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Across the Alps Day 3! From the Memminger Hut down the valley to Zams and up to the Ski Hut.

Again I wake up in the morning from the passing hikers and their cheerful voices in front of my tent. They talk about the wonderful lake, which they see for the first time this morning, discover full of enthusiasm the ibexes in the distance or talk about what a great campsite I have found again. "Oh there he is again with his green tent" or "Wow, he always chooses nice places for his tent". I smile a little, while I just wake up and listen to the conversations so and am satisfied with my decision not to have accommodated in the crowded and noisy hut. I feel very fit and well rested this morning, having slept long and deep. I only woke up once at night because of the loud rain on my tent roof, but fell asleep again shortly after. I get dressed, open the tent, and head outside to see what the weather is likely to be like that morning and for the rest of the day. "Looks pretty stable," I think to myself. The morning sun is just about to come over the peaks to the east, so it's still a little cool and wet. It had rained pretty hard during the night and I had hoped while lying in my sleeping bag that the rainy weather would let up by morning. It has and there is no rain in sight. I look up to get a better idea of the weather situation. There are many clouds in the sky and occasionally tear larger blue areas above me, which are covered by clouds again after a while.

I do not want to lose much time this morning and pack my equipment, well ordered together. I knock and wipe off the raindrops from my tent before I dismantle it and roll it up, so that it firstly does not get wet and possibly starts to mold and, so that I do not drag unnecessary weight with me. I do my morning routines, such as brushing my teeth, eating breakfast and everything else that goes with it, and after a short time I'm already ready to go. Everything is well packed and the road is already waiting for me. Well, then! Backpack on and off we go!

The lake is wonderfully clear and smooth and the mountain formation behind it is reflected on the water surface. I walk around the lake and make my way up to the Seescharte. In the process I pass very close to the ibexes, which do not seem to be interested in me at all.

Probably so many hikers pass by here that this is nothing special for them by now.

All together they look well fed and they have large, strong horns. They seem to be doing extraordinarily well up here and they obviously find everything they need to survive over the seasons and they also have it nice up here at the lake, I think to myself as I pass by.

I leave the basin to the south and begin the climb up to the Seescharte over a steep scree field.

After some fast altitude meters I reach a long "black staircase" with many steps and climb strained up. I call them in my mind so because apparently a lot of coal or similar, very dark material seems to be here in the rock.

Although I feel the immense effort, I notice at exactly the same moment how absolutely satisfied I am and that the big wide grin just won't leave my face.

Being outside in the fresh mountain air, feeling the sun on my face and the wind on my skin, while at the same time working my body, just fills me with joy. After a few minutes of further ascent, I discover more smaller lakes up here and now understand why the highest point of this trail is called "Seescharte".

I pause briefly and notice the almost absolute silence up here. There is not a soul to be seen far and wide. I close my eyes and listen to what sounds I can perceive. I hear the water of the river rushing softly in the distance, water that moves under the rubble slowly flowing and trickling down the mountainside. A few small and isolated stones that roll down the valley by gravity with soft, echoing sounds. The wind whistles sleekly past the rocks, creating a unique sound. Occasionally, you hear a few birds pass by and then a crow resounds along the rocky walls.

I stand leaning lightly on my walking sticks and feel my intense pulse pulsing through the veins of my body. My heart beats strongly in my chest and slows down a little. I hear and feel my breath as it raises and lowers my chest with each breath. Completely calmed and in harmony with myself, I continue the ascent and climb up to the Scharte.

A little easy climbing awaits me to get up the saddle. A steel rope for securing has been attached to the left of the rock face to facilitate the ascent. I love this moment when it goes over a saddle, because from my experience I know what usually awaits you after climbing.

A last sure step, with my right hand a firm grip on a rocky outcrop, I courageously pull myself up the last bit to the highest point of the saddle. As suspected, I am greeted by a great view down into the next valley.

I can see very far from up here and realize that the descent down into the Upper Inn Valley will be very long and again leads far downhill. My next destination in the valley is the town of Zams in Tyrol, not far from Vorarlberg. The descent is initially very steep and very scree because we are again at about 2600 hm. Well then, let's start to descend the laboriously climbed altitude meters again. The descent costs me a lot of concentration and strength with the weight on my shoulders. I stop briefly and marvel at the wonderful panorama around me and enjoy the fact that I can simply put one foot in front of the other.

As usual, further up it is very barren and rocky and hardly anything grows here. After a while downhill, as usual, the first grasses and scrub pile up again. If you descend even further, the first flat mountain pines appear, before only after quite a while the first trees reappear and you are thus at the so-called tree line. Thus it becomes thus step by step greener and again increasingly more lively around me. While I descend there so half in trance the steep ways and it becomes somewhat flatter, I discover on the left of the mountain slope a small, enchanting hut at a river course.

A little further along the river I discover a herd of horses, a total of about 15 animals grazing here quite comfortably in this beautiful spot. Quite relaxed they just continue to eat, while I run on the green area between through them and past them.

I continue and walk across a wonderful green clearing between the trees and pass a few cozy alps and huts.

The path becomes steeper again after this small green plateau and leads me downhill again.

There follows a beautiful path through the forest and I see felt for the first time a bee or wasp nest hanging in a tree. I think to myself in passing that I know such a picture only from the cartoon and marvel at the sight in reality.

I go further along the forest and on my right a deep gorge opens up. It goes left of the abyss the winding flank of the mountain steadily down. It is a very long winding path with increased risk of falling rocks, because you are all the time on the steep flank of the mountain and boulders occasionally come down from the cauldron-shaped turns of the slope.

Therefore, increased caution and attention is required. It is as if the path was artificially carved into the rock and every bend and turn opens a new, wonderful sight. To the right, deep down in the valley, you can hear the river rushing, making its way down into the valley.

After a while you can see the small town of Zams down in the valley. It does not necessarily look nice and you can hear the typical sounds of the city and the expressway resounding up. I pass a group of four girls who are visibly exhausted, taking care of one of their friends. I ask if everything is all right with you and they tell me that everything is fine so far. Later in the evening I learn from them that one of their friends had fallen and that they had diagnosed a concussion in her at the hospital. Thereupon she has broken off the hike and the group has continued to walk only with three. Such stories that some hikers break off the tour for various reasons, such as a fall or exhaustion or simply indisposition and the like, accumulate the more I talk to the people on the way. The descent drags now already quite long and becomes increasingly strenuous. I have a good pace on the descent, but gradually notice that I'm happy when this part is finally over, because I already hurt my feet and shoulders properly.

But complaining is not, besides it brings also nothing so I descend further determined. After about another hour of monotonous zigzag descent with highway noises I finally arrive exhausted at the end of the path. Down in the valley I immediately settle down on the very first bench I can find and release my back from the heavy burden.

The steep slope that I just descended is secured in many places by steel nets and fall arrest structures against possible rockfall or slipping of large rock fragments. What I'm trying to say is that this part doesn't look pretty or wasn't exactly a pleasure to descend. I reach into my bag and dig out some soft and juicy vegan gummy bears and feed my body some energy in the form of carbohydrates. Along the way, I keep drinking some water through the drinking tube of my hydration bladder, which is in my backpack. After about ten minutes I feel reasonably recovered and make my way into town to Zams. My cell phone is empty and I honestly have no real idea where I need to go next or how the way out of this valley over the Alps continues. A little haphazardly I follow the signs, cross the noisy highway and head into the town center of Zams.

I'm pretty hungry, because now after three days I have completely used up my provisions that I carried with me. So I look for a nearby restaurant to eat a snack and at the same time to charge my cell phone, which is now so old that the battery lasts just about 4-6 hours. In addition I would have to visit also times urgently a WC. On the left side of a street near the center I see an Italian restaurant. It does not look really inviting, but I think for my needs it will probably be enough. I get a bit of a weird look as I walk in and put my huge backpack down with some effort. Without further ado, I order a ski water, a serving of penne aglio, and hook up my cell phone to the nearest outlet next to me. After eating, I dig my laptop out of my backpack and do a little organizational stuff that, of course, just because I'm traveling now, I can't ignore or avoid. Because just because you don't have a job or a residence anymore, that doesn't mean you're relieved of all duties and organizational necessities. After the work is done, I research that the tour continues to the ski hut and think about where and how I should spend tonight. I could find a place to stay here in Zams and start the next stage tomorrow from down in the valley. This option sounds very tempting, because the descent was very long and exhausting, so I'm a little exhausted, and I sat now quite a while in the restaurant, because I have done many little things and it is therefore already quite late in the day. Besides, I think to myself a normal bed and a shower would not be quite wrong after three days of continuous march through the mountains. Or I could climb a bit further up the mountain towards the ski hut, see how far I get and set up my tent as soon as I find a suitable place to sleep. It's getting dark soon and to the ski hut it's another almost 3 ½ hours, about 6 km, 900 hm and I don't know if I still have that much energy in my tired legs for that. After a little back and forth thinking, I decide to ascend in the direction of ski hut and take me to put up my tent as soon as I find a suitable place to sleep on the way.

So Norrdine, pick up again and get the tired legs moving!

I pay for my meal, strap my backpack back on and walk out of the restaurant. Outside I orientate myself first to find the way to the ski hut. I walk south up the mountain and find a steep, narrow hunter's path that takes me up to the ski lodge. It is already after 6pm and it is slowly getting darker as I disappear into the dense forest. The path is extremely steep and narrow, as is usual for a hunter's path. After an hour it gets darker and darker and I can't find a suitable campsite anywhere near this winding and steep path. So I keep walking until an opportunity presents itself. Surprisingly, I now feel very fit again and nothing is left of the tiredness I felt earlier. So I trudge determinedly further up into the darkness and keep my eyes open for a sleeping opportunity. Suddenly I hear a dull stomping behind me and I startle, which is actually relatively rare for me. I turn around, slightly unsettled, to catch sight of what it is that is so big suddenly so close behind me and has caused such a noise. It is a trail runner, who just turns a "Feierabendrunde" in the dark. Relieved I ask him how far it is probably still to the ski hut and he answered me, depending on the speed, still about 1.5-2 hours. I thank him and struggle with my luggage further up the steep slope, while he passes me light as a feather. It has now become pitch dark and there is still no possibility to spend the night. Above me the light of the half moon breaks again and again by the clouds and lights up the path before me. In the distance I see over me already the lights of the still far distant ski hut and decide that I will pull through the piece up to the ski hut now also still and inquire on the hut whether you have still a mattress for me freely. If not I would look for me in the proximity of the hut a suitable place for my tent. I can hardly recognize anything in the darkness and in the dense forest on this steep mountainside and therefore put on my headlamp so that I can see the way better. On the way I see many magical mushrooms and gradually observe how the animal world now takes turns and the little crawlers of the night appear everywhere.

Spiders begin to spin their webs between the branches and small beetles cavort on the ground. Although I have a headlamp on I can hardly recognize the path, because it turns into ever higher grass and the forest is getting denser. I still recognize running tracks, but soon realize that these partly lead to nowhere. But since I can see the lights of the ski hut above me, I know roughly where I have to go and which direction I have to keep. So I fight my way in complete darkness through the dense forest, walk across larger fenced pasture areas and climb over electric and barbed wire fences. So it goes about half an hour, until I finally arrive at about 21:30 at the ski hut in complete darkness.

Amazed I am involved by a few men with easily Russian accent from the Sauerland in the conversation whether I climbed the whole way up here in the darkness with the luggage alone. I have told you briefly about me and my tour and then have to interrupt the conversation but unfortunately, because I wanted to inquire at the hut host, whether there is room for me tonight at all. And since the hut rest is usually at 10 pm and I would have liked to still jumped in the shower I had so no time to lose. So I put my equipment downstairs in the entrance area and climb the stairs up to the parlor with a very strange feeling, because suddenly there is nothing on my shoulders anymore. Fortunately, there is still a very last mattress for me. At the top of the last room on the left back in the corner! However, the fun costs me 40€ and is not exactly cheap for my taste. Especially against the background that I want to spare my budget and have to make do with my savings for two years. But I desperately need a shower and am quite exhausted, so I gratefully accept this opportunity anyway. I grab my things and head up to the second floor to the storage room at the end of the hallway. Without further ado, I walk into the men's washrooms with my wash clothes and stand under the pleasantly warm shower. It hurts almost already, as the warm water on my easily rubbed and strained shoulders, as well as my neck musculature pattering nevertheless it is at the same time a benefit. After a short while I am finished with my hygiene program and go back to the mattress camp. In this camp there are approx. 18 sleep places, which are arranged two-storied one above the other.

It is now 10:10 p.m. and everyone is already lying quietly in their beds. Some faces are still illuminated by individual bright cell phone screens before they close their eyes and fall asleep. I put on my headlamp and activate the red light so as not to dazzle anyone or keep them from sleeping, because I still have to sort through a few things and take my magnesium as a precaution. When I'm ready for bed, I crawl onto my mattress and make myself comfortable in the mattress pad. I spend a few more minutes on my cell phone and write a few messages. After a short while I decide to close my eyes and rest, because tomorrow a particularly long and exceptionally impressive day awaits me, the so-called king stage. I look forward to tomorrow and close my eyes contentedly!

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