Dear Readers, this has been a bit of a frustrating trip in some ways – catching a cold/cough on Day Two was a pain, and then for the past few days it’s been very hot and humid, which makes walking, particularly uphill, something of a challenge. Still, we thought we’d have a bash at the Am Beilstein walk today – it passes some very fine waterfalls and takes you to an outlook over the Gurgl River, towards the Gurgl Glacier. Spoiler alert! We didn’t get there today, but you can read about our 2015 trip here. What’s interesting about Am Beilstein itself is that it’s thought to be part of a prehistoric path used by hunter gatherers, and then by ancient farmers – there is a sheep compound there which dates back to the Twelfth century (see the photos at the end of the post)
This is a walk of subtle pleasures – there’s a long and tricky track up, which involves spending a lot of time looking carefully at where you’re going to put your feet, and of course this turns into a long and tricky track back down. But it was the track up that was the problem this time. I seemed to have a real problem catching my breath, but initially decided to keep going slowly and see how it panned out.
Well, we got to three-quarters of the way up, and I started to feel a bit faint – discretion is definitely the better part of valour on these occasions, and so I plonked down on a rock. After a few minutes I felt better enough to notice how the rocks around here form a whole ecosystem all on their own.
And then John noticed a very active spider.
She seemed to be spinning a web of long threads between the individual strands of grass, more like a set of Mission Impossible trip wires than a proper web. I loved the way that she just launched herself from one stem to another, completely ignoring the huge humans who were sitting inches away. By the time I’d finished watching her, I was feeling much better, and had also made the very sensible decision that I’d had enough for one day. I’ve done harder walks than this during this holiday, but I think it pays to listen to how you’re feeling, and hopefully tomorrow will be a bit cooler, and the walking a bit easier.
It is hard to turn back, but maybe it’s a skill that we need to cultivate. One of the challenges of life is knowing when to push through, and to when to stop, when your body is just complaining gently and when your body is ringing alarm bells. I have seen too many people push past their limits here, and end up in hospital, or unable to enjoy the rest of their stay. I’m determined that one of them won’t be me.
So goodbye for this year, Am Beilstein. Maybe next time!