19th August: Hollentalklamm (Hell Valley Gorge)

Having a had a fairly early night after watching a film we made an early start today. Instead of taking 2 buses, we decided to drive across town to the Kreuzeck cable car. Today’s walk was relatively easy, with only about 200m of ascent, the rest being downhill through Hollentalklamm, or Hell Valley Gorge.

It took about 2 hours to get to the start of the gorge path. The paths to get there were protected with cables bolted into the rock face that can be used as hand rails. We didn’t feel the path was narrow enough to need them, although the drop was sheer and lengthy at times. Also, the paths were quite wet and slippery as it rained last night so the cables were sometimes reassuring. You can see the path on the picture below, leading eventually to the hut.

We were delighted to see 7 alpine salamanders, which we’ve never seen before. They look like black jelly sweets. Two posed to have their photos taken: the others were frightened and waddled away with their funny walk. I’m glad it rained last night or we probably wouldn’t have seen them.

We stopped at the hut at the start of the gorge for coffee and cake. As we were eating it, the mist shrouded the mountain tops and light rain started.

We set off again with rain coats on. It didn’t really matter that it was raining. With all the waterfalls down the rock faces in the gorge we’d have been wet anyway! And at least it’s warm; unlike when it rains at home!

The path was amazing, with dimly lit tunnels and narrow paths hewn from the valley walls. The roar of the water was really loud as the stream tumbled and squeezed its way through the rock. The gorge must be even better earlier in the year when there’s more water in the streams from snow melt and rain. I’d love to do it again.

At the end of the gorge we stopped in a second hut for lunch. I had pancake soup (yep, chopped pancake in soup!) and gluhwein 🙂

The rain had eased by the time we finished lunch and we set off back to the van. We were lucky with the weather. It’s chucking it down now, and the clouds are so low we can no longer see the mountains.

I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. I haven’t checked the forecast yet. In any case we won’t be doing anything strenuous because we’re having a rest day before, weather permitting, we tackle the highest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze. It is 2963m high and takes 2 days to walk up, with a stay in a mountain hut. We’ll then get a cable car or train back down.

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