While my first walking trip to Mayrhofen saw us bathed in sunshine, the second holiday was not quite as sun dappled. But while I initially despaired at the lack of rays, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We may have missed the sun, but we received snow in its place. This meant that we got to do some fantastically eerie, lonesome hikes in the falling snow. It gave Mayrhofen a very different atmosphere, as well as an insight in to what was awaiting me in the winter season.
The night of our first full day on holiday, it snowed. And it snowed A LOT. When we woke up, the town was bathed in white, and the snow was still falling heavily and wetly. We couldn’t see the tops of the mountains, due to the clouds, but we were not deterred from taking a cable car up to see if it was possible to do any hiking.
So we pulled on some waterproofs, dug out our gloves, and set out in to the whirling white.
Due to the conditions, we opted to go up Penken, as most of the walks there are vaguely familiar to us. We zoomed up the scary cable car and arrived at the station. It was completely deserted. It was a little spooky, but it was also nice to feel as though you had the whole place to yourself.
We set off and carried along the path towards Wanglespitz. It was really strange walking along the path with absolutely no concept of where, or how high up, you were. It was also deathly quiet. Apart from the crunch of our boots, the only other sound was that of falling snow.
We eventually reached a very old, abandoned shepherd’s hut and debated where to go. Until that point, we hadn’t seen a soul.
As we were deliberating, a group of insane mountain bikers came past. Evidently we weren’t the only stubborn fools who were determined not to miss a day in the mountains because of a little precipitation. We decided to follow them, as their bike tyres were rather handily creating a path for us to follow. At least this way we could all get lost together.
It turned out that the mountain bikers were heading towards Lanersbach. We had not done this route previously, so it was a new experience for us. I would love to do it in the sunshine at some point, as I bet the views are fantastic on a clear day.
Following the mountain biker’s tracks made the walk in to a bit of an adventure, especially if we momentarily lost sight of where they were. We crossed a stream or two, and then arrived at some empty farm buildings.
Topping up on some supplies of emergency brioche, we decided to try and find somewhere to warm up and dry off. The snow was getting heavier, and the cold was setting in despite our best efforts.
We followed the slope downhill a little way, and then came across a large hut. The place was largely empty, apart from one small room that was warmed by a fire and some workmen on a lunch break.
We sat down gratefully and chugged down some hot chocolate (the first of many that holiday!).
By the time we slunk out of the warmth, the snow had stopped. We now had a very, very long downhill section to tackle in order to reach Lanersbach.
The route was now basically a nice, smooth road, but it swirled quite steeply downhill. As we descended, the weather got better and better, and the clouds that had smothered us began to lift.
As we neared Lanersbach, we began to see the rolling green hills and shepherds’ huts that littered the mountainside. After what seemed like an age, we eventually reached the town and located a bus to take us back to Mayrhofen. We couldn’t believe how much the weather had changed. The snow had almost all melted already, and the sun was now shining.
That was the first of several changeable days…