We dragged our jet-lagged bodies up and up and up, occasionally turning around to enjoy valley views below (and to congratulate ourselves on how far we had come - "ohhhh look at the tiny trail down there we used to be on!")
As we crested the summit we were surrounded by wild horses and cows with giant bells around their necks. The clanging bells added background music to the valley filled with wide open beauty and never-ending trails. The cows chomped down on fields of grass that sprawled out like a portrait. I seriously wanted to don a Julie Andrews dress and twirl around singing the Hills are Alive (which no doubt would have completely ruined the pristine moment).
Trails sprawled out before us in every direction, with not a single person in sight. The occasional cow blocked the path that led to our next view.
We came across a map of a 54k loop that we have already planned to come back and either run or mountain bike on our next adventure.
Amazing adventures like this with one of my very best friends somehow seem to keep me going when the rest of life throws curve balls my way. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to see and experience so many parts of the world on foot.
The highest point on our climb . . .
We both grinned like 5-year-olds as we flew down the mountain past the clanging happy cows and the few scattered Austrian huts toward the Backerei that would no doubt complete the run.
As I sit here writing this at 4am drinking a cappuccino and listening to the rain outside, the long sleepless flight and losing an iPhone in an Uber and somehow amazingly getting it back while in Vienna now seem like small blips on the radar of this adventure. On to the next!