It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. After years of travel restrictions, I laced up my hiking boots and filled my backpack, ready for an adventure with my hubby.
In the first two weeks, we immersed ourselves in the culture of some familiar places and some new ones. We made new friends, we tried new food, and we sampled some very special beer.
We also hiked to the less travelled places, even in the big cities. My trail shoes took me along rivers and canals, through foresrs and gardens, and stops were made in outdoor beer gardens unlike anything we have at home.
My ability to keep a pace, get my blood pumping, and keep my mind in a positive space even when it got long, hot, and hard was quite good. Only a couple of glitches when things got tough and I had to reroute my mind to more positive pastures.
It’s taken me years to get to this space where I spend more time believing in myself than not. When it happens now, because I am human and am not nor will never be perfect, I handle it. I treat myself better than I used to.
Although two weeks of nonstop travel and trekking by foot were a bit of a challenge, this next part of the journey is where the real adventure begins.
The mountains. They were calling to us. So we listened.
Another day of travel landed us in the small town of Leogang, Austria. A ski village by winter and downhill biking and hiking spot in the summer, the over 400 km of trails with a massive gondola system is like a dream.
The access to mountains has never felt easier.
Our first day of hiking was nothing less than amazing. With only small hills over the last couple of weeks, and a bit of a break from training leading up to my last book launch, it had been a bit since I’d climbed, and a while since I took on a mountain.
Climbing a mountain is never easy. Some attempts are more graceful, and others are a mess. I used to get quite nervous, even anxious, the night before, and even more so the morning of. I’m finally here, in a place where I found a sense of peace before the big climb.
We had a leisurely afternoon watching the rain from a cozy lunch spot. I was excited for the potential of good weather and a long day on the side of a mountain.
The morning of the climb came. I was calm. The breakfast buffet was amazing. My body was ready.
The first section of the climb is what I call a fuck you up, go straight up section. The gradients are high. My heart thrumming against my chest, sweat drenched my hair and shirt, I focused on one step at a time and found a decent pace. The best approach for me is to find that flow and to avoid stopping.
When it eased, so did my being. I took some deep breaths, a long pull on my water tube, and realized how good I felt. That first real push is hard, but by embracing it, I put myself into an invigorated place.
The hike was about a good 10 km up. We climbed about 1200 m. There was a windy gravel section with some easier stretches, exposed and hot. When we reached the middle station, a gondola point, we took a little breather and strolled around a beautiful lake.
We soon reentered the forest. The fresh coolness was welcome. The trail alternates between steep sections and flatter ones. I got into a flow of pushing on the steep parts and recovering on the flatter ones. Recovery didn’t mean slowing down. It meant upping the pace to flush out my legs while breathing to calm my wild heart and drinking some much needed water.
The final stretch was crazy. Straight up, for what seemed like it would go on forever. One step at a time, I made it.
I was surprised by the calm I felt the entire time. I was thrilled by how well my body and my mind performed. I believed in my ability to complete the hike gracefully. It felt good. When days like this happen, my entire being is grateful for what I am able to do.
I was so elated that I decided we needed to do just a little bit more. We climbed to the next gondola stop, not far, but extremely steep. I wasn’t fast, but I wanted a few more meters under my belt for the day. I didn’t want to say good enough.
The reward was amazing. The view was the best part of it all, and I had earned it, one step at a time. We had a lovey charcuterie and beer at AlteSchmiede. Sitting on the patio, basking in the sun on the top of a mountain, I felt happier than ever.
After some rest, we descended on foot. We covered about 25 km and just over 1400 meters of ascent. This included the addition of the walk around the lake and the extra climb. A good day. The rest of the evening, I was in bliss, the mountain high clinging strong.
The map from my Strava is below. If you use Strava, you can follow me for the click able version. If not, don’t fret. I will be compiling a list of maps and details later.
This map shows both the way up and down.