Engeratsgundsee, August-2017

'Outside the comfort zone is a zone of uncomfort, and not a box of chocolates' - someone told me some time ago. What is a comfort zone in fact? Lately it became some kind of a trend. Dozens of motivational signs claim that one needs to leave a comfort zone and life then will immediately turn into colors. People rush to travel around awaiting that enlightenment will fall on them as soon as they will go to another part of the world, as India, Nepal or wherever else. But in fact the matter is not in a physical action but a mental one. And it apparently requires quite some work. One could travel the world, but if to stay mentally self oriented, and dragging along all personal issues, frames and stereotypes, that person would stay blind and shut, traveling will maybe bring some more selfies with beautiful backgrounds, but nothing else. Another one by staying opened and sensitive might see all the possible beauty and miracles every day by never leaving the hometown. If to stay fully perceptional to the world around a term 'comfort zone' wouldn't exist at all. A comfort zone is probably some kind of illusion of keeping own's life under control and safety. Just an illusion. Because there are no ever guarantees to anything. But well, keeping own's full perception and acceptation is one very tough thing. At least for me that state is very fragile. And if I can keep it easily in nature, city usually dictates different rules.

I went to Alps in the end of August 2017. Again Allgaeu Alps, but more a western side from a Schrecksee which I visited last year. In purpose was to visit four beautiful alpine lakes, again, a week autonomously in high mountains, me and my dogs. First night after arrival I stayed at a camping in Sonthofen, same one as previous year. Owner of the camping recognized me, that was fun. A memories from the last trip to a magical Schrecksee flooded me, so I took a local white beer, dogs and took some time to relax and think by the river.

Mobile photo

It was becoming late, tomorrow was going to be a long difficult day, so yeah, was time to have some food and go to sleep. Here was waiting a first surprise. With some unbelievable reason I took 100g gas instead of 250g. For one week. Most of my food was vacuum dried and required hot water to turn it to an eatable state, half my dog’s food was a powder. Tomorrow was going to be Sunday, in Bavaria, in small alpine towns, so everything was going to be closed. Panic. I asked locals about any possibilities to buy a gas anywhere, but there was no ways. Well, probably I would need to have way less tea, less food...And it's fine, it's surely gonna be fine.

Next day was already a traditional transfer to Bad Hindelang and then to Hinterstein, and there started my way to Engeratsgundsee. Not far, but was pretty hot and 24 kg backpack did it's work. Another surprise was waiting for me - mobile connection was gone. Last year during a trip to Schrecksee, connection was almost everywhere, except maybe areas down by the lake. But it was enough to climb up for 20 min, and here it was, together with 4G internet. I still expected that connection would appear by the lake, as it was quite high, at 1884m. On the way I met few people walking down, they, seeing my big backpack gave me some tips about the overnighting, as camping in those areas is forbidden. They said there is an old shepherd's hut by the lake, which stays opened the whole year as a shelter in case of thunderstorm. I might use it.

There was hut indeed and no good place for setting a tent, so I decided to stay in the hut. A plan was to stay here for two nights, climb and trek around and then to move forward. I left most of stuff in the hut and via Türle walked around the lake. Clear water, fatty marmots, silence, beautiful peaks around. And still no connection. And the most surprising for me was - I didn’t really care. Only my parents and two other people in Germany and the Netherlands who usually are my contacts in case of accident knew about my trip and exact dates of the trip. I felt kinda obliged to inform them that I’m fine. But that was it.

The hut wasn’t the most cozy place I have ever stayed at... My dogs, used to stay in all possible cabins, huts, campsites, hotels, b&b and tent, and were now really tired, still tried to escape from it. There was no windows, I closed the door, but still continuously felt a cold kind of 'breathing' to my face.

Mobile photo

I had two small candles with me, so I lightened one to create some illusion of a safety, and tried to fall asleep. Didn't really work.

Next morning - an early wake up, I looked outside. There was an amazing starry sky with a moon. I had a plan to climb up the lake and to meet there a sunrise. But quite spontaneously decided to climb further and check for mobile connection on the ridge. Path was becoming more sharp and rocky and then turned to a sharp stone wall, I had to leave my backpack and a tripod with camera on half way to help my dogs to scramble up, to a so-called 'Doors'. Here is a view on it taken with a phone during a day- the peak is the 'Doors' and on the right from peak is visible a zig-zag, which was kinda path.

A year ago this kind of sharp wall would scare me, as I’ve being always afraid of heights. Surely I still climbed but it cost me some nerves. But that morning, I was just scrambling up and up, quickly and happily, looking how peaks become closer, and how night darkness changes with first light of a dawn. I even tried to find that fear inside myself to feel the adrenalin and excitement, as before, but didn’t succeed. Instead, I felt power and certainty that everything is going to be right. I climbed up the 'Doors', it was a real Mordor, surrounded only by rocks. I finally understood why trekkers/climbers tend to climb higher and more complicated peaks every time. It made sense... If before I liked green meadows and mountains, I fell in love now with those sharp, silent stones. Life among them seemed so simple. You are either alive and it's a real gift, or you are not. The rest doesn't really matter. Life is not good, life is not bad, it's totally neutral. It either is or not. The rest - only a picture in one's mind. And one can create any picture.

In the meanwhile my dogs were playing on the ridge between two precipices, making my heart stop from time to time and multiplying my gray hairs (that's adrenalin!). Sun slowly appeared over the peaks. Camera was lying far away from me on the rocks half way down, so this time sunrise was only mine.

I found a mobile connection, even here on the ridge I could catch it only on one small spot. So I managed to call, blessings to those poors, able to reply a phone call at 5 a.m. 'Yes, I’m fine, No mom, I don’t climb anywhere, I only walk on meadows and don’t do anything dangerous. Yeah, there are crowds of people around! But I'll be away from connection for few next days.' Done, I'm now free, my phone is useless.

After climbing down I took out my clothes and jumped into the lake. How to describe this moment? Here was standing my house, maybe not just mine if to take to account that cold breathing (and cross for a young boy nearby), but still! A big lake with lots of fish, mountains, nobody around, morning sunshine. One of the moments I'll be forever grateful for!

Getting back to hut I tried to sleep a bit, but soon was waken up by someone trying to open the doors. My sleepy muzzle looked outside. There were four people with happy smiley eyes, one man among them with a dark sun tanned skin. He appeared to be Dutch, born in Groningen. I could never even admit. But he escaped the Netherlands, lives now in Germany and climbs mountains all over the world. That's why I love this kind of accidental meetings, because they are never accidental.

In the evening I had a chance to observe formation of a thunderstorm, in just about 20 km from me. It was fun until I realized that it moves in my direction. I was at about 2000 m altitude at that moment. I've never been running that quickly in my life probably. And this evening I was very happy to be inside the hut. Lightings at this altitude on the open area are pretty dangerous.

The last morning I met at Türle, and then went far off the road to Kleiner Daumen and discovered a completely different world, hidden and not seeable from any paths. That was a truly magical place.

But the road was calling and it was time to move further to another lake and climb a Grosser Daumen. And that would be a different story.

P.S. Don't forget the rule when going to nature. LEAVE NO TRACE!

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