I arrived in Salzburg to meet Gus Maxwell to begin our travels.
The goal of our day was to hike the Untersberg. Because The Sound Of Music is on in the background, I have time to really expand on today’s journey.
We woke up this morning and went to the open air market. We knew we were going to have a full day of hiking, so we picked up supplies. This turned out to be a quarter of a loaf of a very dense loaf of bread, a couple thick slices of cheese, a chunk of dried pork, and some apples.
The food looked good, so we tried to figure out how to get to the trail head. We asked a tour service and a guy named Steve from Idaho Springs and he pointed us in the right direction… Bus #22. We got on the bus and both Gus and I had a feeling we were going the wrong way. So we jumped ship.
We went into a tobacco shop and the woman in there gave us her advice… bus #25. We hopped back on the train and immediately felt more comfortable.
We arrived at the base of the Untersberg where the tram takes people up to the top. It is pretty impressive looking at the sheer rock faces that make up the Untersberg. We went to the ticket counter and asked the guy behind the counter where the trailhead was. He looked straight at our Chacos and said that we should not go, that it required hiking boots and what were wearing was for the beach. With that, I smiled and asked which bus we needed to take to get to the trailhead. We hopped on bus #35 to get to the trail head.
3 busses later we made it to the trail. We knew this was going to be a tough hike because it was only 3 K. and was supposed to take 3 hours. That is a little under 2 miles. So it was going to be a straight up hike.
What we thought came true. It was slow going and our struggles getting on the right bus put us on the trail at noon, just in time for the full heat of the day. The next problem we realized was that we each only had a liter of water.
Trekking in the Alps was truly spectacular. We quickly realized that the locals thought we were nuts. They had trekking poles, we did not. They had their shirts of, ours were on. And finally, we were two young guys hiking the Untersberg in sandals. The trail was steep, but people have been hiking this for hundreds of years. The trail was well maintained and any steep parts had been reinforced, so we really didn’t have any issues in our Chacos.
The issue that we thought would be a problem started nagging on me. We were having to pace ourselves on our water intake. I was really upset with myself because I had left my first aid kit with iodine tablets at the hostel.
We hiked for a little over an hour and came to a copper pipe with a tub that was pouring out water out of the mountain. There were cups on the side of it and were elated that we had some water. I had never drank straight from a mountain, and we rolled the dice a little bit, but apparently it worked out (no gut and butt issues!)
We continued up and got to the narrow part of the hike that gains the ridge and gets you to the backside of the mountain to push for the summit. The ridge was very narrow, about a yard wide, but there was a metal rope strung along this part to hold onto as well. The drop was a couple thousand feet straight down. (i am listening to the sound of music and Maria said she just loves playing on the Untersberg…it is hard for me to believe this! I dont think you can just.casually play there). I am not going to lie, I was nervous. Nerves are good, right? But Gus and I were hiking a narrow ridge in Chacos. Once we got into the grove of it we plowed forward and got it done.
We climbed the ridge and made it to the top where the tram drops people off in about 3 hours. It was a good hike, but there was a little more to go from the tram station. We trudged on and finally made it to the top. We took our pictures and then got off the summit because storms were rolling in.
We wanted to take tram down to avoid the pain in our knees and the long decent. We got to the ticket and asked for 2 student tickets. He asked if we were students in Salzburg, and with our Denver ids on the table, said no. He said we.would have to pay full price. We had about €17 and change… not enough for the €11 each. He felt bad apparently and gave us the €7.50 student rate.
So a couple of lucky breaks and we made it to the top and down safely. Probably a little sketchy at times, and I would do things differently if we did it again, but now it has made a great story!