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2023 06 Alpe Adria Trail Italy-Slovenia-Austria-Switzerland


Wir übernachteten auf der Circle V-Farm in der Nähe von Civedare und ließen die Pferde in der Reithalle mit Heu und Wasser bleiben. Wir schliefen auf einem Bauernhof in der Gegend und Peter, unser Fahrer, setzte uns am Eingang des Wanderwegs ab, um den Anhänger und das Auto zurück in die Schweiz zu bringen. Nach anstrengenden ersten 15 Minuten einen steilen Bach hinauf, wo die Pferde oft auf dem nassen Felsen ausrutschten, erreichten wir den Pfad und von da an war das Reiten einfach. Wir lernten schnell, die Qualität des Weges anhand seiner Farbe zu erkennen und beschlossen, die dunkelroten Wege zu meiden und denen mit gedämpfteren Farbtönen auf der Karte zu folgen. Die Landschaft ist rau und größtenteils mit Bäumen bedeckt, sodass das Reiten im Schatten angenehm war. Wir folgten dem Weg durch Castlemonte und die Kirche von San Giovanni.  

Wir fanden ein Rifugio, wo wir etwas Bier holten, und Gudruns Taschen umpackten. Schließlich blieb ihre Ausrüstung, ohne den Sattel zu verschieben, auf dem Pferd. Wir ritten weiter bis zur Slovenischen Grenze und wurden von den Eigentümern eines dortigen Rifugios begrüßt und konnten die Pferde auf einer Wiese unterbringen. Eine Stunde später öffnete sich der Himmel und es regnete. Ich sitze jetzt am Frühstückstisch und trinke guten italienischen Kaffee, der einzige Nachteil sind die sehr kleinen Tassen, so dass öfters nachgefüllt werden muss.

9.6.  Got up at 5.30am and had breakfast at 7am. The horses had wonderful grass and stayed inside the fence with the battery switched off. We saddled up and set off at 8am. We climbed the mountain where thousands of young people sacrificed their lives in WW1 for absolutely nothing today. It is the path of peace, where you can see all the dugouts and artillery bunkers where soldiers suffered. We led the horses down about 8 km until we reached the village of Tolmin, where we started to ride up the Soci river. We are in Slovenia and Italian is being replaced by English. We went into a bar and grabbed a shandy because the humidity is very high and the 25°C is hard to bear. We trotted the next 20 km upstream and for the next 6 hours the road was all ours. No restaurant, no beer. We find water for the horses, but it's 5pm before we reach a hotel that's actually closed, but I still manage to buy a beer. At least my tongue is no longer permanently fused to my palate and I can communicate again. An hour's walk to the next village, where we find a guest house with an open field next to it where we can put the horses up for the night. Today we covered 48 km in 9 hours and walked at least 20 km of it. I am happy to sit in the restaurant while Gudrun showers, which I will do as soon as she has finished. The beer here costs 2 euros. Good offer.

10.6.  We left the restaurant in Cessozac at 8.30am and followed the path along the river. After about an hour or more there was an overhanging rock on the path and Arkan had a problem with the side pockets touching the rock and throwing him off balance. He made it, but had hit his bones and refused to take the next bend with a downward stride. We had unsaddled Mansu, who is the wider horse, and he made good progress in the second situation. Arkan needed some convincing before he decided to give it a go. Finally he did and we were able to saddle up again. We had to follow the river path for another hour and managed to organize a can of Radler from a private house. We asked some Germans coming along our path and they recommended we use a parallel path at the top. We had some difficulty climbing up to this path, Mansu was stressed about how narrow everything was, but we managed fine. On this upper path we came across some wooden steps leading up a steep cliff where many people watched us lead our horses up these steps. From then on we avoided the river path and followed the wider road as much as possible.

We would have had to cross a suspension bridge to continue, but I found a road bridge less than 500m up the hill, so we climbed up there and down the other side, where we found a campsite with a kiosk. We treated ourselves to another bike. It started to rain, so we decided to ride up the parallel road. Around 4pm we entered Trikav Park and passed the entrance to tomorrow's trail. We found a private place that allowed us to fence the horses in a pasture. The only downside was the expensive rooms. But food was included in the price, so we accepted it, because if we hadn't, we would have had to walk another hour back to Trenta in the hope of finding some grass for the horses. Sophy, the lady, was very friendly, so we accepted. 30 km today 7.5 hours

11.6. we started in the park and rode up a small path to the pass Vriscu 1611 m. There was a tree on the path that had knocked down other trees blocking the path. I had to saw through quite a bit to allow the horses to climb around the obstacle. Mansu had moments of impatience the day before, so I asked Gudrun to lead him around the fallen trees. Instead of waiting as I asked, he pushed through and overtook me. An absolute no-go. This didn't happen on any of last year's trails. He got a good scolding and from that moment on, you could at least tell he was trying to be patient. We reached the top around 10am and led the horses down the other side to Kraniska Gora. After lunch, we drove up the next overpass to Austria at 1700 m and reached the pass without a name at around 4 pm. Two hours later, after a steep T2 descent and a few bumps on the ground, we reached a farmhouse and restaurant above Villach in Austria. Mansur slipped behind me, but now at least he respected me and listened to my commands. 34 km and 1700 vertical meters 51 Lkm

12.6. we spent some time with the owner of the restaurant where we were staying, he answered many questions we had regarding the development of the trail. At 8:15 we found ourselves on the trail and decided to shorten it, passing Villach to get up into the hills to Mittersil. Mansu behaved well, but he still shows fear when a big truck approaches. So I led him over a scary highway bridge and through some tunnels through the smallest part of Villach. We passed a couple of stables, a large one belonging to the gun manufacturer Glock. At 2pm we found a farmhouse with horses and asked if we could stay there. We ate the rest of our lunch.


We had some coffee with our host Erwin and Barbara and tried to get the horses out of the big pasture. Arkan decided he'd rather visit the mares with foals and Gudrun had to help me catch him to saddle up. We had to ride further up the valley. We came to a narrow gorge on the busy road and there was no sidewalk or bike path due to recent mudslides after heavy rain. I led Mansu, who was scared of orange or green trucks approaching him, and got him through safely. Leaving the ravine behind, we found a bakery where we indulged in our second breakfast while Mansu, tied to a post, stuck his head into the trash container hanging from the post and licked some melted ice cream from a cardboard cup.

We first rode uphill along tractor roads, had to open a few gates and finally reached the Lammersdorfer Hütte at 1800 m after 35 km. When we unsaddled the horses, we realized that we had lost our feed bag and when we checked the photos, we found out where. We had a shandy and galloped all the way up the mountain to the pass and back down the other side, and after 10 minutes we had found the bag. We helped the dairymaid drive the cattle back to the barn for milking. We parked the horses in a large fenced field with a well. We returned to the mountain hut and ordered our meals. Cheese spaetzle and bacon and eggs with bread and then we spend the evening listening to the stories of the 22 year old dairymaid and her 2 year older boyfriend who is a professional cheesemaker. Gudrun was offered a bed in the house and we put up the tarp for me. It started to rain, so we bought 12-month-old cheese and went to bed.


A quarter to seven after breakfast, we set off with home-brewed coffee and some bread and cheese. We rode further north towards Alexander Hütte and had to climb another 200 meters to reach the pass. At the Millstätter Hütte we had our second breakfast and saw a beautiful mule and two donkeys. As we sat down, the sky finally cleared. Many fences had to be opened, as only pedestrians were allowed up here and the gates were correspondingly too small for the horses. After more than half a dozen gates, we decided we'd had enough and started walking down the gravel road, adding an unexpected 8 km to our journey. Finally we reached the wide valley of Mittersil again and now had to cross the highway and the river Lieser and ride up to the Huehnerberg to the restaurant Kohlberg, where we got a meal and our first beer of the day. They have a room for us and we can corral the horses on their property. I'll be sleeping outside with the horses, but it's definitely great to shower after a hot day of hiking 45 km.


We drank coffee with our hosts while the horses waited saddled. We trotted the next 20 km up the valley to Winklern, where we found another bakery and had our 2nd breakfast. We found a path up the mountain that would take us across the valley to the Lienzer Hütte. We reached the hut at 4pm in the afternoon and realized that neither of the two overpasses had been walked this spring. Too bad, but we didn't want to be the first to cross the pass on horseback. I had hoped that it would be possible because it didn't snow in winter, but the locals told us that it snowed heavily in May and the temperatures were very low until this week. So too bad, but better safe than sorry. After 350 km we have to leave the Adria-Alpe trail and find our way back to Switzerland.

15.6. I slept under my tarpaulin in the pouring rain. But there's nothing better than the drumming of the raindrops on the tarp. I love it. When we finally reached the bottom of the Mölltal valley after four hours, we found a guesthouse where we ordered beer and iced coffee. From there we trotted the next 20 km up to Rackowitzen, where a lady recommended the Lisa Kropp private stable to us in a second restaurant we found on the way. Arkan can walk 9 km/h over long distances while Mansur jogs alongside him. I am very pleased with how the two horses have done so far on this trip, having covered more than 310 km in 7 days. Mansu is now much more comfortable with trucks and in the next few days he will have to prove his willingness to cope with difficult situations in the mountains. We reached Rackowitzen and Lisa Kopp shortly after 4pm and were able to shower and wash our clothes while our horses grazed happily in a freshly mown field. We ate pizza and enjoyed the family's hospitality. 40 km


The Alpe-Adria Trail has come to an end. From today we ride back to Switzerland via Tyrol. We have covered 400 km in 10 days, not counting the meters in altitude. And the horses are doing great. Today we hiked down from the Lienzer Hütte to Lienz and trotted up another 25 km until we reached Abfaltersbach in the Draw Valley. We met a couple of riders standing on a bank in the river who told us where we could find a place for the horses. The ladies in the stables were all amazed at our adventures and tried in vain to find somewhere for us to stay. We showered the horses and put them in a fenced riding area with water and hay while we went to a restaurant to take an indoor shower. We will sleep outside.


We got up at 5.30 a.m., took down the tarpaulin and stowed away the sleeping bags and mats. At 6 a.m. the church bells began to ring and six cannon shots were fired to commemorate the successful victory of the local army over Napoleon Bonaparte's army. At 6.30 a.m. we set off along the cycle path towards Italy. We found a bakery, but there was no coffee, instead the lady gave us a few day-old croissants. At San Candido we rode over the overpass to Sesto and Moso, which led us up to the Three Peaks. I rode this route 20 years ago on our trip from Munich to Venice and back. It was a steep climb that was supposed to take 3.5 hours, we made it in 2 hours behind the horses. There were fewer pedestrians than we had feared, but there were a few ladies who felt the need to make negative comments about us bringing the horses here. If only they knew how much fun our horses have.

We reached the Drie Zinnen and hiked down the other side to Malga Bianca, where we had spent the night before. Clemens told us to get some beer and wine from the shelter and make ourselves comfortable, he would come over as soon as we had finished the first bottle of wine. He appeared with some of his guests and set off again to take them up to Rifugio Aronzo. At 9.30 am, when we were already asleep, he came back and we joined him with a plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine.


We re-shod Mansu after 450 km, his back feet wearing the Duplos faster than the front feet. When we had finished, the local farrier appeared for breakfast. So be it. We called the next accommodation we wanted to stay at and found out that it was closed for a week. Ok, change of plans, we ride straight to Cortina d'Ampezzo and up the other side of the mountain to the busy horse trail to Castelrotto. We reached the road up to Rifugio Valporella as storm clouds gathered above us. We came across a rifugio with lots of grass, so we decided to stay here at 1600 m instead of 2150 and 8 km before our planned destination. This gave the horses a break and good food until tomorrow. We corralled them in the pouring rain and then went up to take a shower. I just love Italian food and the way they prepare a first plate of carbs and then a second plate of meat and vegetables. We drank house wine and both agreed that this is what life is all about.


We left the Refugio straight after breakfast at 8am and rode up to the Valparello Pass 8km. We descended until we reached the path that led up to Prolongia. At 1 pm we went down from Prolongia to the valley station of the gondola. Now we had to go over the Passo Selle and then up to the Passo Groeden. The horses proved their qualities as they trotted up the mountain for more than two hours at a time. After Groeden, we led them down and up to the Rifugio Ciavaz. We arrived there after they had closed the kitchen, but as the owner was entertaining guests, he organized a plate of sausage and cheese and some beer. We left the toilet open for us and they showed us where to get electricity. Before they left, they invited us in for two free snacks. Custom here. We enjoyed it and the horses enjoyed the alpine grass.


Gudrun slept in the open doorway of the hut while I laid my mat on a small platform next to the fenced grazing area for the horses. The night was windy but warm and when I woke up at 5am, my sleeping bag was a little wet from the dew. The horses had had a good rest and rolled a few times. At least that's how Mansu looked. We drank home-brewed coffee and set off at 7am for the Rifugio Comici and then back down to the Saiser Alm. We had a second breakfast in one of the huts along the way and by 1 o'clock we were in Kastelruth, where Thomas was waiting for us. The horses had a well-deserved shower and some hay and concentrated feed and were now dozing in the shade of a cool indoor box. We've showered and drunk beer, it's 26 degrees Celsius and I'm lying on a camp bed in the shade, typing away. In the evening we go to a restaurant with the whole family and enjoy some stories Thomas tells about how he won a horse in the lottery and how that got him into riding.


We had a great evening with Thomas and his wife at the local restaurant. But according to the weather news, it's getting hot here. 33 in the valley and I can't stand it, so we decided to give the horses and I a break. We hiked down the valley and a friend of mine picked us up at the highway and drove us for two hours through Bolzano and Merano to the Ulten Valley, where we had lunch at Rudi's on the gorge and packed up our things to climb the 2500 m high Tascher Pass. According to the signposts, it was a 4.5-hour route, but we managed it in a total of 3.5 hours. Our horses are doing just great. At the moment they are running around the parking lot of the Tascherhütte trying to find the best grassy areas. We'll get our food soon and then we have to decide where I'm going to stay tonight. A storm is brewing above us.


Lightning and thunder were seconds apart at 5am when I woke up and packed up my things. The horses were calm and composed, but anxious at the first lightning strike. I made it all the way to the hut and 15 minutes later the landlord opened the restaurant door and offered coffee, which I gladly accepted. The cheesemaker also came and Gudrun joined us a little later. We got the horses out of their fences and took them to the shed where our things were stored. We checked the shoeing and I had to re-nail Mansu's right shoe, which slipped yesterday on the way up Tatscher Pass because I only used 5 nails instead of 6, hoping it would work. Well, it didn't. Lesson learned. He uses his hind hooves intensively. And that's actually a good thing. It's just hard on the shoes of his hind feet. We then led the horses down into the Vinschgau Valley and rode up to Prato at the foot of the Stilfser Joch. After about 38 km we were in Prato and at the first farmhouse we asked for a field for the horses. The young farmer was happy to show us a field that was fenced on three sides and had a water tank. His girlfriend wanted to ride one of the horses, but Mansu was much more interested in the greenery than in obeying the new rider. We turned on the GPS on Mansu and headed into town for a drink and an early dinner. We're going to sleep over a pigsty next to the field where the horses are, and will ride out bright and early tomorrow morning. Gudrun met a few people from her home town and we spent some time swapping stories and drinking beer. At 6pm we got our meals and when it got dark we returned to camp.


Gudrun woke me up at midnight. She had heard horses trotting along the sidewalk. I looked for the horses and saw a white figure standing where the horses should be. My GPS tracker said the horses were inside their fence. So we went back to sleep. Then, 30 minutes later, my phone rang twice and I thought something was wrong. It was a local number and when I answered, Max was on the phone asking me if I wasn't missing any horses. Confused, I got dressed and marched out into the field to find that the fence was broken and the horses were gone. What I thought was Mansu in the dark was the white water tank. Max said he had the horses and asked where we were and that he would pick us up in his car. We had fenced the horses in with our electric fence, Mansu had a GPS tracker on his neck and they both carried a sign with my phone number on it.

Max picked us up and drove us into town where some people were holding our horses. We thanked them and led our horses back to our sleeping place. Why didn't my GPS respond when they left the fenced area? And why were they running in the first place? On the way back, I realized that the GPS tracker was no longer on Mansu's neck and must have been left in the field. And the hissing of the irrigation system was the reason they ran off when it turned on at midnight. We fenced them in again further away from the system and I laid my mat next to the fence. At dawn I went in search of the GPS tracker and yes, there it was in the field, the clip fastener was broken. We saddled the horses and rode up the road to the Stelvio Pass, 25 km up the mountain. The horses were fine, trotting and walking for 3.5 hours until we reached the summit, where we came across a bike race. Wonderfully quiet, with no cars or motorcycles, we led the horses down the other side and had some coffee on the pass. We led them down to the Umbrail pass and turned off to reach Bocceta di Forcola, another pass that would lead us to Val Fraele. We had a beer at Lake Cancanon and the horses grazed in the nearby field. An hour later, we trotted along the lake to reach my friend Severin in San Giacomo, where we would spend the night.


We had a lovely evening with Severin and his family at Lago Cancanon and when I woke up in the morning, the dew on the ground was frozen. We packed our things, had breakfast and set off at around 8am for the last stage over the Passo del Fuorn and Fontana di S-charl. We took it easy as we knew this would be our last day on this route and as the weather was perfectly sunny and cool, we rode past some beautiful meadows and up the singletrack from Aua Val Mora to Passo Fuerno. The bike race had caught up with us again and while we drank our iced coffee in the restaurant, the horses grazed and people took photos. After crossing the last mountain range for today, we reached S-Charl and I met a couple of people who were willing to take me to San Jon where my car was parked. 5 hours later the horses were back home near Schaffhausen in their open stable and we had a last beer and reflected on the memories of this trip. Gudrun was great company and we were incredibly lucky with the weather as there were no showers the whole way except for a few downpours at night.

We covered 640 km in 18 days and climbed a total of 24,000 m, which equates to an average of 48 Lkm per day. With an average distance of 35 km per day.

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