Naked European Walking Tour 2009 – Monday

A small group of us gathered at the rail station at Golling, just south of Salzburg, in Austria. Bernard and Robin from the UK, Milton having made a special trip from the USA, Max and Dietmar local Austrians, and myself. We craned our necks to take in the view of the hill we were about to ascend to get to our campsite for the week's naked hiking, power pylons cutting vertically through the forest and delineating the mountainside in a depressingly steep fashion. After a brief lunch stop in the village we headed briefly into the Blunthautal across the river before starting the ardous walk up the soaring mountain ahead.

Quickly we stripped off our clothes as we left "civilization" behind, and then we trudged on and up for hours through the shaded forestry trail, carrying large rucksacks filled with camping gear, sweating and zig-zagging as we slowly gained height. At one point a hunter came past and fairly spouted pure vitriol at us for being naked in the mountains so far from anyone, close on his heels came his dog and his daughter, (I don't know if the order was relevant), who said nothing, nor barked. Finally we reached an open and grassy alm, (alpine summer pasture), where we had fine views of the surrounding mountains, amidst several cows and horses quietly grazing. After a short break, we continued onwards, now reaching a steep section which wended its way through the vertical limestone cliffs. At this point, Max came to Robin's aid and took his rucksack (as well as his own), and carried it the next hour and a half until reaching the campsite at the Angeralm, a feat worthy of a tale of it's own. Slowly we all congregated at the campsite where we had plentiful water, (about the only decent supply we saw all week), gushing from a pipe on the side of the Angeralm hut, an astounding view of the surrounding peaks, and a convenient drop loo, too! If anything marred the site it was the array of enormous electricity pylons which scarred the view of the valley from one end to the other, but given that we saw a total of perhaps four people in the four days we were here, perhaps our complaints are not sufficient to take to the electricity board with a view to having the cables moved underground or somesuch unlikely alternative.

What price beauty? Nevertheless the view was still astounding. Unfortunately Max had to return quickly to pick up Dietmar who had also found the steepness of the last section of trail too much and turned back earlier, they were only coming for the day anyway, and now we were down to four stalwart Newt members for the week. We found out later that Dietmar wisely set off early on the descent and the pair regrouped in Golling that evening, later, perhaps wiser, than intended, but safe and sound and having enjoyed keeping us company for a while.

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