The next day, although the landlady had said she would like to have a photo of the group of us in our walking kit, (knowing we were a group of naked hiders), she let out a good natured squeal as Russ and I both went to remove our shorts to oblige, (we weren’t wearing anything else at that point). So it was back to the more traditional, dressed, group photo. We were sad to see Doug leave us this morning, and we set off up the other side of the Inn valley, behind Volders, down one more man. Rather than following the original route of a gentle path next to the river, we took an alternative route, this led instead to us getting lost high up a forest filled river gorge. Back-tracking out of here, we made our way up to a proper road, and followed this instead in zig-zags past a number of farm houses, tramping along the unforgiving tarmac. At one farmhouse the occupants laughed as we passed by and called out: “This is a very catholic land, you know!”, but good humouredly and with broad smiles.
We lunched at the Voldertallhutte Naturefreundehaus and, after a good rest, we took a contouring route up to the huts on the side of the ridge. The gasthofs at this place were all closed and I reluctantly agreed we could go yet higher to another hut. We set off again, tramping along an easy forestry track, and came to a thin trail leading to a hut set on the side of a steep slope. The places the alpine farmers build their huts and houses are truly remarkable, nearly defying gravity, let alone considering all the snow in the winter they have to contend with. We watched as far below, in the valley we had just left, a family worked to gather in the hay from a field near the river. Next we set off for the long grind up the steep slope behind us, through fields of juniper, occassional flies would gather as we sweated our way up the hill. The air chilled, as the sun dipped behind the hill, which made the steady pace easier to bare. Finally we reached the contouring path which took us easily around to the Tulfeinalm. The view down to Innsbruck and up and down the Inntal, were stupendous in the late afternoon sunlight, and as the gasthof appeared closed we were happy to make ourselves comfortable on the available terrace. As with most exhausted walkers, once you stop, the kit just spreads all around, over all the available benches, chairs and tables. While we had expected the gasthof to be open, (they couldn’t all be closed on the same day), and found it closed, we all pooled our available emergency rations, and had a hearty meal of salami, cheese, soup and tea. A kingly feast indeed. Just as we were getting comfortable and thinking about under which table to set our sleeping bags, along came the owner of the gasthof, and loudly demanded to know just “What the **** are you doing on my terrace? This is not a camping site!” We could not mollify the man, even when we bought a round of beer, so we packed up and set off to look for somewhere to camp for the night. As we trudged along the track, which contoured along the high ridge, the sun dipped behind the Karwendel to the north, a most beautiful sight. However we had more urgent business at hand, we had to find somewhere to sleep – the tumble of steep rocks was reminiscent of the top of Scafell and an ant would have a hard time finding a place to site a tent up here, at 2000m. I used my handy/mobile to call the operator to put me through to the hut marked on the map as another couple of kilometres along the ridge, to see if I could find out firstly if it was open, and secondly whether they had space for us. Fortunately our luck had improved, and the hut warden was friendly and welcoming, we all managed to just arrive at the hut at last light.