Leut-ering With Intent: Mittenwald to Seefeld via Leutasch
14.75 miles / Ascent = 635m / Descent = 349m
Some winter days are just perfect. Cloudless blue skies, bright sunshine and crystal clear air that makes everything seem close and sharp. It's neither too cold to bear nor too warm to spoil the frosting on the trees, and there’s a sense of expectation and exhilaration as if secrets will be revealed.
Today was to be our last full day, and was just such a day. All we needed now was a cracking walk worthy of the conditions we had been so lucky to receive - and that's just what we had.
Our plan was simple. Weather permitting, we would catch the bus to Mittenwald, just over the German border, then walk back to Seefeld the long way via the Leutasch valley.
|Sunshine on the high mountains
And weather did permit. Not only that, it became clear there were lots of lovely high mountains around (like the Karwedel range) which would be great for summer walking, with splendid views to be had in all directions.
|Our old friend, the Jakobsweg
After alighting the bus in Mittenwald, we left town and headed towards the mountain restaurant at Gletscherschliff. On the way we passed the entrance to the Leutaschklamm walk - a walk of suspended walkways and high bridges making its way through the Leutasch gorge, which, sadly for us, is only open in the summer months.
|The start of the gorge walk, Leutascherklamm
|Glorious sunshine on the walk up to Gletscherschliff
Already it was glorious. Our path took us up into the woods, and soon we crossed the border back into Austria. At a time when the UK is facing up to an "In-Out" referendum on EU membership, the ability for walkers to cross unhindered from one country to another freely and without challenge serves as a timely reminder as to some of the more positive achievements of the European project.
|Grenzenlos - literally, "borderless" - a sign of friendship
and co-operation between nations
|Standing at the border, with the red, yellow and black pole of
Germany and the blue and white pole of Austria
|On the descent to Schanz
From the border post, we followed the gently descending path to meet the road at Schanz. A short stretch of road walking followed, before we picked up a wide path along the valley bottom following the edge of the woods and skirting a number of the mini-villages that make up the Leutasch commune: Burggraben, Unterkirchen, Lochlehn, Reindlau and Puitbach before arriving in Gasse for a well-earned lunch of drinks and Apfel Strudel at Poli's Hutte.
|In the Leutasch valley #1: near Schanz
|In the Leutasch valley #2: near Unterkirchen
|In the Leutasch valley #3: near Reindlau
|In the Leutasch valley #4: near Reindlau
|In the Leutasch valley #5: near Reindlau
As the weather was still good and we were feeling fine and rested, we continued with our plan to walk to Seefeld. After crossing the valley, we followed the road through Weidach and picked up the path that climbed out of the valley, passing through Neuleutasch as it went. Despite the proximity to the main road, it was a nice undulating walk through woods and open spaces.
We had a brief break for coffee and bananas half way back, then carried on through the woods to reach Seefeld just as the sun was just disappearing behind some early-evening haze.
As we were getting ready for dinner, we reflected on a superb day - almost 15 miles of fantastic walking in excellent countryside on a glorious winter's day, much of it away from the hurly-burly of life and the commercialism of ski resorts.
What more could you want?