Alpe-Adria Trail Stage 5
Starting point: Just short of Stall, Austria
Ending point: Innerfragant, Austria
Stage distance: 24.37 km / 15.14 mi
Total distance: 76.22 km / 47.29 mi
Stage time: 7 hours, 27 minutes
Average pace: 18:22 min / km
So far, I think stage five has been the hardest of our daily hikes.
Not only was this our longest walk, but all parts of it just felt tough. Our morning’s ascent swept back and forth across the hillsides, switch-back style. This was interspersed with steep climbs up through the forest. Then we had a fairly flat stretch requiring a bit of finagling over, under, and around barbed wire and electrical fences. (One of the low-voltage fences even zapped me today. That was quite the shock … literally.) And then, after already walking for several miles, we headed downhill on a very uneven path of slick rocks and loose dirt. Of all the terrain we traversed on stage five, this descent was the most technical.
But the weird thing about today was the weather.
From the time we woke up, thin, wispy clouds were lightly lifting out of the valley, only to be replaced by more clouds. The morning fog was damp, and the sun didn’t burn through the clouds all day. At times, the air was wet, the trees dripping around and on us even through it didn’t actually rain. This made parts of the trail particularly muddy. The slick rocks and loose dirt were downright treacherous.
We didn’t put on our rain gear because of the high humidity. It would have been oppressive to hike in too much clothing. Sweat and wet air already soaked through our clothes.
Walking today’s trails felt like walking in western Washington. Looking across the valleys today reminded me of checking out the views in Costa Rica. Today definitely didn’t feel like a simple, go-lucky stroll through Austria.