Naked European Walking Tour 2012 – Friday

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Friday July 06. We descended our track again and drove a short way up the main valley. We had a bit of juggling to do, as for this route I had to leave my car at the base of our lane, Gianni’s car in Forstau, and drive on to Mandling before Wilfried returned for Gianni so we could all start the hike together. Once we were all together, we headed off up the track into the forest to the south and west, stripping our clothes off as each became warm enough. It was an easy track and an unusual day for having limited views, as we were at such an low altitude and the trees were so thick. Nevertheless the walking was fine, and we maintained a reasonable pace to keep warm, as the air was cooling as the sky darkened slowly. We reached a col and had a nice view out across the tree-tops to distant peaks, and also found wild strawberries to eat amongst the bushes. Walking past a colourful hut in the forest soon had us all talking about Hansel and Gretel, and witches. We headed along the track until we came to a sudden clearing below a huge vertical crag. We could see climbing routes all over the steep rock, marked by bolts which had been drilled into the rock face. We stopped here for a lunch break, when Gianni and Mira, Joop and Ian, now left us for their car, and the rest of us continued up the smaller and now steeper trail which took us, after wending our way through various forest trails, to the top of the Predigstuhl. At the summit, a wide vista opened up for us, including a fine view of the Rossbrand ridge from the day before. We could see the sky darkening dramatically just to the east as the wind got up and pushed the clouds in our direction. The first thick drops of rain were touching us as we stopped only for photos, before departing with our tails between our legs. We descended fast towards the Seitenalm hotel, as the rain started, the air temperature dropping rapidly as we went. As we reached the valley, the group split, some to wait at the hotel to be picked up later, several foolhardy adventurers took the dogs on foot towards the long forestry track back up to the Aualm, and I drove the drivers back to their cars in Mandling. We then all returned to the hut for the last time. For a shower, dinner, a chat over the week, and to shake out our socks, ready for packing. After dinner Bernard called us together to discuss the finances. At the beginning of the week, we’d all put in 50 Euros and now there was some 150 left over. The consensus was to donate this to Steve Gough, perhaps for books, but for anything he chose. Next was a donation from the passengers of the week towards the drivers petrol, recognizing the extent of the driving up and down this long forestry track we’d had to do nearly every day. The gesture was welcome, but all of us, (as an exception I kept some back), unanimously donated this money, on Wilfried’s lead, also to Steve Gough, who now had approx. 270 Euros from the spontaneously generated NEWT 2012 funds. We all hope he is able to find a good use for it.

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