It may seem like, what can another alpine hike surprise with? Well, here’s Lech, one of the popular winter resorts. Yeah, but there are thousands of them, right? And if you’re hiking, why not go to South Tyrol, to the Dolomites? But let me tell you this – it so happens that there are almost no free huts/bivouacs/shelters in the Alps. There are plenty of paid “huts,” and there are free shelters in hard-to-reach places (where you can’t hike in one day, you either have to be incredibly sporty or spend the nights up there). One of the first russian-speaking bloggers about alps, Combrig, has described routes quite clearly, where you can spend a week in the mountains using these free bivouacs. But this is not for those who came here on vacation or for the weekend.
So, right here in Voralberg, there is a hike called the “Green Ring,” consisting of three parts. There are even several articles written about it. It is supposed to be completed in three days with two nights of camping. However, the most interesting part, in my opinion, is the one where the “bivouac” is located. Yes, indeed, it’s an entirely free “hut” for overnight stays, which you can reach in just a couple of hours from the parking area. Along the hike, there are also various art objects, for example… doors. Simply different doors created by different artists, each with its own meaning. But you can approach a door, open it by the handle, and step through the threshold, finding yourself in a
different world just on the other side of the door. Quite amusing.
Overnighting in the “Bivouac”
And the “Bivouac” is even described in the route, saying that you can find shelter here from evil spirits. I don’t know about spirits, but you can definitely seek refuge from the wind and cold there. Inside, there are two bunk beds, so four people can sleep easily, and if really desired, two more can sleep on the floor. I was lucky like a drowned rat – in the fall, I arrived just when a group of 6 people was preparing dinner. I must give credit to the Austrians; they pulled out some planks from under the bivouac and helped me set up an improvised bivouac outside. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold at night, so I didn’t freeze in my sleeping bag. But still, plan to either arrive on weekdays or arrive early, as they say, “first come – first served.”
Near the bivouac, there is a small fire pit where you can make a campfire. Not far from the summit, I hid a small geocaching cache. Although there are doubts whether visitors will find it in the foreseeable future, our geocachers don’t come to Europe very often.
Trip dates: September 14-15, 2019
Overall, the hike is relatively straightforward, but the only thing to consider is logistics. Ideally, it’s a one-way hike, so even if you have a car, you need to plan for the return trip to the starting point. I was lucky – I caught a ride within 5 minutes, so I didn’t have to walk on the road. However, if you have less luck, you may need to add another few kilometers of hiking on asphalt. Despite the overnight stay outdoors, it wasn’t cold. Although, of course, the evening wind was quite refreshing, after all, it was September.
Total climbing: 1374 m
Total descent: -1375 m
Total time: 18:38:30