As most people had arrived, and for a gentle start to the week, we decided to
get a short hike in on the Sunday, setting off behind our farm buildings and
chapel, into the woods between us and the majestic backdrop of the Dachstein
massif. Most of us stripped off at the first stile, and traipsed along the
undulating forest trail beneath the shade of the high pine trees all around.
We soon passed a blueberry hunter, dressed suitably all in blue, on the trail,
who seemed amused to see us, a friendly reaction which would prove typical for
this week, as the motley band of naked and semi-naked people ambled past.
We were a mixed band and it was entertaining to see Conxita’s white Spanish
arm, laid next to my tanned English (!) arm, under the Alpine sun. In fairness
her fair complexion was probably mostly the product of too much time spent
studying in the far north, in a city not renowned for it’s sun-bathing
facilities: Edinburgh. The result was still amusing. We continued along the
gentle trail until we arrived at a lake, where we had our next encounters with
clothed hikers, some of whom stopped to ask me directions, presumably because I
had the map.
Next we zig-zagged up the forestry road, steadily gaining height in the alpine
heat, until we passed a small gasthof and eventually found ourselves up on the
higher slopes of the forested hillside. We were going slowly so we sent a
faster party ahead to scout for a rest spot with a view, finally arriving at an
area of felled trees which gave us a view across to the Tauern hills beyond. We
sat down to munch on our lunch and engaged in pleasant conversation with an
elderly group of mushroom pickers. We returned the way we had come, stopping
and dressing for a coffee at the small gasthof, before continuing our way back
to the lake for a dip for the brave/foolhardy amongst us.
Towards the end of the day, Mark from Los Angeles arrived with Vittorio and his
fine dog Drago from Trento, and Harry from Belgium. I was relieved when my
Polly seemed to recognize the calm Drago, from the previous year, on their
first meeting as, putting it mildly, she can be a bit strained with new dogs.
The farm had it’s own resident white labrador, and they seemed to get on well
too, so perhaps it was the Austrian mountain air, or the calming effect of 20
naked hikers which helped Polly to meet other dogs peacefully. Either way, I
wasn’t bothered, as Admiral Pike would say: I am relieved.
Photos in the group: http://www.naktiv.net/newt2013/