MoritzAltenbach

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The Eagle Walk – Fight over the summits in the Karwendel Mountains

The Eagle Walk – Fight over the summits in the Karwendel Mountains

So, next try. For the restart of my mission, I adjusted some settings, as I was completely overloaded during my first two stages. Tent, camping mattress and sleeping bag I replaced by a smaller sleeping bag only for huts, as my further plan was to spend every night on huts along the trail. By that, I could reduce the weight of my backpack by about three kilograms. Unfortunately, this weight I almost added again by taking my via-ferrata climbing gear with me, as Kenny and I planned to go two via-ferrata trails. Whatever, the volume of my backpack decreased by that and it was not as bulky anymore. Also, I now brought with me a new rain cover for the backpack, if there would be some new rain along the way. So much to the adjustments. 

In the morning of September 8th, we started, once more towards the mountains. My Parents drove us, as the trailhead was rather difficult to reach this time and my parents wanted to spend some time in the mountains as well. So it happened that from the trailhead in the beautiful Falzthurntal we set out as a company of four until my parents decided to have some sweet lunch at one of the serviced huts. That sounded pretty tempting, but it’s been a little too early for me and Kenny, so we marched on, all the way to the hut we would spend our first night at, the Lamsenjoch-Hut. We reached this hut by the late afternoon, arranged our spots in the bunk beds and then set out for another session outside during the last hours of daylight. Our goal was the via-ferrata trail up to the peak of the Lamsenspitze, however, we couldn’t find the entrance to it as the signage was pretty bad and accidentally took the normal trail up. Perhaps also the fog played an essential role in this matter. Once we arrived on the summit, we found ourselves in a complete whiteout and could see nothing, still, the ascend was a nice one. Especially, because we could spot a huge eagle floating below the low clouds. Wow! As we had brought our cooking gear with us it was now time to cook some quick supper on the summit. Couscous with spiced pepper sauce. A good strengthening for the descent. This one, we now knew better, we took over the via-ferrata route. And that actually was a pretty technical session. Through a tunnel in the huge rock-wall, we reached the sheer face of this rock which we then had to climb down. It took us quite a time and we only reached the hut again when the daylight already failed. What an adventurous first day, and fun it was!

 

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More exhausting then the second day turned out. As the next hut on the trail was closed due to renovations the challenge today was to cover two stages. The weather, once more, was grey and gloomy and only sometimes one of the summits around appeared out of the clouds. Wearily we trudged from mountain to valley, again up the mountain, back into the valley and, once more, up the mountain. Man, this was exhausting. Only while we climbed the last slope the weather slowly got better. My wow-moment on this day I had while we were crossing great gravel wash in the last valley. In the middle of this grand scenery, there was one single tree that managed to withstand the strong natural forces of erosion in the travel wash. Photo-alarm, what a great composition! And now up to the hut, there’s supposed to be some great Kaiserschmarren (sugared pancakes with raisins) up there. But there wasn’t, as we disappointedly realized. Only for lunch, they served it, what a scam! At least the sky now really began to clear up, revealing one nice sunset this evening. And, during supper, we got to know Anton, Bernd, Simon, Merrit, and Kira, who also spent the night on the hut and would join us on the next day climbing the mighty Birkkarspitze. 

 

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No sooner said than done, in the morning, the company set out to cover the 900 vertical meter ascent to the highest summit in the Karwendel Mountains. 2749 meters is the height of the Birkkarspitze and when we reached the summit at around 11 AM the excitement was huge. Almost cloudless the day presented itself and there was mountain beyond mountain around us. With this view, we then enjoyed our lunch and shortly afterward our ways separated again. Only Simon would hike on with us to the next hut, the rest of the group would make their way back to the previous hut. For us, the descent proved to be rather endless and tiring. About 1400 vertical meters we had to climb down into the Isar-Valley.

 

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Finally, as we got there it was almost shocking that we had to walk another two hours up again until we would find our day’s destination. I was at the end of my resources and to cap it all my shoulder started to ache with a searing pain, which made me doubt if I could still manage to move on the next day. After a while of slow stop and go we separated from Simon, as we didn’t want to slow him down. The nerves were on the edge, yet after some more tracks and slow trudging forward we made it to the hut. At the Hallerangeralm we then got the reward for our troubles. They could serve us our much-longed-for Kaiserschmarren and the sunset, seen from the patio, was just incredible. This really let me forget all my pain from the day. 

 

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After this magical sunset, we went to bed early to gather new strength for the last day. That one started again with beautiful weather and even my shoulder felt surprisingly good again. It must’ve been some wrong adjustment of my backpack’s straps that caused the pain the other day. So, one last time we climbed and descended the slopes of the mountains until, in the end, we found ourselves on top of the Nordkette, towering above the city of Innsbruck. And as a final reward for all the fighting, we granted ourselves lift tickets for the cable car, which brought us comfortably down into the valley. An absolute exception! Having arrived in Innsbruck, we then drank a coffee together to see off Simon, before Kenny and I entered the Bus back to Munich.  I already decided to do this step the day before, to give my shoulder some rest and continue with the trail only a couple of days later. Then I would take on the biggest challenge of the Eagle Walk, the Lechtal Alps. 

 

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The Eagle Walk – start in the Kaiser Mountains

The Eagle Walk – start in the Kaiser Mountains

Here we go, finally, I started my long tour through Tirol in St. Johann on the 30th of August, 2018. Around noon, I arrived on the train and marched to the official start of the trail, which was marked by a big eagle statue. On this late summer afternoon the sun was burning down and the temperatures were high, so I was fighting right from the beginning with my backpack weighing 20 kilograms. We may as well expect the worst. With a lot of effort and many breaks, I fought myself up the mountain, until, in the end, I reached the first stage’s destination, the Gaudeamus Hut. It’s not been too late, so I still went on and climbed another slope to the next hut, the Grutten Hut, where I spent the night. How I would manage the next days, I didn’t know, because bad weather was on the way. And, also, I had to get further quickly, as I wanted to meet my buddy Kenny in a couple of days to start stage 8 in the Karwendel Mountains.

Therefore I stood up early the next morning to make as much of a distance as possible, maybe even two stages. But after only a few hours the rain started, and not only a little bit. Quickly my mood changed and I was very bothered by the cheerless walking through the rain. I realized that this would not work out like this. Additionally, my backpack was so packed with stuff, that my rain cover didn’t fit over it anymore. This is madness. I really had to change my plans. The prospect of at least two more days of rain drove me to my knees and for now, I traveled back to Munich. Some days later I will start the stages through the Karwendel together with my friend Kenny. So far I managed to pass the Kaiser Mountains, but the Brandenberger Alps I have to skip. Whatever, I’m more excited about the Karwendel Mountains anyways!

 

 

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Summer in Europe – preparations for the next trip

Summer in Europe – preparations for the next trip

I am back!

Holy cow, now I really spent quite a long time elsewhere but on this blog. Time to change that! The reason for that is my upcoming trip which definitely matches the category of holiday and traveling and should, therefore, be reported on my travel blog. 

What happened this summer so far

Before I reveal to you my next destination, I first want to summarize quickly my summer activities. Primarily, my focus laid on cashing up after my year in Canada and to prepare for the upcoming season there. Ta-da! First surprise! I’ll go back to Canada for another winter. To Revelstoke again, to be more precise! As you remember, I reported from this great place quite a few times. However, this is not the trip I want to focus on in this post. This time we do not have to travel that far, only to the neighboring region of Tirol in Austria. Because of the vicinity to Munich I’ve spent quite a bit of time there this summer experiencing different adventures ranging from multi-day hikes to my first via ferrata experiences. But the big trip is just about to come up.

On the track of the Eagle

This subheading should already give you a hint on what to come. All across Tirol, there’s a long-distance trail, called the Eagle-Trail, which I want to start hiking next week. From this long-distance trail, I chose 23 of the 33 stages that I want to cover starting next Wednesday. They are all part of the northern Limestone Alps between St. Johann in Tirol and St. Christoph at the Arlberg. On my way, I will pass the Kaiser Mountains, the Brandenburger Alps, the Karwendel, the Wetterstein and the Lechtal Alps. A whole lot of nature. The distance covered on my way will be about 320 kilometers of which the hard part will be the 23.000 vertical meters to climb. But that’s what I trained for over the summer. Different from the wild multi-day experiences in North America I will find huts all along the trail to spend the nights at. Still, I plan to take camping equipment with me, mostly for cooking my own meals to keep the budget low. 

Reporting on Instagram

To keep you up to date my primary and only channel will be Instagram, as I won’t take my notebook with me which would be essential to maintain this blog. All those who don’t use Instagram can simply follow this LINK to access my profile landing page without registration. Also, all my posts can be found in the side column of this page and at the very end of it at the bottom. When my trip is finished, I will continue to report more detailed on this blog again. See you then.

Impressions from this year’s summer

 

 

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Skitouring in Revelstoke – earn your powder lines

Skitouring in Revelstoke – earn your powder lines

Let’s go on with the ultimate Revy madness. Since my last post, several weeks have passed again, which were everything else than unspectacular. Of course, during the peak season I had quite a few more shifts to work with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing, but in my free time, one highlight was chasing the other one. Altogether I spent nine days on the helicopter so far this season and who knows, maybe it works out another time towards the end of the season. But except those days I more and more developed to be a great winter fan, even more, than I was before. A big part of this development was ski touring, which I started this season. Surely, I had to invest quite a big amount of money into proper equipment, but nowhere else I would ever profit so much from great deals either over my workplace or just over the great second-hand culture of Revelstoke. And on top of it, Revelstoke offers just the best environment with the right experts around me to start ski touring. Either it’s just some simple touring out of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort or some advanced trips to Rogers Pass in the Glacier National Park, by going out on a ski tour you could really earn your perfect powder line. Here I have some new impressions from some of the touring trips I did together with my friends from Revy.

 

 

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Heliskiing in Revelstoke – The greatest skiing season of my life

Heliskiing in Revelstoke – The greatest skiing season of my life

Heliskiing in Revelstoke – Truly Fascinating

First of all, I want to show you a little video I edited from the footage I captured while I was Heliskiing in Revelstoke

How I got to do Heliskiing in Revelstoke

If there’s one thing I can say with certainty, then it is, that because I was Heliskiing in Revelstoke I experienced some of the luckiest days I ever had in my life. Actually, after every day I was out helicopter skiing I felt like being caught in a dream. I was in a euphoric state, which is hard to be described with words. As a usually humble person, I was always skeptical towards those expensive activities, that are not affordable to everyone. And honestly, I couldn’t afford to do that either if I would not work for Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing this winter. But more by default than by design I managed to meet the right people during my year in Canada, which opened this opportunity to me. And by that, I had the chance as a staff member to go Heliskiing in Revelstoke. Technically it’s been in the Selkirk mountains close to Revelstoke, which also describe the first part of the company’s name. The second part, Tangiers, results from a small area within the Selkirks, where the first trips were started 40 years ago. The Tangiers  River Valley, which goes all the way up to the Tangiers Pass and the Tangiers Glacier. As I now have experienced this my mindset towards Heliskiing has changed. I met a lot of guests that saved their money for a long time to get this experience once. And all of them have been happier people after that. Including myself.

Impressive Terrain in the Selkirks.

 

Why Heliskiing in Revelstoke is such an unbelievable experience

Heliskiing, that’s such a thing. What do you actually need that for? Let’s say it like that. Imagine the helicopter just dropped you off on top of a mountain, then flies on and what remains is a complete silence around you. An almost endless terrain of knee-deep powder bears in front of you. Except for your group, there’s no one out there. The ultimate experience in the wilderness. Of course, this enthralled my feelings as an outdoor loving globetrotter. But also just the experience of flying in a helicopter through the snow-covered summits is something very special. You really get a new perspective of the breathtaking nature in the mountains.

Be part of your environment. Heliskiing brings you to places inaccessible to the most of us.

 

And why exactly Revelstoke?

Alright, let’s bring light into why Revelstoke is a Mecca for Heliskiing. In general, there are two main factors. On the one side, you find incredibly good terrain. Both the Selkirks east of the Columbia River and the Monashees west of the great river are equally suitable for both skiing in the Alpine and tree skiing below the tree line. And on the other side, who would’ve thought it, the area around Revelstoke gets continuously reliable snow conditions over almost the entire season. All this together with the nice flair of the small, sport-enthusiastic town of Revelstoke makes this the ideal place for Heliskiing.

The small town of Revelstoke with its two remarkable features. The historic railroad and the grand Columbia River.

 

How Heliskiing in Revelstoke changed my life

Let’s get to the point how Heliskiing in Revelstoke changed my life. To be honest, my life already went towards a different direction than it did before my year in Canada when I was not yet working for Selkirk Tangiers. A lot of time in nature, be it on a hike, during camping or while skiing, showed me that this should be the highest priority in my future life. But through my work at Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing I got into a work environment where everybody; absolutely everyone; shared this attitude with me. And that’s what I haven’t experienced before, ever. Resulting from that, obviously, I now strive to find a job that will fulfill this urge to spend as much time as possible in nature.

Flying through a wonderland. The achievements of human technology make it possible.

 

Do you also want to try Heliskiing in Revelstoke one day?

Of course, you want, now that I made it tempting to you. If you want to see more pictures or want to get further information about the experience of Heliskiing I recommend you to look at this post I wrote the other day. And if you seriously think about going to Revelstoke for an adventure, then I can only recommend doing it with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing. You will find more about that on their page. Also, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help you out.

Do you want to sit in one of those? Book an adventure with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing to get the sensation of Skiing in the wilderness.

 

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Heliskiing with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing – Skiing on Cloud Nine

Heliskiing with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing – Skiing on Cloud Nine

XXX-(XXX)-XXXX. Imagine this being a Canadian phone number that calls you shortly before 7 am. „Ring, ring!“ Below the number, the display shows the name of the contact I saved this number to: STHS Dispatch. The time has come. There was a free seat for me on one of the multiway groups so I was able to go helicopter skiing today, February fifth.

It was not the first day for me, I already had a day a couple of weeks ago, but that one was, except for flying with a helicopter for the first time, rather unspectacular. Because I am a staff member of Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing I have to accept certain responsibilities. Generally, I always stay at the end of the group, on the one hand, to not take any fresh powder lines from the paying guests and on the other hand to monitor the completeness of the group and to help guests that may get stuck or got into any other kind of trouble. So on this first day, the conditions were far away from perfect and I mostly spent my time with helping and monitoring rather than cruising elegantly through the powder. But anyways, the season was still long and there would definitely be other opportunities.

And now there was one. I quickly packed my stuff together, took a bite for breakfast and made my way up to the Hillcrest Hotel, my workplace, where Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing is based at. The excitement grew within every minute I drove because since two weeks there hasn’t been a day the sun was shining, but today it was and the summits of Mount Begbie and Mount MacPhearson were glowing in the golden morning light. I don’t believe it, do I really get some sun for today or what?

In the hotel, I quickly grabbed a transceiver, avalanche gear, skis and my super fancy staff jacket before we started. Let’s go Heliskiing!

At first, we still had to drive about twenty minutes to today’s staging area, during which I talked to Kate, who was guiding the group. The members of the group I already knew a bit, as I had the pleasure to welcome them during my last working shifts. Five Norwegians, three guests from the US and next to them also Noah, who was also working for Selkirk Tangiers in the dispatch. Having arrived at the helipad at Alberts, once more, some patches of blue sky emerged from the clouds, which could only be a good sign. And we finally started.

Below the thundering of the helicopter’s rotors, we lifted off the ground and were flying to our first run in the Selkirk River Valley, close to the place where 40 years ago Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing started its first missions. As already mentioned Noah and me had the responsibility to stay at the end of the group what was only little of a problem today, as there was enough powder for everyone. It’s been just phenomenal! Everything matched on that day. The group was great, the powder was at least knee-deep and here and there the sunrays heated up the cold, clear air. Everyone had fun! At every second!

When I was out heliskiing the first time, we only managed to do four runs because of the inconsistency of the group and the difficult conditions. Today, however, we already had done four runs by lunchtime. All of them through feathery powder, that sometimes even shot up to our faces in the turns. Due to critical avalanche conditions in the high alpine we mostly spent time below the tree line, however,  the terrain of Selkirk Tangiers offers fabulous tree skiing.

After those four runs, the three groups that were sharing today’s helicopter met for lunch. Time to have a small chat here, talk some words over there and, oh, hey, there’s the five Germans that were in Cece’s group and who also came from Munich like I do. Especially for them, it was great to have a German employee out there in the wilderness.

After everyone strengthened up with some soup, sandwiches, and pastries we skied on. There was still a lot of powder waiting for us. Four more runs to be precise, which could all be described with a single word: perfection. Everyone pushed even more after lunch and enjoyed the sun, that came out more and more often now, before, at around 3 pm, the helicopter picked us up again and brought us back to the base.

From this day on I had a hundred, no, a thousand times more understanding for people to spend so much money for heliskiing.  This feeling, once you got dropped off by the helicopter and realize to be alone in the wilderness, floating through the fresh powder, is absolutely unique. Like being in a dream. It couldn’t get better…

…I thought in the evening of that day. But it got better.

The next morning I woke up early, as always, as I was still on the staff list for heliskiing. My hopes to get another call were very little, the chances just too low.

„Ring, Ring!“ XXX-(XXX)-XXXX. There it was again! The STHS Dispatch was calling again. And to make things even better, this time, I got requested by Cece to go with the Germans. Isn’t that fantastic?

Alright, the same procedure as the day before. Pack the things, get the equipment and here we go. Again, the sky brightened up from time to time. Actually, there was a snowstorm announced for today, but luckily there was no trace of that one visible right now. Once more, we entered the helicopter, which flew us up along the mountain forests towards the glowing peaks in the morning sun. What was going on here? more and more of the clouds disappeared and we flew further and further up into the high alpine. I was literally sticking to the window of the helicopter to take photos and videos because otherwise, nobody would believe any of my words about this trip. We were in paradise! Such a breathtaking beauty of the Canadian winter I have never before seen in my whole life. Paradise actually described this place very well, as we did the first there runs of the day in the direct vicinity of the paradise glacier. That day we witnessed scenes like in a movie, like from another world. Nobody could believe that we had such a luck with the weather. Everything seemed surreal.

Ihre runs we could ski in this incredible scenery before oncoming clouds forced us to go further down again. But anyways, fabulous tree skiing was waiting for us. Only one more run and it was already time for lunch again. Once more a good opportunity to have a chat with the five Germans but also with the two US Americans who were competing the group. Even the slowly starting snowfall didn’t spoil our good mood.

After lunch, which took place a bit earlier today than usual, we managed to do another six runs, mostly above the treelike again, as the snowfall stopped again and the visibility was great. In the end, we almost skied 7500 vertical meters. By comparison, the day before we „only“ skied about 4800 vertical meters. Especially the long runs in the alpine helped us today to ski so much vertical.

Exhausted, but nevertheless super happy we arrived at the hotel in the evening. This gave me the perfect opportunity to have a beer together with the guys from Munich in a real Bavarian manner and to wish them a great remaining time of their heliskiing adventure. Here I want to thank you guys for the beer and the pictures of that day.

For me, life goes on its normal way from here. A bit more work as the month before, a lot of skiing in the Revelstoke Mountain Resort and hopefully soon another day of heliskiing. What a life!

I went out Heliskiing on Friday of this week again, so there’s a couple of photos from that day here as well. Enjoy the photos!

 

 

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Revelstoke – the winter is coming

Revelstoke – the winter is coming

The first three weeks in Revelstoke are over and it is time to give you a bit of an update. In the evening of the 8th of December, I arrived in Revelstoke, after I have been driving during the day from Calgary through the Rocky Mountains and over the snow-covered Rogers Pass. I was back in the mountains! Awesome!

The same evening I moved into my room which I already managed to rent during summer and which I would call home for the next three and a half months. I now lived at my hosts Cathy and Jamie, who rent out four rooms in their huge house. Besides from them, there are Chris and Joj from England, Dario from Germany and his girlfriend Isi from Austria. So I definitely have good company here.

Also, what really makes me happy as well is that my one and only travel buddy Moritz is spending another season here in Revelstoke and lives at his lovely hosts Hans and Catherine again. As I haven’t seen them in a while I decided to visit them right away after I finished packing out my car. After only a couple of hours back in Revelstoke I already felt like home again.

During the first week, my goals were to find myself some Skiing equipment, as I haven’t brought over everything from Europe. I was lucky as there were Demo Sessions during that week, which allowed me to rent some skis for only a donation to the food bank in return. Because of that, it happened that I already got my season pass the next morning and hit the slopes on the greatest mountain in the world, the Mount Mackenzie! There wasn’t any powder yet, but for the beginning, I was completely satisfied with the groomed terrain. I went on like that for the next three days and always used the afternoons to find myself some used skis. Revelstoke is a repository for used equipment and either Facebook or the own website TheStokeList were helping me a lot to gain some overview. After less than a week I found some great powder skis, that were now waiting to be tested. Unfortunately, on my fourth day on the hill, I got some great issues with my ankle. In the rental, I got offered to adjust my boots and get some footbeds, but regarding the pain, I was sure that this wouldn’t solve all of my problems. Instead I went to town to check for other solutions and found one that was quite expensive, but also just perfect for me: I bought some new ski boots, two sizes smaller than the ones I had before to fit them properly around my ankle, got some custom liners and footbeds for them and got the front punched out a bit to get enough room for my toes. I haven’t really planned to spend so much money here, but good boots are just essential and these were an investment into the next years as well. So far so good, by the time Christmas was approaching and we finally got some big dumps of snow. By that, I experienced my first real powder days. Absolutely phenomenal! The ankle still kept doing some issues, but those weren’t due to the boots, but just because it was still sore. Until now I spent twelve days up on the hill, four of them were really good powder days. And already after those twelve days, this was the greatest skiing season I ever had. But hold on, there’s still a lot to come!

Besides from skiing I spent a lot of time with organizational stuff and was still working on my computer on some tasks that I got from the farm I did my internship at. Also, the Christmas Days didn’t come too short. In the evening of the 24th, which wasn’t really Christmas here yet, Dario, Isi and I made a great cheese fondue, followed by some own made Glühwein, which we shared with our hosts Cathy and Jamie. Then, on the 25th, the real Christmas here, I was invited over to Hans and Catherine for Christmas Dinner. It included the traditional turkey with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables, all freshly made by the chef Hans personally.

Altogether I can really look back at a fantastic time so far, that could only ever get better. For now, New Year’s Eve stands on top of the schedule and after that, I soon will start working at the heliskiing company Selkirk Tangiers, what means that I will get to know a lot of great colleagues there and probably end up doing a day of helicopter skiing soon. No later than that I will definitely have something to report about.

Until then, enjoy the winter and a happy new year to everyone.

 

 

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Farewell from Saskatchewan – the end of the next chapter

Farewell from Saskatchewan – the end of the next chapter

Another stage of life drew to an end. In Saskatchewan I now spent a bit more than two months, two weeks in summer and the rest in fall and the ice-cold winter of the prairies. The time there I spent doing an internship on a farm that runs a consulting business, which helps farmers optimizing their yields and saving on fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide. With my experience of my geography studies I could successfully bring in my expertise in this area. But enough about work, that’s not what we are here for. We are here to internalize the beauty of the prairies. This landscape, that got converted to farmland under great efforts in the 19th century and that now feeds the world. There’s not much of this traditional farming left, but here and there historic buildings show the history of the prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And ,of course, these were what I was keen on. Therefore, I have another slideshow for you summarizing the history-charged buildings, the endless farmland and the unforgettable sunsets, that I could see from my office window every day.

 

 

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Snowshoe hiking in the Riding Mountain National Park

Snowshoe hiking in the Riding Mountain National Park

Here we go, I finally have something to report about again. After a long waiting period, that I mostly spent working, cooking, reading, bore myself and waiting for better weather, at last, I managed to plan something out in nature again. Not that work would not be interesting or I was suffering here, but the change from being in nature almost 24/7 and now being out there almost no time at all was just a bit too much. Therefore, I was pretty excited during the 40-kilometer drive to the park entrance of the Riding Mountain National Park, where I would spend the entire day.

I wasn’t quite sure in the beginning which landscape I would find myself into, only I knew there would be a lot of forest and wildlife. So I got even more excited as the landscape started to get hillier. What a great variety to the flat farmland. As I arrived in the park I parked my car at the trailhead, put on the warmest clothes I had and strapped my snowshoes on.

Perfectly prepared for the Canadian Winter. This wasn’t taken in the park, but I didn’t want to leave out showing you how thick I was dressed.

A clear, sunny day with temperatures only a couple degrees below zero was waiting for me. I didn’t set me any destination as a goal for the day, also because there wasn’t much of a choice on where to go in this part of the park. So I just started walking the trail in front of me, that split up after about 300 meters. I decided to go walk the trail towards the Tillson Lake, that would pass a couple of lakes and a creek. To the Tillson Lake it would be eight kilometers (16 with return), that seemed to me, facing the snow, the hour of the day (it was already 10 am, at 4:30 PM the sun would set again) and the fact that I must be really out of shape after such a long break, to be too much for this day. So I just tramped on and set myself the small creek as a goal. A couple of people seemed to have walked this trail before me, indicated by some human tracks in the snow already. In addition to those, there were plenty of other foot, paw, and hoof prints from a variety of animals. But no animals itself. So I trudged on an was surprised from time to time by the steep slopes the trail went over. Also, I was very satisfied with the surrounding coniferous forest, because where I lived and worked there were almost no coniferous trees at all. After a while I got to a first viewpoint on an elevated part of the trail, from where I could catch a glimpse of the endless forest, covering the rolling hills.

Almost unbelievable that there was undisturbed wilderness as far as I could see. I haven’t had this in a long time.

Only slightly later the other tracks on the trail ended. I was now the first person to walk this trail after the heavy snowfalls.

Only me and nature. Nobody has set a foot here before me on that day.

Again, a bit later, I then had to detour a fallen tree, that didn’t survive last weeks snow storm. It went on like that for a while. Up, down, through the forest. No animal, not the slightest peep, only the crunching of the snow under my feet. Then, finally, the trail winded its way down again and in the end I arrived at the valley that I had set as a target. A wide swath through the forest beard itself in front of me, gentle hills rising on both sides of it.

I made it, the first goal of the day was reached. The vast plain of the Tillson Creek, which ran somewhere beneath the snow.

Here and there I recognized some more tracks of animals, but even though I had a vast view, the animals themselves stayed put.  Carefully I sometimes stepped off the trail to enter the plain of the valley, always having in mind to not break through the snow cover into some hidden holes or the creek.

Those tracks were sometimes really misleading. I’m sure I would’ve broken in at this point.

As the trail followed the Tillson creek for another while I decided to follow it a bit further.

Why not walk a bit longer through this winter-wonderland?

And when the trail left the valley again, I still had enough motivation to go on. I would make it to the Tillson Lake after all.  Again, the trail winded through gentle hills, between which some wetlands covered the depressions.

I’m sure that in summer there must be a lot of life in those wetlands.

And another time a great tree blocked my way, this time even harder to detour.

There was no way over or through this barrier. I had to find a detour through the surrounding wetlands.

And still, I went on. Through the snow, alone. In the end, at a quarter to 1 PM, I arrived at the Tillson Lake, on which shore laid a small backcountry campground, that offered picnic tables, fire pits and an outhouse.

The mystic atmosphere at the shore of the Tillson Lake.

Pleased, I wiped the dry snow from one of the picnic tables and packed out my lunch. Some good traditional fare. Wholegrain crips bread with cream cheese, a deer sausage, which we made on our own the previous week on the farm from a deer, my coworker has shot, an apple and tea. And absolute silence around me. Fascinating!

Definitely a picnic of its own kind.

However, without any movement at all, I got cold pretty fast and had to start my way back soon in order to get back to my car in time. So I stomped back the whole way, detoured the fallen trees once more an arrived, somehow earlier than expected, at my car. Except from a couple of birds and a squirrel, I haven’t seen a single animal in the park, what frustrated me a bit.

Couldn’t there be at least one beaver posing a bit for the camera? Anyways, when I think about it, I would probably have thought about going out at these temperatures twice as well.

But on the other hand, I was just too exhausted to really bother. And altogether it was still a very successful day. I even got a bit of a tan on my face. In the end, there was only the way back home that I still had to drive. So I turned on some good music and stopped from time to time to enjoy the vast views of the somehow still beautiful farm land.

By the time I passed several of those remnants from the time when the Canadian Prairies got settled.

At home, I then took a hot shower, reheated myself some pumpkin soup and made myself comfortable with my book in my room to end this awesome day in nature.

And in the end, another beautiful grain elevator in the evening sun.

(Deutsch)  
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The road trip of my life – a balance

The road trip of my life – a balance

That my huge road trip is already over you might already have read in my previous posts, however, I really struggled to change my lifestyle from traveling to working from one on the other day. I fell into that hole, in which you usually fall after a holiday. Only that my holiday lasted about six months, that I confidently can call the most exciting ones in my life so far.

Let’s start with a, in my opinion, very impressive number. 32.000 kilometers. This is the distance I drove on to my van Max in less than six months. Probably more than I ever drove a car in my life before. Three-quarters of the worlds perimeter. Imagine where I could’ve been going to with that if I would’ve stunt been driving straight into one direction. But this is it, 32.000 kilometers only through North America! Thereby I have seen so many places there. And to be precise, I’ve only been to the West of Canada and the United States. However, I can now proudly say that I’ve seen almost everything worth seeing in between Fairbanks, Alaska, and San Diego as one of the most southern places in the States. in my life I wouldn’t have believed that I could say that at the age of 22 years. America, that has always been kind of a dream, far far away. The pictures at home in our living room and the slides of the holidays my parents once made that I could see so many times when I grew up. Now, many of those places are not only pictures anymore but memories in my head.

Let’s move on, a couple more balances: During the last six months, I visited 24 National Parks. I was at the ice cold Denali National Park, close to the highest peak in North America. I have also been to the deepest point in North America, the Death Valley, which is also the driest place on earth. Additionally, I traveled along the rainy Pacific Coast, that is home to some unique jewels in the rainforests. And I have been to all those mountain ranges, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and whichever names they also had. And obviously, I have seen a lot of things between those National Parks. 24 National Parks, that sounds a little poor for six months, doesn’t it? That’s why I wanna sweep a little further out and highlight the levels below National Parks.
In Canada, I’ve traveled to 14 Provincial Parks and even one Territorial Park. Even more impressive: In the United States I visited 21 State Parks, 14 National Forests, five National Recreation Areas, three National Monuments and one Tribal Park. I’m not even quite sure about those numbers anymore, there could be easily the one or other park that I already forgot about. All in all, I have seen so many different places, that I got almost a bit tired of it in the end. However, now, about three weeks after I finished my journey I already have this prickling in my fingers. This urge to just jump in my car and drive somewhere. To be honest, I lied a little bit when I said, that I’ve seen almost everything. There’s so much still waiting for me, in the beautiful west of North America.

It’s obvious, that I haven’t been traveling in North America for the last time. And it is also obvious, that I want to and will meet many wonderful humans here again.

Especially during the time I was traveling alone, I got to know so many great humans that it would be more than sad if I would never cross their ways again. But also the time I was not alone I will not forget. First of all, the big road trip up to Alaska with my travel buddy Moritz. Then the great spectacle of the solar eclipse in Oregon, that I experienced together with Rico. And in the end, of course, the time with my girlfriend and my parents. Sharing experiences yet makes you even happier.

On lonely evenings I’m indulging in reminiscence of those adventures with pleasure, but still, it is good how it is. Just a break, some time to settle down a little bit.

And then there is also the thrill of anticipation for the next adventure. One god damn whole winter season in the Revelstoke Mountain Resort! This will be huge fun and action.

In the end, I can only thank all those people again, that were supporting me on my journey and who were making all this possible. Without you, everything would’ve been different. Not that much fun, spectacular, impressive or fascinating. Just not so much North America.

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