Bowser sits next to the coachman and is very impressed. They talk about Sarah and Bianca, the two horses in front of us. What a luck we found this horse-drawn vehicle to bring us back to our car. The last two days we walked a lot. My legs are tired. Bowser’s legs are way shorter than mine; I can’t imagine how exhausted they must be. He’s obviously very relieved that he can just sit down for a bit now. I understand. And I’m very proud of him, for walking along with us so well. I mean, he’s only two years old.
We are in Prägraten, a small village in the Austrian region Osttirol. Anna’s aunt Maria and uncle Andreas live here and invited us to stay at their place. A very nice place, surrounded by green mountains. And that’s exactly why we’re here, those mountains. Anna’s sister Teresa, Teresa’s boyfriend Dominic and their kid Ignaz join us.
Our plan is to hike up a mountain on day one and hike back down on day two. We’ll stay overnight in one of the many mountain huts in this region.
Watson can’t walk yet, so Anna will carry her in a baby carrier on her back. Ignaz is only one year old. He will walk certain parts but definitely not the whole way up. Dominic is prepared for that with his awesome and huge backpack including a rather luxurious seat for the little one. Almost like a throne. Looks comfortable. For Ignaz. I wouldn’t wanna swap with Dominic though.
And Bowser… we’ll see how long he can keep up. At home he has shown us that he can walk quite some distance. We just don’t have mountains at home, so no idea how it’s gonna be here. But we have time, the whole day actually. And we chose a relatively easy path to follow. At least that’s what Anna told me. But right before we leave, Andreas voices his doubts about that: “This path with a kid so small? I’m not sure if that’s gonna work.”
Andreas should know. Apparently he likes to run up there every year, with a bunch of other crazy people. It’s the path to the Essener und Rostocker Hütte, at an altitude of 2208 metres above sea level. The starting point lays at 1400 metres above sea level and then it’s about 6 kilometres to the top. Andreas takes less than an hour to get up the mountain. Quite impressive, I must admit.
We park the car in Ströden and start our walk. It takes us 4 hours in total. It’s a nice path, through woods and along rivers. Some parts are very steep, some are more relaxing. For a walk with kids, it’s the perfect length and difficulty level. Although I should say that especially the parts in the woods are a bit difficult for a two year old. Just imagine you have to climb rocks half your size. And that for 30 minutes in a row. Then take into account that it’s quite slippery because of all the tiny waterfalls…
But Bowser doesn’t complain. He’s so excited about everything. No time to complain, I guess.
At one point suddenly grandpa Mike and his dog Inka pass us by. They seem in a hurry, but decide to walk along with us for a while. Grandpa Mike doesn’t have the patience however to adapt his pace to Bowser’s. So in the end he puts Bowser on his shoulders for the last very steep bit up. Bowser doesn’t mind. His legs have done enough work for today. He immediately falls asleep on his grandpa’s shoulders and only wakes up once we’re all at the Essener und Rostocker Hütte enjoying our well-deserved drink. Grandpa Mike drinks two beers and runs down with Inka again.
The rest of us stay in the mountain hut. We have a bad night’s sleep and the next morning after breakfast we walk back down. When the steepest parts are over, we find a carriage with two horses in front: Sarah and Bianca. They take us back to our car.
The next day we walk up in a different direction, to the Umbal waterfalls. There’s a trail along the waterfalls. Bowser comes along for a bit, but suddenly sits down on a rock and refuses to take another step. “I’m tired,” he says. Of course he is.
And so we head back to a restaurant a bit further down where we eat fries and ice cream. Afterwards, Bowser, Ignaz and Watson play a bit at the playground next to the restaurant. Until we spot Sarah and Bianca again. We sit down in the carriage and before we even start, Bowser is asleep on my lap. I guess we need to take it easy for a bit.