White

Our destination today was supposed to be a place called Dreisessel, some neat rocky formations close to where the borders of Austria, Germany and the Czech republic meet. We have never done much exploring here before, but it’s a fantastic landscape dotted with forested hills. Dreisessel was supposedly easy to reach, with a huge parking lot close by and a decent path going up. With kids, you get pickier about the hikes. We often go for just the easy ones.

We woke up in some old snow this morning, but it was dry, and didn’t look like much more was coming. Dreisessel was about 20km to the east, and we weren’t sure how it would be there. On the way over there, we climbed a bit, but not an insane amount of altitude gain. Nevertheless the surrounding landscape turned into a real life freezer. I absolutely love this shit. At the parking lot, we found ourselves more or less in a blizzard. I think this is what a blizzard is. The weather forecast predicted hurricane-level gales from the Alps. That turned out to be correct. We also had icy snow. And we were more or less inside a snow cloud. It was amazing, but also quite intense.

The walk up to Dreisessel would take just 15 minutes (at least times three with kids). There should be a guesthouse with coffee up there as well, and according to Google, they were open. Perfect to recharge, and walk back down.

About two steps into the hike, my son declared that he didn’t enjoy this. The freezing snow winds hit his cheeks at full speed, and he did not appreciate it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell a toddler to take on for the team, or push through because it will be rewarding. His little brain doesn’t work that way yet. I decided to carry him, and instructed him to hug his face into dad’s chest as hard as he could, which he did very well. After a couple hundred meters he was done with it. Being carried wasn’t fun, on dad’s shoulders wasn’t fun, running wasn’t fun, nothing was fun. ‘Back to the car’, he stammered with a sad voice.

I guess we made it one-third of the way up. Regardless, the landscape here was already spectacular. The patterns of snow on the trees revealed that wind and ice had been part of the daily grind here for a long time. There must have been a meter of snow in some places. I don’t think I have seen this type of snow cover aside from some mountain peaks in the Alps. Even if the hike was nonexistent, the views were worth the drive. We will certainly be back with better weather (it turned out that the parking lot was a camper lot, too, which makes it a golden destination for us!)

Here’s some pictures to give an idea of the landscape.

Ice skeletons in an eerie white landscape
Some adventurous cross-country skiing folks had taken a shortcut
Blizzard rolling in
White
The parking lot had an official parking guard hut with a good layer of snow on top
View on the camper area wasn’t bad either

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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