Cycle Tour Tour in the Alps 2013
Dag 10: Steeg - Lechleiten
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Added on 25 Aug 2013
on 31 Aug 2020
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by-sa: CREATIVE COMMONS Attribution-ShareAlike
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by Ottocolor on 18 Nov 2013
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Steeg, Tirol, AT (1127 m NHN)
Steeg, Tirol, AT (1536 m NHN)
08 Aug 2013
Changing sun and clouds, in the afternoon overcast, but it brightened up in the evening. Cool, about 20°C. Almost no wind.
Road into Steeg without a bike lane, but only light traffic. The last stretch on a steep cul-de-sac without traffic. Trip into Warth (just me) on a road partly with a bike lane. Yet another trip into the mountains on a rocky path, more suitable for mountain bikes.
Rest day in mountainous environment. Three trips ridden by me, two by Simon. We got the bikes in Steeg, made a trip into Warth (just me) and a mountainbike-like trip into the mountains, where we had to leave the bikes and go on by foot.
It was great to wake up in a real bed and think it was a day of rest, and that Simon and I had no big plans for it. The only obvious thing was to get our bikes down in Steeg. The rest was up to our wishes and the weather. I started the day by going for a walk on foot around our pension before breakfast. Simon was still asleep, and I let him sleep.
As soon as I stepped out of the parking lot in front of the house a stunning Alpine panorama opened. And it was absolutely quiet. We were up at over 1500 meters altitude. I walked over to a bench and looked out on the mountains for a long time. In front of me the terrain fell steeply towards the Lech river valley. The river itself I could not see. Behind it the mountains rose with an adjacent valley from the south. Just to the right there was a double mountain with two peaks, Mittagsspitze and Kleine Rappenspitze. Further to the right, or west, lay the village of Warth with its pointed steeple. I tried to follow the path that we had to ride up tomorrow over the entire Alpine Tour's cycling peak of Hochtannbergpass, which levelled out at 1,675 m, but could only see that it disappeared into a so-called avalanche gallery, that is a roofed road. Not very pretty, but effective against the danger of the road being covered by snow in winter. After looking out across the beautiful mountain panorama I went for a little walk. The cul-de-sac ended right here in a parking lot, and continued in a small mountain path past something called the climbing garden Schrofenwies. Here learning climbers learn to climb on the rocks with the necessary safety precautions. A little farther on there was a very beautifully situated barbecue area, before the path forced a fence and went down across a large meadow. I sat for a time on one of the benches. There was firewood in a small woodshed, and I thought that here Simon and I would make a barbecue tonight. If the weather allowed it. Right now the sun was shining, but there were also some clouds, which up here in the mountains were more down in the valleys than up in the sky. The high mountain range to the north was completely wrapped in clouds, so I could not see their tops.
When I came back to our pension Simon was still asleep. He also enjoyed sleeping in a real bed and be on his holiday. But I had to rouse him, because we had agreed to have breakfast at 10, and he had to wake up and get dressed first. We agreed to meet upstairs in the breakfast room. First I looked around a little in the house, which was decorated very traditionally with beautiful, old knick-knacks. In the hall stood both an old sewing machine and an old pram with dolls with porcelain heads. I think my mom had played with the like, when she was a little girl. I also stuck my head into the kitchen and asked for permission to chill some food in their fridge, and that was okay. In the breakfast room one couple from Germany were already seated. It turned out that they were veterans of the place and had come here for 14 years. Later, a young Austrian couple from Vienna joined us. They said they had fled from the heat in Vienna, where there had been record high temperatures a couple of days ago, more than 40 degrees. Soon Simon appeared and we enjoyed emptying the breakfast buffet with everything our stomachs and tongues craved for. We also talked about our cycling holiday, and the others were a little impressed, we cycled in the Alps. Simon tried also to speak a little German. The other two couples had plans for a mountain hiking. We talked a bit about the weather, which seemed a little uncertain today after the long period of stable high-pressure weather. So they did not want to venture too high up on the ground. Frau Lechleitner had a busplan of the bus to Steeg, in order to get our bikes. Right now our cycling holiday was suspended for a while. So Simon and I went down to our room and made ready for walking down to the bus stop at the bottom of the valley.
The small cul-de-sac twisted off in gruesome hairpin bends. So adamant it had not seemed in the Audi last night, and we would meet our match on the bikes here later. It took a little longer than planned to walk down to the bus stop on the main road, but we made it just in time. And the driver did not even want money to take us to Steeg. The bus was almost empty, and we enjoyed the ten kilometers of downhill ride and were soon down at the Gasthof Stern again, where our bikes faithfully were waiting for us in the garage. I went inside to thank our waitress from last night and gave her some tips for her kindness and asked her to greet her boss. So we rolled the bikes out in the sun. Before we took to the road, we found a store to buy groceries for lunch and for our barbecue. I had in fact not seen any shops from the bus. Now, not tired, well prepared for the climb and without luggage, it did not seem so bad. In addition, the traffic was very quiet so we talked a lot. There was a long tunnel, where it was pretty cold. Probably the first time on the entire trip I was a bit cold. That was, however, totally over with the last piece of road, winding up to Lechleiten. Ye gods, it was precipitously. Simon got out in front of me, and I saw him jolly well cycle all the way up. I thought it was well done, because about halfway up, I had to give up and wheel my iron horse uphill. I noticed a place where a small path went off to the left. That was probably the path up to Schrofenpass, an adventure pass for mountain bikers who could cross the northern Alpine spine here. I had found some clips on you tube, which I had sent to Simon, showing some cool mountainbaikers fought some very rough terrain. Several places the rock wall seemed to fall vertically and lying ladders helped them cross the worst places. It is the only way to cross the border between Germany and Austria on a long section, and it passes near Germany's southernmost point. I would like to get up on top of the pass and look down on the German side, and so I told Simon later. He was in for a try, but may be the weather was not with us. So far I had better get up to Schrofenwies and after the piece on foot I could ride the final stretch again. But gosh, it would have been too hard to go up here with luggage and tired as last night. The Alps are harsh terrain. But also magnificent terrain when you are up, and the view from Lechleiten was truly magnificent. But for the time we walked inside our pension to relax a bit and have lunch up in the breakfast room. Afterwards the remaining foods went into the refrigerator. Simon was quite prepared to grill in the evening, and I looked forward to show him the place I had found. After lunch we relaxed in our room. At one point I asked Simon if he wanted up to Schrofenpass and look into Germany from the 'foot' and he agreed to it later. Right now he wanted to relax. It was fine for me, but I wanted to see more of the area, so I went into Warth by bike and nose around there. On the way I passed the border between Tyrol and the westernmost Austrian federal state of Vorarlberg. It follows a small stream at the bottom and from there the road leads steeply uphill to the village. It's not really that exciting, but I was just inside the tourist information office. It is mostly a ski resort, and I also had a look at the ski lifts, one of which had also open now in the summer. It was cozy, and I looked around for a place to drink a cup of coffee and I found one on the terrace of a large hotel. It was pretty ugly, but with the building in my back, I had a fine view of the slope. After the coffee I was researching a little about the route tomorrow and cycled around in the village. It was really nothing special and had looked better from the pension parking lot in the morning. So I turned back by rolling down into the valley and fighting my way up to Lechleiten and pension Schrofenwies again. Here Simon was lying on his bed, reading his book. He was not quite ready for a try on Schrofenpass yet, and the weather was worsening. I put myself at the table outside the house in order to write a few postcards, but it was too windy and at one point the wind threatened to blow the postcards out over the hillside in some kind of air mail, so I went inside to Simon again. Now he was ready to make an effort to go up into the mountains above us, so we found the place where the trail went off. It was called Mindelheimer Hütte, which is its target on the German side of the border. In the beginning it was okay but it was not long before we could not ride anymore. Not only was it steep, but there were a great many rocks, so we doubted how anyone could ride a bike here, even on a good mountain bike and without luggage. We hoped that one would come down against us, so we could see it was possible. But no one did now. Weather at the pass was just too bad. We had left our bikes in some shrubs to see if we could walk up there, but clouds were drifting down from the col, so we agreed to turn back as we wouldn't have been able to see anything from up there. Too bad. I would have loved to go into Germany through this 'back door'. At the opposite end of Germandy I had passed the border in Kruså countless times. Our barbecue was threatened, as the weather seemed pretty hostile, but nonetheless it brightened up again, when we were down at pension Schrofenwies again.
Now it was time to prepare our barbecue. We both thought we should try and hoped it would stay dry. The place was so nice up on the hillside, and it could be a kind of climax to grill, eat and drink in the beautiful surroundings. It took a while to get the fire burning and make charcoal, but then we had time to talk and let the previous alpine tour flash back before our eyes. It was great to relax after a good day in the mountains, and fortunately it stayed dry all evening. It even brightened up so that we could see all over the mountain panorama. At one point some hikers came waddling across the meadow and over the fence at our barbecue area. At that time we had put sausages on the grill that smelled nice. We could see that they were hungry, for they looked enviously at our barbecue. But they had a few miles left before they were in Warth. The path they walked on, is called Lechtal hike route, and it led down to Steeg. This trail we could have hiked down to pick up our bikes in the morning, but Simon had not been up to it. And in that case, we certainly had not tried to walk up to Schrofenpass. When the sausages finally were ready, we enjoyed them tremendously. I thought that now the cycling holiday would soon be over. Next day we had to ride the last stretch up to Hochtannbergpass, but most climbs we had already done. And it had gone well all the way until now. We sat for a long time chatting until it began to turn dark. So we packed our things and went back to our pension. The bikes we put into the garage, and the day ended lying on our backs on the bed watching television. It had been a wonderful day.