Wednesday saw us setting off directly from the hut and reversing the route through the forest. We undressed and the talk was easy, and the walking a breeze, as we started, unusually, by going downhill back to the now-dried-up lake below. Once there, we zig-zagged up using the forest roads through the trees on the other side of the valley, heading towards the ridge of the Roßbrand. As we were now one single large group again, our speed was of necessity a good deal slower than most would like, however this was a day when it was important to stay together as I had a prior arrangement to keep with a Gasthof later on. We continued uphill with the views becoming ever more expansive behind us, until we arrived at a large digging machine at the head of the forestry road, where we decided to stop for lunch. A couple of cows kept Andreas occupied, while the rest of us took amused photos, and ate our provisions quietly. We set off through the trees and found the main forestry track on the other side easily, following this to a small path which struck directly up towards the ridge above. We arrived there just as one small family were taking a break, and they probably felt a little outnumbered as the nearly forty naked people steadily arrived at the footpath junction. They waved in friendly fashion as they left, and although they were going the same way, rather than follow them too closely, we gave them a little time to have the mountainside to themselves.
Descending from the ridge we met several people, and found a store of edible berries by the side of the footpath. This slowed us down in the most pleasant way possible Finally we arrived at the Mandelberggut Gasthof, where I had arranged for us to be able to have a naked tea break. I went ahead to check everything was still ok, and then motioned for the group to join me on the terrace. The friendly staff made us very welcome by pushing several tables together, and serving us with beer and appleschorle and ice-cream. As several people were quite tired, and Polly’s feet were still not healed, we left a small group behind at the Gasthof, and the rest of us returned with some speed, through the forest trail back to the lake and then back to the hut. Sending a couple of cars back for those left behind caused some misunderstanding, but fortunately everyone arrived safely back at the hut.