Saturday June 30. I left the outskirts of the German city of Munich, with the Polly the collie and several boxes of groceries and my hiking gear in the car, and drove naked all the way to the Austrian town of Radstadt, in the Niedertauern region. I dressed to meet the hut proprietress who kindly drove ahead of me to show me the way to the Aualm hut, at the far end of a 7 kilometre forest track, almost above the tree line. Our hut nestled below the ridge and overlooked the splendid and dramatic looking Dachstein range to the south.
It was a hot sunny day and I settled in with Polly, taking in a short naked hike around the hut, and letting Polly chase sticks up and down the hill, watching as she gradually got muddier and muddier, having found a wet spot to dig in. I then prepared a bolognese for the evening meal, for those who were arriving early. Michael from Hamburg was the first to arrive in a shiny white car, now looking slightly dusty. I drove naked to town to pick up Ian, from the UK, from the train station, meeting Roland and the Dutch contingent, of Wilfried and Joop, half-way along the track. Gianni and Mira from Italy arrived amidst some confusion of directions.
Polly was very pleased to see Mira again as she’d brought a special squeaky pig toy for her. The fairly new hut extension, which could accommodate 20 people in bunk beds, was pleasant with good facilities and ample room for the projected numbers of approx. 18 people who had registered for this year’s NEWT. It was an active gasthof in the ski-season, sitting on the edge of the piste, and for the summer was rented to groups like ours. Renewing old friendships and chatting to new people took us into the evening on the mountainside hut.