Along the Czech Border…
Stand a range of mountains that form a natural border wall. The largest of those is called the Arber but even though it is the largest, it is far from the most challenging to ascend. The Osser ranks much higher on that list. The Osser was the first of the Bavarian mountains I ever climbed back in 2013, the way to the summit is only 3.5 Kilometers, but it will still take 4 hours both ways and that’s if you manage to keep the same pace both up and down.
The Osser looms tall above the towns of Lam and Lohberg in the Bavarian forest National Park and at its very summit, much like most of the mountains in Bavaria, sits the Schutzhaus, or protection house which marks the border with The Czech Republic and serves as a resting place for hikers and wanderers to stop and have a beer and some food before continuing on their way. There are many ways to climb the mountain like almost any other and some are easier than others. We did not take the easy path.
If you are looking for a training hike then the Osser is for you. You will ascend over 500 meters in 3.5 Kilometers, that’s a steep grade and it almost never relents. There will be times where you think the path is becoming easier, only to become just as hard or harder within another minute. It can be demotivating but the view is well worth the work. An even more challenging route would be to climb bot the smaller and larger Osser all at once. there are paths that connect the two but if you are planning on that way you will need someone to pick you up on the other side because the path ends in another place.
The path itself is barely a path and more of a stairway in some places, the roots of the trees stand exposed and act as steps up to the top. The moment of clarity that you will be making it to the top within the next 30 minutes is when you reach “the Meadow”. About 5 years ago a huge storm hit Bavaria with seriously high powered winds. The winds were so strong in fact that they tore whole sections of forest down from the tops of some of the taller mountains on the border. The Osser was one of those mountains. The meadow is full of young growth trees and bushes where there were once large, strong trees. You can still see the carnage of that storm laid out across that meadow. The carcasses of the unfortunate trees lay in every corner, but in that clearing you catch your first glimpse of the summit.
The first time I climbed the Osser I was not expecting the hike that I got and nearly turned around, but that day there was a Czech/Bavarian friendship fest at the Schutzhaus and from that meadow, I could hear the music from the summit. That inspiration proved to be all that I needed and that day I stood at the top of the Osser, that was nearly 3 and a half years ago.
This time, I got the opportunity this time around to see an incredible sight; the movement of weather from the Czech Republic to Germany. As we stepped to the top of the mountain, I looked to the Czech side and saw that the entire valley was full all the way nearly to the summit with clouds. At some lower points the clouds started to spill into the valley where the town of Lam stands, you can see in the picture below. It was an incredible view and one that I will always remember. The weather seemed to follow us down the mountain on our way back but when we where sheltered by the back side of the mountain, we stood under the clouds.
This Time I had a companion, My friend the traveling squirrel joined me! I am happy to report that I caught a couple of photos and also that he will be accompanying me on all of my future wanderings! Get excited, because more cuteness is to come! Stay tuned for much more fun from the woods! Next time we will climb the Lusen, in the Czech Republic, and this little guy will come with us!
Keep Wandering, Friends,