09 Nov 2008

Two hikes with the boys

In the last week I went on two great hikes with the boys. First was on Breitenstein, with Angie, Josef, Felix, Helga and Evelyn. We were a big group! But the boys felt right at home, holding Josef’s hand, or Helga’s or Evelyn’s at different times.

The hike up got a little boring for the kids. But with everyone helping we always found something, like roots or mushrooms or water. I have such a hard time hiking up a dirt road, I really have to sympathize with the kiddos! Finally, after about 1000 feet of hiking and another 300 more ahead I was getting worried about the overall size of the effort. Along came a jeep with an older couple who offered a ride to the kids…angels! I got in with the boys and we bounced up the steep narrow road, passing Josef, Angie and friends who looked bemused. The kids giggled at every bump in the road. What a treat! They were very nice. They let us off at a pass that marked our hut (I forgot the name of it).

Angie and the others arrived, and the boys did their best to eat all the cake they brought. They continued on to the summit but me and the fellas went to the hut for long-promised cake and ice cream (this is how I get kids to hike!). I have a picture of them waiting impatiently at the table.

We finally started down on a long journey. But as long as the boys got chances to stop and play with rocks, water or toy trains (preferably all at once), they were happy. I hoped this would be the first of many special trips with dad.

Next, after a week of pestering me to go hiking again, we hiked up the Kranzhorn. Well, we didn’t tag the summit, but we reached the hut/playground just a bit below the summit. Again we had beautiful weather, and made a wise choice to hike up on a steep trail that had warm southern exposure. The views of the Inn River Valley (or Inntal as they say here) were amazing. I think this is one of the best view peaks around. The elevation gain was around 1000 feet. The boys definitely got tired at the end, though it was hard to tell if it was boredom or worn-out legs. Rowan actually has a cold, and seemed to have learned how to cough theatrically in the last few days. He’s like an old Pennsylvania coal-miner! At one point he adopted another family, running up and holding hands with the mother. How awkward I felt! Oh well, I hiked with them for a while, then improvised an “Apple Juice Stop” that allowed them to go their own way.

The hut was a real treat. There was a slide and a petting zoo, but it was the last day it would be open this year and the rabbits and goats were already stowed away somewhere warm. Too bad! But the slide and other playground equipment were amusing. I had a delicious Weissbier and Kaiserschmarmm, though Elijah ate almost all the applesauce. The kids had Apfelstruedel and cream. It was very good!

We played this game where they would go into a little house, and I’d go on a hill across the way. They’d try to lure me over. Only when they got far enough out of the house would I come running down the hill to get them. They’d scream bloody murder and race for the house! They’d usually beat me. I was a little drunk so I put extra acting into the “monster” bit running down the hill.

Though I had “summit fever” I judged it was wiser to be prudent and preserve the store of laughing and fun we’d had rather than spend limited energy on the final climb. So we finally left, going down the easy way on a dirt road. But Rowan fell down after a few minutes and kind of mumble-cried for a long time! Poor fella, he was really tired. The kids got me to stop and let them play with their trains at a couple of culverts along the way. We also explored an abandoned bulldozer. “So viele Wildnis hier und sie wollen nur mit eine Maschine spielen!” I said to an older couple who laughed, forgetting that Maschine means jet airplane, not just any old machine.

10 minutes in the car with the heater on and I was the only one awake.