand am the nocturnal type and consequently more of a late riser. Of course, I can get up early if I have to and I'm pretty energetic and in a good mood pretty quickly in the morning, but if I can choose it, I prefer to sleep a little longer. In the mountains or on summit days it is of course something completely different, but these stages of the alpine crossings, although they are quite long, do not now necessarily require to be awake extremely early. Well, then we start the day just a little earlier! Still a little planned I go across the hall to the washroom, wash my face with cold water, brush my teeth and get a status update from the mirror in front of me. A little contrite I look and more gray hair I see but also again flashing out, I jokingly tell myself. It's just the usual thing when you look in the mirror in the morning at 34. I get ready for the day and go downstairs for breakfast. It doesn't exactly knock me off my feet, and as a vegan you're still mostly looking down the tube these days, but that's not so bad, because I still find what I'm looking for, and I'd already decided that the diet wouldn't be easy for the next two years, and that I'd probably make exceptions more often than not. I talk at the common breakfast again with some people and say also to Rosario and Christoph from Ecuador good morning, when I discover the two. We talk briefly a little and then I go at about 08:30 on the way!
At the beginning of this morning, the route goes steeply uphill along the ski slope.
I discover on the way up again a few horses and am pleased with the sight, as they graze there so peacefully. Since I climbed up to the hut last night in complete darkness, I first look around a bit and let my gaze wander back to the impressive mountain range that I crossed yesterday.
I climb further up to the Venet mountain railroad at 2212 hm and am now fully awake again and arrived in the day, after my circulation was stimulated right at the beginning again and I was allowed to enjoy the great mountain air and the panorama.
When I just run the last steps over the hilltop up to the mountain railroad, I meet Lex from the Netherlands, who at the moment of my ascent already enthusiastically and with broad laughter in the face shoots photos of me.
He tells me that he is a photographer and does not stop shooting pictures of me. This continues for the next two hours as we climb together to the next peak and hike along the ridge.
The path leads from this station up here further up to the Kreuzjoch and from there along a beautiful chain of peaks. The panorama is wonderful to look at, because you can easily look back at the valley you just came from and also marvel at the mountain formation behind, from which you descended into the valley to Zams the day before.
At the same time, you can already look down into the next valley, the so-called Pitztal, and also recognize there already on the other side, how again a new massive mountain formation towers up in the south. Now I also understand why this day is also called the king's stage.
I meet many faces again on the way and a certain familiarity slowly develops with the E5 goers, which one sees again day after day. It is a wonderful hike up here on the ridge. Depending on how much time you leave yourself, you hike here about two hours along the ridge.
One passes several peaks and again and again I meet new conversation partners on the way, which I or accompany me a part of the way.
There you see Lex in front of me, how he turns around every now and then and shoots pictures of me. He obviously seems to have his fun with it.
You heard it "It is amazing weather today" and yes indeed it is and it is exactly my taste of a good mountain tour! I stop at every great sight and shoot happy pictures, make videos and enjoy the view on all sides. You can not even decide in which valley you prefer to look!
I have already passed the highest point of the ridge and am now walking towards the end of the ridge walk and thus towards the last summit.
After the impressive and pleasant high-altitude hike, the path now descends into the valley.
I strap my backpack tightly to my back and shoot down into the valley at a run.
On the way I stop occasionally and enjoy the magnificent view.
As I run down the hill like this, I can now clearly feel that my legs, my shoulders, my abdominal muscles, indeed my entire body is now much stronger and I have already become accustomed and adapted to the load and I can tell you, it really feels exceptionally good!
I pass a small alpine pasture and while I walk so past the tables on the fence speak to me two men, whether I want to be tomorrow already in Merano or why I have otherwise such a pace on it! I explain to them that the descent simply feels better when you cushion the strenuous load for the knees and feet in running pace!
I pass through a short stretch of forest and a couple of streams on my way down, marveling every few minutes at how beautiful this fourth stage over the Alps is!
After the forest passage I come to a clearing and the trees slowly become less again, because the pastures for the cattle breeding of the surrounding villages accumulate.
The cows don't let me upset them at all and have much better things to do than to be interested in me, because everywhere there is beautiful, high and juicy grass just waiting to be eaten. Immediately after that we go again into a cool wooded area. Generally it is very pleasant, because the air temperature is not too warm.
After this absolutely wonderful descent, I now see the village of Wenns lying peacefully down there in the valley. It is so wonderfully quiet and unexcited on this day and I feel a very pleasant serenity and Zufriednheit in me as I continue to hike down the mountain.
After a short while I arrive down in the 2123 souls village Wenns at 962m. Unfortunately, everything has closed on Sunday and I have hardly anything left in food with me. My supplies I must tomorrow again urgently fill up, because with an empty stomach it hikes not well and certainly not with this load.
In this quiet village at a crossroads I meet the group from the Sauerland again, with whom I have shared the mattress camp tonight, and who were already awake so early. I was just orienting myself, as it goes further along the Pitztal up to the Brunswick hut, when one of the guys comes up to me and tells me that they have just called a shuttle bus for about 20 people, which brings them to the next starting point. He asked me if I wanted to go, because there was still enough space and the ride costs 12€ per person. I take the opportunity gratefully and am pleased that everything goes so smoothly. Just in time more alpine crossers arrive in the village, shortly before the shuttle bus arrives. We all stow our backpacks and hiking poles in the spacious trunk and the Sauerlanders discover a case of beer in it. Some of them don't hesitate for long and grab a cold beer for the 20 minute ride through the valley. The ride is very interesting, because the bus driver makes every effort to enlighten us about some facts in the mountains and especially in the Pitztal. He tells us how hard the winters can be here and what man does to live with nature. He emphasizes that man cannot control nature, but that the mountains here in the valley are in charge and people can only coexist in them.
Arriving at the starting point in Mittelberg, I first set off together with the guys from Sauerland. The three fittest of them have quite a decent pace on it and I have to make quite an effort to keep up with them. After 20 minutes we arrive at a material lift. There you can have your luggage transported up to the Braunschweiger Hütte by lift. The group takes this opportunity, because some of them are already a bit older and not quite as fit, so they gratefully accept this relief.
As it is proper for me, I carry my backpack up to the hut myself, of course. I separate from the group at this point and say goodbye, because we will certainly meet one or the other time during the crossing of the Alps. So I walk alone further along the slightly ascending path.
A large, wide, brown-colored river with impressive water masses and all kinds of sediments in it rushes down the valley. The brown meltwater of the Ötztal glacier, which cannot yet be seen, flows down the rock face in front of me like a force of nature.
The climb to the left of the waterfall becomes steeper and steeper and even a little bit of climbing is required.
I feel that I'm getting pretty hungry and my strength is slowly waning, since I've eaten nothing else today except breakfast and a granola bar. After I have finished the somewhat steeper climbing passage along the waterfall, I come to a wide, choppy slope.
Up here there is probably very active skiing in winter, if I look at the dimensions here so. I sit down and make short rest. I rummage my last two slices of dry bread, which are still left from my pocket and stuff them into my mouth without anything. I also drink the last sips of water from my hydration bladder and then rest a little.
Well, there is still a strenuous hour of ascent ahead of me to get to the Braunschweiger Hütte. To the left of the wide slope, a narrow path leads up the steep slope. The last half hour drags again especially and I feel that I am no longer very energetic and a bit tired. All day I have felt extremely light and agile and hardly felt the backpack as particularly heavy. Now, however, I am struggling quite a bit and I suddenly feel the weight again, as it literally pulls me down and I have to expend extra energy to cope with the last, strenuous meters of altitude.
After what feels like an eternity, I finally arrive at the Braunschweiger Hütte and am happy that I have completed the stage for today.
I look around a bit in the immediate vicinity of the hut, hoping to find a suitable campsite for the night.
After a while I go inside the hut and order a "ski water" and chili sin carne!
Mega, I finally get vegan protein, as it could not be better! The hut host and also the waitress ask me suspiciously where I will sleep tonight, because you wanted to write the food and my drink on a room or bed number. Unfortunately, I had to help myself to a white lie and told you that I will go further later. I look for a socket in the hut and hang my cell phone to the charger. In the process, I meet the group of 50+ hikers again and am happy to see the familiar faces again. I go back to my table and chat with the hikers sitting there at the table with me. They engage me in conversation, asking me that you heard I was the guy who was traveling the world for two years with the backpack and his green tent that they see every morning. They want to know from me how I got the idea, how I planned it and how I can make it happen financially. I tell them a bit about me and my attitude to life and how it came about that I made the decision to embark on this world trip. They also ask me where I'm originally from and about the weight of my backpack and how I'm coping with it at all. I tell them a bit about my previous "mountaineering career" and that I have been a mountaineer for more than eleven years now and have already endured one or the other extreme experience and difficult challenges in the mountains and that this crossing of the Alps is not a particularly technical challenge for me, but simply a question of strength and endurance. We continue talking for quite a while and I learn that three of my conversation partners come from Pegnitz in Franconian Switzerland, where I grew up and went to school for over four years. After a while I say goodbye to the group and thank them for the nice evening and go out into the cool darkness to pitch my tent for the night. I look down into some kind of small cauldron and see what looks like a small lake. I descend and find a suitable dry and rocky spot right next to it.
Before I descend there, it occurs to me that my hydration bladder is empty and I have no more water until the next village tomorrow in the nearest valley. So I go briefly to the toilet and fill my hydration bladder with water. I'm a little uncomfortable because it is not always safe to drink the tap water at the huts. But to get along completely without liquid until tomorrow afternoon is also no solution. Then I'd rather take a little with me for the road, in case things get dicey. I still have my Steripen with me, which can kill bacteria by means of UV light. With it I treat the water simply still additionally and then it will probably already fit, I think to myself. I hold the Steripen in the water and normally it takes about a minute to treat a liter of water. However, when I hold the device in the water, it immediately starts to glow red and I'm a little confused as to whether the water is already germ-free or if it can't be treated. I take the drinking bladder with me, leave the hut and pull my jacket closed, because it is cold.
I like this place very much, because it is level and I have an excellent view of the large glacier field illuminated by moonlight in front of and above me. It is night and it becomes very cool up here. I'm getting pretty tired and it's time to go to sleep.