We have few regrets about the decision to abandon our hike over the high Karwendel cols. It was simply too hard and too dangerous for most of us, and the weather was looking threatening.
We can choose another route, though the fear when we leave the peaks and cols is that we’ll spend a few dull days walking through the valleys, sharing tame, flat roads with the cars.
This is Austria, however. There are far more interesting hiking trails than tame roads. The route from the village of Scharnitz to the tourist town Pertisau is not life-threatening but still spectacular and challenging – an excellent five day trek, in other words.
Austrians are known for their prowess on the ski slopes, but they’re also very keen walkers.
The hiking trails around Innsbruck are generally well maintained and signposted, with red spots for the easier routes and black spots showing us the ones we’re going to avoid in future.
Our adjusted route takes us across farmland and through forests, but also includes some stiff climbs, often towards the end of each day, up to one of the huts perched on vantage points by the German Alpenverein (Alps Association).
Yes, okay, I said we were in Austria, but we’re near the border, and the Germans have a habit of organising things for the rest of Europe these days.
They do it well, with warm bunk-rooms, large beers and large meals available at reasonable prices. It’s a bit communal and there are usually no hot showers, but we’re all smelly friends together.
The walking is generally not hard, and it is always beautiful.
For those of us who need a little more adrenalin pumping through their veins, there are side trips they can make.
It takes us five days, including a couple of 10-hour epics, to get to Pertisau, on the lake called the Achensee.