A pleasing twist of fate decided that today in Austria was a Feiertag, or a public holiday that just so happened to fall on my birthday. A day off work and celebrating to be done too. Perfect. Although I don’t have much idea how Ascension is supposed to be celebrated in the catholic world, I thought it was acceptable to find a high point and ride to it . Unfortunately, this valley has lots of high points, and thus I had to climb a long way to get there. It was worth it though.
The Patscherkofel is a gate keeper to the Inn valley. It sits like a turret on the corner of the Tuxer Alpen, at the meeting point of the Brenner and Inn valleys, and can be seen from almost all sides. It modest height, at only 2200m is surprising considering its prominence.
To get there, I had to ride through some horrible landscapes. Meadows full of flowers in full bloom, springs trickling out of the rock side and across the path, and beautiful alpine farms (Alms) nestled into sheltered nooks on the mountain face.
After two hours of climbing, it was a relief to rise out of the trees and into the alpine air, to see the view which I’d only glimpsed at through the pine forest. The most direct way to the top actually snakes around all sides of the hill, and you approach the summit from the opposite face than town. Rising up the last switchbacks opened a huge view up the Stubai valley, to the really big mountains, where to snow doesn’t melt.
And finally, its not until you step up the final few rocks that the view over Innsbruck finally appears. Only a couple miles away as the crow flies, but its a whole different world looking down from the top. I like being able to take in the entirety of the city with one glance. It gives a great sense of perspective for the days when you’re stuck in the city, and think that all that matters is confined into the small space you are currently occupying. Being on top of the world is what matters!
Of course, being my birthday, it wouldn’t have been right to miss out on the cake. As it just happens, I live with two exceptional cake-makers, who crafted Apfelkuchen just for me. It really did make the day a birthday!