Yet again it is an overcast day with low cloud. My plan for the day was to do a guided walk but when I turned up I was told it was cancelled due to the weather.
A storm was due to hit the area at about noon and 2.5 cm of rain were predicted in just a couple of hours. They got the rain correct but not the timing. By 10.30 it was pouring down. We caught the boat and spent the next two hours sailing round the lake. At least we were dry and we could have a coffee and enjoy the scenery, what we could see of it.
We were back at our hotel at 13.00 and ate our lunch staring out of the window at the rain.
By 14.00 the rain had eased but not stopped. I decided to put on my waterproofs and do the walk on my own. It was an easy stroll really in the Karwendel National Park, walking along the Gerntal Valley as far as Pletzachalm.
Looking at the map there appeared to be a cycle track and footpath running parallel to the road but it was just a shale track. I walked along the road, it was very quiet. I saw just three vehicles in as many hours.
It took me just 45 minutes from the gates of the Karwendel National Park to Pletzachalm but along the way I spotted lots of wild flowers.
I managed to get some better images of the yellow flower I saw yesterday. My book of Alpine Flowers suggested it might be Sticky Clary, Salvia glutinosa. I tried to look it up on Google, but when I typed in “Sticky Clary” it led me to a site “Sticky moments with Julian Clary” a gay comedian. Not what I was looking for at all. The plant is also known as ‘Sticky Sage ‘and with this I got more luck.
All parts of the plant are covered in sticky hairs, especially the lime-green calyces and the flowers. Hence the name “glutinosa” These sticky hairs probably have a protective function to prevent small insects such as ants from crawling into the flowers and stealing the nectar. The stamens are concealed within the flowers upper lip and only move outwards when the inside of the flower is touched. Small insects cannot trigger this mechanism but larger ones such as bumblebees which are particularly attracted to the plant can trigger it and aid pollination.
The Almgasthof Pletzach is a lovely chalet type building situated at a height of 1040m half way along the Gerntal valley road to Gernalm. I called in for a beer and a rest. On the ceiling there were some huge Cow Bells. I would not want to meet the cows that wore them!
Just a few hundred metres further up the valley was the start of the trail leading to the Summit of Feilkopf at 1562 metres. I was tempted but as I could not even see the top with the low cloud I felt it was not a good idea, especially on my own.
On my way back I stopped to take more pictures of the wild flowers. There was now just a fine drizzle and the soft lighting was just what I wanted. The water droplets even added to the images.
I also saw some Eyebright, Euphrasia officinalis.
The pretty marks on the petals have been compared to eyelashes and the plant has traditionally been used to treat eye diseases.
I got back to my hotel at 17.00 with time for a hot shower and a glass of wine. I had discovered that the local SPAR sold a decent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for 2.49 euro, what a bargain.
By 18.00 the clouds had covered the valley and it was pouring with rain.
We will stop in tonight.