These are the things that I didn’t know after reading the books and watching YouTube and Vimeo videos. Or where my experiences simply differ from others.
- Reserving / booking huts
Everybody will tell you to book huts a few days ahead, not the whole trip in advance. In principle this works with the following exceptions and considerations:
- Weekends – In peaks season, which the Traumpfad will be if you’re starting in August, huts are booked solid on weekends, especially those that can only accommodate a low no. of people. The Glungezer Hütte put people in tents and the Lizumer Hütte had to put mattresses in the hall way on Fri and Sat nights respectively.
- Phone / internet access – Be aware that you won’t always have phone signal and / or internet access. I ended up doing all the reservations in Hall for the remainder of the trip because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make calls for a few days.
- Munich start on Saturday / Sunday – A lot of people are starting in Munich on Saturdays and Sundays. This means the huts “along” this group of people will more likely to be full. Hint: the Saturday starters will be at the Glungezer on Friday night and Lizumer on Saturday night.
Surely you have the latest catalogue from the outdoor experts. Here is the thing: pack, carry & use what works for you.I followed the recommendation to use walking poles – 20,000m of elevation, I should look after my knees. I am not used to walking with poles, have never really used them before and carried them from Munich across the mountains without even unpacking them once.
To be fair, I would have needed them once to cross a river, but somebody else handed me theirs, which was faster than me unpacking mine.
I also carried an extra bottle of water that I never used, it’s a memory on the shelf today – the water I carried across the Alps.
Not saying you shouldn’t be using walking poles or drink water. My point is to use what works for you and drop the rest – not like me carrying 1.5kg for no other reason than learning the lesson.
To carry maps or not to carry maps, that is the question. – Well here is an alternative. With most books you’ll get the GPS tracks… and on another blog I read that best is to load them on your mobile phone into an app that has offline maps. This way you don’t carry the extra weight and still know where to go. Done, was one of the first apps I ever had (and barely ever used)… downloading the offline maps for the whole trek was a lot of data and took a fair chunk of time though (pretty much a whole Saturday).
What turned out even better, I didn’t use the book any more. If I wasn’t 100% sure where to go or wanted to confirm I am on the right track, I just pulled out the phone for a sec (which was in flight mode, to safe battery) opened the app, checked my position, closed the app (so GPS is off, to safe battery), done. Easy and accurate!