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2006 Munich - Venice - San Jon Scuol GR Switzerland


A new year, a new attempt.

After the last attempt failed tragically; two of my friend's horses from Hungary died of poisoning shortly before we could set off - this year we prepared intensively for the 1000 km Alps. We, that is Pat Bohnert from Freiburg with Domingo her Arabian and Szabo Szolt with Linda, his Hungarian half-breed mare and myself with Flash, also an Arabian. In preparation, we spent 8 days at Easter riding through the Lüneburg Heath to the Baltic Sea. Then on May 1st in the Black Forest, snow and altitude training, as well as on the Swabian Alps and twice in the Swiss mountains in the beautiful Engadine. On our own, Flash and I now manage 120 km in two days with 4000 meters of altitude and apart from the fact that Flash can still put on a little weight, we are fit and ready for our big adventure.


Szabo Zsolt, my Hungarian friend, is once again in dire straits.

Here is his story:

It's about Linda. We trained well.... And she ran great.... except lately... She's getting slower and slower and I don't know what to do....

I called the vet... He told me that unfortunately I can't take Linda with me... So unfortunately I have to cancel the ride again.

What did the vet say was the reason? Answer: She is 10 months pregnant.

Well, this time we were prepared. Pat and I have already had our eye on a Haflinger that would be a suitable replacement horse. We call the owner and are able to buy the horse for Szabo. He agrees to the price and trusts us with the horse.


Six o'clock. We arrived here in Siggenham yesterday after a long, hot drive. The convoy is heading back today. And Szabo will be allowed to deal with his Anja. She's a great horse, but she makes demands on her husband/wife. Stefan will ride a bit towards us today. A good ride for today.


Sunday. Our alpine tiger is doing well. She's still a bit cheeky and rides with Pat into the thickest undergrowth to clear the way for the older men. We ride without luggage and take an unusual number of breaks. Someone had pulled some strings, it was cloudy all day and in the evening it even rained lightly.

Stefan rode towards us and met us above Niederndorf. After a fizzing beer, we stopped off together at Angerers and looked after the horses. A dip in the Eisenbahn Gumpe was wonderfully refreshing. Prien Oberaudorf (Kiefersfelden) 38.4km / 878 m elevation gain



Stripsenjoch Wilder Kaiser. After a hearty breakfast, we left the Angerer-Hof to tackle the ascent to the Stripsenjoch via Kiefersfelden. The first ascent already gave us an idea of the challenge that awaited us. Later, we headed out into a narrow wooded valley, framed by 2,000-metre peaks, with the Stripsenjoch 600 m higher above us. Stefan's mountain pace had us swallowing dust as we three flatlanders panted along behind. For three quarters of an hour. The view that awaited us was magnificent. After we had reached the top, sweating and with our pulses pounding. Stefan already had the drinks on the table. Anja held her own and recovered well. The descent was easy in comparison and we found shelter at the Tieschlerhof, where we were warmly welcomed. Comment from Stefan after reading out: the dust is a lie: the dust has long since settled. Oberaudorf (Kiefersfelden) - Griesau


After an informative conversation with the innkeeper in Griesau the evening before, we decide not to take the hiking trail, which means 4 hours of tarmac pounding once we've strayed from the route. Finally, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, we pass Kitzbühel and can tackle the Henlabjoch. In Kitzbühl, a farmer shouted after us, waving his pitchfork. No idea what he wanted.

The ascent is very easy compared to the previous day, almost like a freeway, and we make good progress. The landlord at the hut remembers Hans-Peter and Albert and sends his regards to both of them. The yoke itself is only a few hundred meters uphill. At the top, we are greeted by a herd of Pinzgau cows. Bullish and stoic, they stand right on the fence. The descent turns out to be exciting, as we suddenly can't see the path anymore and I'm suddenly standing in the middle of a marshy meadow, just looking at my GPS. Nothing new for Flash, who once again comes along like an Appaloosa. A little later we reach the Forsthofalm, where we spend the night. Quaint. Griesau Forsthofalm (Hinterglemm) 119km 3625 m elevation gain 


Flash wanders back and forth in front of our hay barn half the night and keeps me awake. Where are the other horses? Flash is looking for us to get close to him, as the rest of the herd is not his cup of tea. He finds out that the concentrated feed is in Pat's pockets. He won't rest until I get up and show him his haystack. He eats there contentedly, I go back to sleep, 5 minutes later he is standing in front of our gate again. I give up and get up. In the morning, Pat, Stefan and Szabo go to look for the horses. The pasture is considerably bigger than we had realized the night before. 45 minutes and about 200 meters later, Pat finds her grey horse at the highest point of the pasture. After 12 fried eggs, we set off at 8 o'clock. The path is wide and invites us to trot. We only slow down for Anja's sake and walk up the mountain. It is wonderfully cool up here. After 3 hours we reach the first pass and enjoy the magnificent view. We finally reach the summer gate via the panoramic path and then the agonizingly long and hot descent to Uttendorf begins. At 3 o'clock NM we finally find a restaurant. The first bike beer is absorbed by the mucous membranes, only the second arrives in the stomach. We crash with our heads on the kerb and it's hard to think about going on again. We reach our accommodation at 6 in the evening. We meet up with Hanspeter Ganter, who brings us the tickets for the Felbertauern. Stefan has to return and unfortunately can no longer accompany us. We swap 25 kg of concentrated food for dinner and a Topo ticket for 2 beers. A beautiful but long day comes to an end. Hinterglemm Uttendorf 152 km 4900 HM



We treat ourselves to a luxury hotel that Hanspeter recommends. Wonderful, clean socks, clean T-shirt. Pat is allowed to test her fence system and even finds 7 insulators in the depths of her panniers. Unbelievable woman. Anja's belt pressure swelling is on the retreat thanks to the vinegar/fruit yoghurt wrap. But Flash now has a pressure mark from the belt Anja was wearing. We decide to get a new neoprene harness. And we also need cash. Completely absorbed by these two challenges, I forget my battery flashlight and am allowed to go for an early morning jog back to the hotel. 1 hour later we say goodbye to Stefan Knoll and buy a new neoprene belt from Neubauer in Mittersil, cooling paste for Anja on Pat's orders and two leather straps from the saddler's private stash so that my banana, which still contains a good part of Szabo's luggage, doesn't keep slipping. Because gravity also works in the mountains.

The route to the Felbertauern begins with a steep ascent, later our efforts to trot are interrupted every now and then by a cattle gate. We can ride around one gate in a stream, another is blocked by a lock. I don't know why. In any case, we don't let anything like that stop us and simply put planks over the gate. We see the first snowfields in the heights and after a short rest we arrive at the Tauernhaus Spital, where we give the horses half a day's rest. We ourselves take a refreshing dip in the ice-cold mountain stream and enjoy the cool temperatures. The house has been standing since the 12th century and is well worth an overnight stay. The waitress, Nancy from Thuringia, is very nice and to our delight there is a party in the evening in honor of 100 years of mountain rescue. With organ music. Hand organ. Super. Breakfast tomorrow at 6am. Hanspeter delivers concentrated feed to us free of charge over the pass. The horses thank you. Uttendorf Tauernhaus Spital 169 km 5349 m altitude.


Rested and fit, we tackle the challenge of the Alps, the Felbertauern. The tarred path leads to a horse pasture, the entrance to which is closed with a sturdy lock. The two bay horses, the gray and the black Schetty were delighted to welcome us to their pasture after I had opened the boarded-up side entrance and, of course, locked it again. The Schetty followed us up to a pasture fence about 300 meters higher up, much to the delight of Pat, who feared for her Domingo. The first part of the ascent of around 1100 meters was a leisurely zigzag across a pasture on an original Roman path. We crossed a high plateau with beautiful lakes and took a break there while I explored the rest of the route. It started to drizzle, so we decided to take the shorter but steeper path. Hanspeter had told us that it would be adventurous - he wasn't exaggerating. We climbed steeply over stone slabs, ledges, scree and gravel slopes until we came out over a snowfield below the St. Pöltner Hütte at 2481 m above sea level. The landlord was delighted, we were the first horses in 10 years to make the ascent north. After a hot pea soup, we descended on the south side, where a path - Szabo called it a highway - greeted us after just a few hundred meters. We climbed into the valley via the Venediger Weg, which greeted us from time to time. Where we found accommodation in the Mattreier Tauernhaus. Hanspeter's concentrated food was already waiting for us. At 8 o'clock in the evening, we toasted Christine from Switzerland with a schnapps over the phone. Tauernhaus Spital Mattrier Tauernhaus 193 km 37 h 7137 vertical meters


Anja is doing brilliantly. She is fit and recovering very well after the exertion. Her problem is the girth pressure, which took a turn for the worse yesterday. The horses spend the night in a riding arena, but they don't feel well. It rains all night and in the morning we bring the horses into the stable to re-fasten Domingo's rubber boots and saddle them up. The Noriker stallion in the stable loudly expressed his enthusiasm to Anja. Szabo organized a luggage transfer to Feld so that Pat could ride the 25 km with Anja bareback. As it was raining, her pants were wet in no time. You can imagine everything else. She managed to negotiate a few narrow sections on Anja's back before she got her foot caught on a gate and slipped off her horse. Otherwise, she kept up with us brilliantly at a walk, trot and canter. About 6 hours later, we arrive at Gasthof Steiner, where the horses are well looked after in new stalls. Our hostess washes our clothes and we slip into dry clothes after a hot shower. We will discuss what to do next today. Mattreier Tauernhaus Feld (Kals) 220 km 41h 7450 hM



Pat woke me up at 0500 and decided it was time to feed the horses. What else could I do, I got up too and at 0630, after a hearty breakfast consisting of two cornys and moist dried apricots and Thermos coffee, which the landlady from the Talschlussrestaurant had given us cheaply as compensation for an overpriced meal - and which to our surprise was still warm - we set off in the dull light of the morning sun. We had about 48 km and 1200 m of ascent ahead of us - so we trotted at every opportunity to get to Sylvester Alp before noon. It was a wonderful ride, interrupted only by a second breakfast in a posh hotel along the way and a break for lunch so that the horses could graze. We reached the alp through a beautiful valley, from where we tackled the descent into the valley towards San Candido. Like all descents, this one was also very long, as we had to get 2-300 m of serpentine path under our hooves or shoes to lose a few meters in altitude. The magnificent views of the Dolomites and the Three Peaks made up for the distance. A final ascent of 400 m after 40 km was hard on us and the horses and we were glad when Sesto and Moso were finally approaching on a flat road. We rode along a fence that was lying on the ground. As the path made a huge curve, I decided to take a shortcut across the pasture. Suddenly I hear heavy hooves thundering and a woman screaming. She is standing behind a tree and is panicking. Three Noriker horses come flying down from the hill. I instinctively point Flash upwards to ride towards the Noriker. However, when I compared their hooves with the delicate legs of my Arabian, I decided to dismount and arm myself with a thick branch. I was driving the Noriker back up the hill when a voice shouted: what are you doing to my horses? A farmer stood between me and the woman, who was still screaming. I explained the situation and he calmed down again. The woman disappeared without a word and he offered us the chance to spend the night in his stables, he would get us a bale of hay. The horses were sheltered in the mud and we lay on a pile of sawdust. The Three Peaks await us tomorrow. St. Martin Moos (Sexten) 311 km 57 h 10106 m ascent



At 7:30 we are saddled up and set off in the direction of Fischleinboden and Drei Zinnen. The horses don't look the freshest, so we start leading quite early. The 1200 m ascent is very easy and evenly ascending. Fog and clouds make for bearable temperatures on the one hand, but on the other they obscure the view in the worst possible way. Once we reach the Drei Zinnenhuette, it starts to rain and the view disappears completely in clouds and mist. The horses follow us perfectly, except for one loud scolding from Pat Domingo when he steps on her foot again. Once we arrive in Durrboden, we let the horses graze and then trot the route to the Fattoria Meneguto south of Cortina. The horses run for all they're worth and we reach our destination 90 minutes later. One of the guests translates for me and we get the horses well fed. We haven't had breakfast today and our stomachs are hanging low as we eat our first meal at 1700. We sit in a wine restaurant and are served by the former landlady, who now works as a waitress. She is so hectic that I am a sleepyhead in deep sleep. But we get something to eat and an Italian couple from Venice join us at the table. A warm conversation develops and we enjoy the evening. The service becomes quieter as the evening progresses and after dessert we even get 2 grappas on the house. As our new friend orders another round, I've got quite a bit in my crown as we make our way home, on which we promptly get lost and only find our way back in the darkest of nights via detours. We sleep at a lofty height on a roofed haystack in the open. It is raining heavily when we set off for our camp for the night, so we wait until it lets up a little. It's dripping from the trees onto the plastic roof, giving the impression of constant rain, and after the pizza I'm so sleepy despite two cappuccinos that I can't finish writing the blog. Sorry guys, I'll have to go over it again tomorrow. 356km 64 h 11700 hm.



The breakfast and coffee this morning were good. The bill was expensive. Somehow the translation must have missed the fact that the 56 E per person and not per room was meant. We don't let this spoil our mood and set off for San Vitto di Cadore, from where we climb the Passo di Rutorto at 1946 meters above sea level. Forno di Zoldo and Monte Pelmo are waiting. I'm writing this sitting on a cold, damp gravel path, the horses grazing peacefully in the forest while the damp slowly soaks through my trousers. Sorry guys, it's time to move on.

The ascent to Refugio Venezia Passo Rutorto was long, 900 m, and the horses were noticeably tired when we reached the top. The path was very narrow and at one point, before Pat, no longer existed after Flash had pushed the last remains into the ravine. After some verbal encouragement, she took heart, lengthened the reins and carefully crossed the slope. Domingo took a different view and almost ran over Pat to get to his Flash. Well done, nothing but adrenaline flowed.

The view of the Pelmo and the mountains opposite made up for everything. The people are all delighted with the belle Cavalli and keep congratulating us on our achievement. They can hardly believe it when we tell them where we are coming from and where we are going. The descent to Zoppe di Cadore was beautiful, but quite slippery as it had been raining heavily. Then there was the road, which we had to negotiate on foot and later on horseback as far as Forno. We were the sensation in every village we rode through. In Forno we saw a single horse standing in a pasture and asked for the owner. Anabelle, an Englishwoman with an Italian mother, had brought the horse up from Belluno just a few days ago. We were allowed to put our horses in a separate part of the paddock. We ourselves were invited to Anabelle's home. We had dinner in the most rustic pub in the whole valley. There is only one menu: polenta, three kinds of meat, beans and coleslaw, baked cheese, ice cream for dessert and Cabernet de la Casa and grappa, all a Discrétion for 15 E per person. It was a fun evening with Anabelle's whole family. Cortina Forno die Zoldo 395 km73 h 13000 hm.



Special greetings to the two girls of Zoldo Valley. And Thanks again for your hospitality.

Surprise in the morning. The horses are all together in a pasture, grazing peacefully next to each other. So much for cleaning the horses before saddling up. Both are soaking wet from the rain and it doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon. These are the days when the motto is: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. On the road towards Langarone, through two small tunnels - we are glad that we didn't have to carry our reflectors and high-visibility vests with us. The weather doesn't suit the horses either and they trot down the valley grumpily. Finally, the long-promised bar where we can warm up and have breakfast. At our request, the boss drives her Mini out of the garage so that we can park the horses there. 2 capucchini, 1 apple tart and 1 barley soup later, we untie our companions, cross the river and can now trot along the old road, at least from time to time. Down in the valley, a nice older gentleman, who also has due Cavalli Bianca, shows us a shortcut into the valley. Unfortunately, this also involved a 200 m difference in altitude. Without climbing for at least 1 hour a day, I don't seem to be able to continue, so we were delighted when the Piave and its almost 500 m wide riverbed finally invited us to trot along. Cross-country, every path leading south is taken, while the rain pelts down on our raincoats. Every now and then the horses decide that enough is enough and simply stop under a group of trees. We ride over the bridge and back down into the riverbed for about 3 km on a wide gravel path when we realize that we have to cross the river - which has now turned into a brown stream. So we turn back, ride the whole way back and then through the village to Ponte nelle Alpi and on to Modolo. It finally clears up a little and we can take off our rain protection and strap it on our luggage. I'm glad to have holes in my boots, so at least the water can run off. Szabo calls and tells me that Anja is doing well, she is being ridden bareback every day and the wound is healing well. Szabo will set off on Sunday and meet us west of Dobbiaco on Wednesday. After 50 mainly wet kilometers we are almost at our destination. Looking after the horses and getting into dry clothes are the two dominant thoughts while we wait almost an hour for our hosts. At around 9 p.m. we have a steak to celebrate the day. Tomorrow is a rest day for horse and rider.



We are in Venice. € 5.5 for 90 km per person each way. So it does work. Train travel is cheaper than a car. We meet Alberto, an acquaintance of Pat's, and are going to visit the lagoon city. Flash and Domingo are happy in their pasture. We meet Szabo and Anja again on Wednesday. Arreviderci or so....


The day started well. The alarm didn't ring and my inner clock was also on strike, as it was Sunday. Breakfast was already on the table because Miarri Fulchio, our host, had got up early. Gentleman that he is, he didn't let on and bid us farewell with a personal note to a friend with whom we absolutely had to spend the night. Miari had explained to us with the words "impossibile" that our route was not suitable for horses and recommended that we take a slightly longer route. Slightly longer meant around 50 km, mostly on tar on a busy road. Lots of fun. We rode to Castion and from there through the Piave, which was about 30 meters wide. The horses seemed to sense that it was going to be a long ride - they walked with appropriate caution. We were only able to leave the road for short stretches after the village of Maas; most of the way we simply followed the road up the valley. In view of the steep rock faces and the deep gorges in which the water cascaded down the valley, we were sure we had made the right decision. Pat still seemed to have Venice in her bones, she didn't seem to be getting up to speed and on a short climb along the river, she didn't seem to be able to go any further. Nevertheless, we had to keep going and so we took a short break, drank a Coke, tested the Italian toilets and set off on the last ascent of the day, 820 vertical meters over 12 km, up to the Duran Pass. The mountains around us glowed in the light of the sun and compensated us for a long, hard day. We led the last stretch, although it seemed to drag on almost endlessly. Finally at the top, with a clear view on both sides, we were able to put our horses in a pasture, which we fenced off. Pat tests whether there is electricity with her hands. Power is on. Tomorrow we're going back up the mountain. We've seen enough tar. Soro, called Classe, Miari's friend, says the route is difficult, but perhaps doable. Tomorrow we'll be back at the height of Schludderbach and meet Szabo the next day. Modolo (Castion; Beluno) Duran Pass 495 km 90 h 15722 HM


The horses are still there when I get up for the first time at 05:00 to check on them. The alarm clock rings at 06:00 and we feed and water the horses. Flash has a small girth pressure and Domingo has a scratch in the saddle area. But neither is too bad. We have breakfast at 6.30 and set off at half past seven. The first streams give us a bit of grief. But after a few adrenaline rushes, these too are overcome and the narrow path leads through forest high above the road in the valley. Unfortunately, we have to descend into the valley, only to climb 1000 meters up again on the other side. Down in the valley, the horses are grazing in a small meadow when the forester approaches. Our reaction is one of annoyance as a friendly gentleman gets out of the car and congratulates us on our horses in German and asks where we have come from and where we are going. In general, people are really enthusiastic about our belle Cavalli and congratulate us on our performance.

Today is pedestrian day. We ride just 5 km, the remaining 21 km are over hill and dale, along the western side of Monte Pelmo, 3000 m - at 1600 m altitude. It's an incredibly long ride, especially up to the Fulmo hut at the foot of the Pelmo. We decide to spend the night here as Pat's foot hurts and I urgently need something to eat. The next hut is 10 km further on, so it has to be good now. At the hut pasture, we are greeted by a herd of Haflinger mares with their foals. With the horses cleaned and watered, we set up our pasture fence a little further down in the hope that the cows won't tear it down. Duran Pass hut - Citta di Fulmo hut Zoppe di Cadore 520 KM 96h 17236 HM



Today will be a beautiful day. The sunrise in the mountains is fantastic. We fetch the horses from the pasture, feed them and saddle them up before we go for breakfast. Today we have 3 passes with a total of 1700 m elevation gain and approx. 45 km ahead of us and we will meet up with Szolt and Anja again. The horses are doing well with all the concentrated feed. They are doing well and have hardly lost any weight. The first crossing is completed after a good hour and there is a mountain pasture in front of us, which we have to pass before we can tackle the second ascent. The view in both directions of the crossing is beautiful. I let Domingo's tail pull me up the mountain and we soon reach the mountain pasture. Now the ascent is steep and we leave the gentle green of the pasture behind us. Wild rocky outcrops pile up in front of us and a whole mountain range rises up to our left. At the Ambrizzole Pass we meet the first Turis and the whole width of the valley opens up before us with the Rif. Lago nestled against the mountain. We have to go down there to go up again on the other side. The descent is actually intended for more light-footed animals, but our two mutant chamois manage it without any problems. We reach the pass road and cross it. We come up to the Rif. Angelo Donna, where there is a lot of tourist traffic. We treat ourselves to a beer and 5 km after the Riffugio we are alone. We head up to the Col de Dosso pass and down into the Travenanzes valley. It takes a long time and we take a break at a small hut. The subsequent crossing of the river is not easy, but our horses master it skillfully. We head down the mountain and cross the stream half a dozen times. Suddenly Flash loses his footing in the stream bed and slides down the river on the brown stones. I don't let go and get knocked over, together we slide down the mountain in the stream until we end up under a rock. The river washes over Flashe's head but the saddle horn is stuck under the rock. Pat comes to the rescue and pushes the horse's back into the water with her feet to free him while I hold his head above water. Finally free, the water washes us into the next water mill. While I climb out, Flash struggles to find a foothold in the smoothly polished waterhole. I loosen the saddle and bags and throw everything onto the bank. Meanwhile Pat is desperately trying to stop Domingo from going down to Flash. Finally she gets a stone on the reins and can help me get down. Flash has now given up and is standing with his feet close together in the ice-cold water. At the moment when all seems lost, 3 Italian mountain guides suddenly appear out of nowhere, 2 men and a woman, and while the woman is shouting incomprehensibly, the two men come climbing down to me and ask if they can help. I shout to Pat that she should carry my saddlebags and saddle up with the woman and ask the two men to pull their rope under Flash's belly. They think it would hurt him, and I agree. Because that's the only way I can get him to try to get out of the hole. I climb into the mill with him and put my feet under his hooves to give him a foothold so that he can finally get his front feet up and pull himself out of the hole. His legs completely bruised, but otherwise undamaged, I carefully lead him back up to where we have forded the stream and Domingo is waiting for us, placing his feet on white stones. It takes another quarter of an hour for Domingo to reach the other side. The brown stones are covered in algae, which are as slippery as soft soap. I thank the mountain guides and saddle up Flash again. We leave the valley as quickly as possible to get to the next rifugio, where Szolt is waiting for us. My gear is completely soaked.



After yesterday's adventure, we take a half-day break today. Unfortunately we have no reception up here. Szolt takes his team to Toblach and tries to find batteries. My battery charger died while Flash was having a bath. We treat Flash, dry our clothes and take a nap in the midday sun after putting Flash and Domingo in the stream to cool their ankles. Szolt is back at 2 p.m. and we set off just as a thunderstorm is brewing overhead. The road to the Sennesalm is like a highway, populated by hundreds of tourists. It starts to rain and the number of tourists decreases dramatically. We spend the night at the Sennesalm and, after some effort, are able to put the horses in a cowshed and get hay for them at the Monte Sennesalm. Szolt rides up and brings 2 bales. We enjoy a good dinner while the weather outside is capricious. It's 7 degrees. Today we have covered the enormous distance of 6 km. Tomorrow we have to go a little further. Rif. Ra Stua - Sennes Alm



The horses are tethered in the former cowshed so that they don't tear apart the waste stored by the Refugio. Pat managed to dip my muzzle in a barrel of old oil. She was therefore allowed to clean it herself. The path was very steep, but well developed and on the opposite side the dimensions of a glacier could be glimpsed in the fog. The path led to the Rif. Pederue and from there on to Badia. Despite having a map and GPS, I managed to ride down the wrong valley for an hour. The valley was so beautiful that I forgot to consult the map for the longest time. This didn't cause a major problem as we would simply cross over to the other valley to Longiaru to the Sitting Bull Ranch later in the day. In St Vigil we made it to a thrift store to buy batteries. Half the village knew about our visit. Once again, we curved up a ski slope to ski down it again on the other side. The Sitting Bull Ranch with Raimon, his daughters and his wife gave us a warm welcome and provided us and the horses with hay accommodation for the night. Over pizza, we discussed the possibility of organizing trekking tours to and from Switzerland. We sleep in the hay. The dog doesn't seem to like this, he barks half the night. We completed our 600 km today and covered just over 20000 m of altitude. On average, we do 5.3 km per hour including the meters of altitude. We manage about 30 km and 1000 meters of altitude every day, of which we spend about 3-4 hours in the saddle and the rest going up or down for 3-6 hours.



Up at 6.00 a.m., we feed the horses and saddle up before enjoying the coffee we had at the pizzeria the night before. It clears up and we ride up towards the Kreuzjoch at 2200 meters. The path soon becomes very steep, so we dismount and mutate into tail holders. The horses pull us steadily up the path while we enjoy the fantastic view. Once we reach the cross, the valley spreads out before us and we hope to be able to tackle the second ascent to the Seiser Alm today. The Adolf Munkelweg puts a spanner in the works, because what looks like an easy path on the map with few gradients and climbs turns out to be a time-consuming via ferrata with additional branches not marked on the map. We promptly descend about 300 m only to realize that this was too early and that we can climb back up to the Broggleshuette. As if we hadn't climbed enough today. The Broggles Alm proves to be a tour central supply station, where we also treat ourselves to three cyclists. As the landlady doesn't want our horses inside the fence, we decide to take a shortcut outside her short-mown lawn and find the gate to the hiking trail barricaded and screwed shut. Slightly frustrated, we turn back and ride across the terrain accompanied by dozens of tourists to come across another bolted gate next to a cattle grid at the top of Brogglessasttel. We dismount, remove the earth covering from the post and open the gate together with the gatepost, which we push back into position afterwards. The descent in the midst of a mass migration gave Szolt's two knees so much work that he soon complained of pain. We decide to continue the descent on the gravel road, even though it is about 6 km longer. We try in vain to find a stable for the horses in Ortisei and ride on to La Selva, where we get hay and concentrated feed as well as a paddock for the horses in a riding hotel, while we spend the night in the hay after a good dinner. 636 km 22541 hm Longiaru - La Selva


The rain woke me up at 5.45 am and it was cold in the barn where we had spent the night. Snow lies on the mountain peaks on the opposite side of the valley. Pat goes down to put the horses in the stable so that they can dry off a bit. Anja doesn't agree to having a halter put on and shows this clearly. I go to help Pat and together we get the three horses into the stable after we have tied the hotel horses in their stalls. Domingo has a problem with his stall neighbor and won't eat if Pat isn't standing next to him. We had planned to be saddled up at 7.30 a.m., but the weather put limits on our enthusiasm, so we didn't set off until half past nine. Today it was trail riding with the emphasis on riding, because thanks to the cold weather the number of tours was limited and we made good progress. The ascent to the Seiser Alm went quickly on wide gravel roads and we were able to ride everything except for the last few meters of the pass and the subsequent descent. The Duron Valley was beautiful, at least what we could see of it through the curtain of rain. The second day on this trip to be really rainy. We arrive in Campitello in the afternoon and decide to call it a day and stop off here. We get hay and accommodation at the Happy Horse Ranch Fassa. 664 km 23443 hp. It's half past nine in the evening and it's still raining. La Selva - Campitello



It's freezing cold at night. The sky is clear and the moon illuminates the grounds. The Happy Horses are out in the pasture 365 days a year. There's no stable, just a 30-metre-long stable in front of which the horses are tethered. Szolt has been freezing all night and it takes him some time to thaw out again. We tie our horses to the trough and feed them. At seven our host arrives and we can give our horses concentrated feed that was locked in the building. The sky is clear and the white peaks illuminated by the sun shine all around us. A fantastic day awaits us. We set off at eight o'clock and the course of the river invites us to trot along. The first 18 km to Vigo are quickly covered and we set off on the ascent to the Roda der Vael at 2280 m altitude. The view down into the valley is breathtaking, with the white powder-dusted mountain peaks glowing all around us. At the top we are greeted by dozens of tourists. The descent down the rocky paths is difficult because we have to keep making way for the hikers coming up. Once we reach the top of the Karer Pass, it's another 15 km to the Shilo Ranch above Steinegg. We trot wherever we can, but have to dismount again and again in order to negotiate connecting paths between forest roads on foot. We arrive earlier than expected at the Shilo Ranch, which makes every cowboy's heart beat faster. We wait for Tom in the cozy saloon with a cold beer and look after the horses. 710 km 24900 hm. Campitello - Steinegg


We have dinner with Tom, his wife and the two children and in the evening we get a gas cylinder from a friend so that we can take a hot shower. We are so tired that we decide not to shower and go straight to bed in the Indian tepee. In the morning it drips again and Pat feeds the horses. When she wants to take a shower, the gas water heater isn't switched on and she doesn't take a cold shower. Only when Szolt goes to take a shower does he get the boiler to work. Too late for Pat, who puts it off until the evening. After a hearty breakfast from the field kitchen, we consult the map and decide to forgo the Rittnerhorn and the Villanderer Alm in favor of the final stages and tackle the 60 km into the Ultental Valley. We talk to Rudi at the gorge in the Ultental Valley and he agrees to come and pick us up if necessary. Tom accompanies us for a while and we take the long road to Bolzano and Merano under our feet. The way down over asphalt announces what awaits us today. Pounding tar.


The hay bed leaves a lot to be desired, but this is not due to the hay, because how you make your bed is how you lie. And I had made a bad bed. The horses (not ours) were also very restless and made a lot of noise on the stone floor. Finally it was six o'clock and I brought the horses their ration of hay. Anja had spooked Flash the night before, so he only came back for hay when Anja was safely behind an electric fence. Pat brought concentrated feed while I reloaded the batteries and replaced the chip in my camera. Szabo mucked out the paddock and after breakfast Rudi and I consulted the maps. He explained the routes and where we could spend the night. The weather was promising and we rode comfortably up the valley and then up the Kirchtalweg at St. Gertraud. The valley was surrounded by grass-covered mountains and the fir trees were scattered loosely across the valley. A stream provided cool air, while the sun ensured a pleasant 20 degrees. While Domingo walked up the path as a carriage horse on two reins steered by Pat, she held on to Domingo's tail and led Anja at the same time. Szabo hung on to Anja's tail and led Flash, whose tail I let myself be pulled up the mountain. This was a good way to climb the mountain and we reached the Rabbijoch at 2449 m in record time. The hut was well frequented and we waited a while until Szolt arrived with the cyclists. In the meantime, an Ital. In the meantime, an Italian pappa had taken Domingo for his daughter and carried her out under the clotheslines draped with sheets.


Wednesday We sit here in the kitchen of the Cercen Alm by the fire and dry our socks, pants and shoes. Franco, the cheesemaker, has invited us for lunch and we are grateful for this, as the sun is pouring down outside. One good thing about it raining like this is that your feet are constantly rinsed and stay clean. The thirst problem can also be solved cheaply, the hood is great for drinking from. And how you can be happy about little things, such as dry socks or a plate of pasta. Franco the cheesemaker, Roberto the shepherd and Alexio the helper go to bed, they still have to process the evening's milk tonight, while we tidy up the kitchen and pass the time until 18:00. It only rains once today. It clears up from time to time and then clouds up all the more. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. The horses are in the big cowshed munching away. We are at 2113 m and wait for the things to come. Franko shows us how he turns 500 liters of milk into 35 kg of cheese and the whey into a kind of soft or fresh cheese. The three boys turn in at 3 - 5, as their work won't be finished until 10 pm and they have to be out again at 5 am. We sleep in a separate room that one of the boys has cleared for us and realize that the mattresses have seen better days. We sleep until just before ten and then have dinner with the boys. We are served pasta and meatballs, which taste very good, and wine is poured for us. 811 km 27703 m elevation gain Rabbi - Pejo


Our trip is coming to an end soon. We are in a final spurt mood and although the time has passed quickly, every day has been filled with adventures, experiences, people, situations, views and insights. Pat realizes that front gear can be quite useful after all - she uses mine - that the rubber slippers on her Domingo are not made for this kind of tour, and the same goes for her shoes, which already had a broken sole before Venice. And that an adventure vacation with an overnight stay under the stars means just that, adventure: sleeping on a pile of sawdust is comfort.


Although we had laid out one of our rain tarpaulins on the balcony floor, the night was a damp but not a happy affair. It dripped all night onto the bed and in the morning the dampness finally crept into the sleeping bag. We got dressed under the constantly dripping balcony and tended to the horses, which were standing there clean from the incessant rain. Breakfast consisted of half a Coke per person. At 8 o'clock we are on our way to the Gavia Pass, another 2630 meters above sea level and during the whole ascent it was foggy, rainy and cold. We have brunch on the Gavia Pass. A cup of cappuccino and bread rolls with cheese and salami from the Cernen Alm. It wasn't until we had crossed the pass and were heading towards Bormio that the sky cleared and the sun warmed my back. We were able to trot up the valley and if it goes well, we'll manage a few more kilometers today and find a dry place to stay.


It's wet outside, but Domingo still gets a shower in the morning to wash the dirt from the riding arena out of his soaking wet coat. Breakfast in the box is more substantial today. Pumperniggel with cheese. Or cheese with Pumperniggel. Pat goes on cheese strike. It's drizzling when we saddle up the horses and the weather promises to be just like yesterday. We look forward to it and leave Pedenosso in the direction of Passo Scale, 600 m higher up, which is guarded by two medieval fortified towers. The map shows hiking trails, but the map and reality seem to have no relation to each other this morning. But no matter, every road that goes up must end at the Scale. The marl road climbs over countless hairpin bends - yesterday's trot has done the horses good, they trot uphill willingly - and at the top there is a great view of the whole valley. After the pass, the road flattens out, past the Scale lake. Flash suddenly leaps forward because a horse comes shooting along on the other side of the road, my GPS flies out of my hand and lands between Domingo's hooves. Lucky me - again - in retrospect I have to admit that our guardian angels did a good job. No serious mishap, despite a considerable and regular adrenaline rush. We trot along Lago Cancanon for the next 15 km and arrive at the upper reservoir with St. Gioacomo, a real insider tip. Pure idyll. We enjoy a cappuccino while the horses graze next to the playground.


The last stretch lies ahead of us. We follow the single trail up the Aua Val Mora and cross the alp down to Buffalora. There we put the horses in the paddock that Men from San Jon always uses. In the Buffalora restaurant we have a delicious but very well-seasoned dinner, with a resounding effect. We sleep upstairs with the horses.


The last stage to San Jon flies by like a dream. We receive a warm welcome and treat the horses to their pasture and the fragrant hay.

August 2006 As far as your feet will carry you... Swift 2006 Blogger 4 weeks 864 km 33000 hm on the roofs of the Alps As far as your feet will carry you.... Munich Venice and back via South Tyrol to Switzerland July - August 2006


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