High Above the Clouds (color version)

A look along the peak of Sonntagshorn towards Gamsknogel, Zwiesel, and a thick layer of clouds that covers the Chiemgau region. Heutal, Unken, Salzburger Land. November 2008.

A look along the peak of Sonntagshorn towards Gamsknogel, Zwiesel, and a thick layer of clouds that covers the Chiemgau region. Heutal, Unken, Salzburger Land. November 2008.

Escaping from the gloom of a low-hanging layer of autumn clouds was something that I did the first time in November 2005, and what a relief it was to hike through the clouds and into the bright sunlight with calming blue skies above.

This hike in November was no different, except that the snow in the higher sections made the whole thing a bit of a muddy exercise – the easiest ascend (about 1000m/3300ft elevation change) to Sonntagshorn is from Austria, and the south-facing slope with its many switchbacks was warming up nicely above the clouds… turning the trail into a muddy mess. It was fun, nevertheless!

I’d like to add that there’s a cross at the summit of the mountain. There’s a cross at the summit of many mountains in Europe. I’m not a religious person, and Germany and Austria (the border between the two countries is right at the summit) do have separation of church and state* but honestly… I’ve never seen anyone being offended by the crosses, let alone take the issue of a cross on public land at a mountaintop to court.

Actually, someone added some Tibetan prayer flags to the cross in the picture (it’s hardly visible in the web version, but the colorful specks are the flags), and no one got offended by that either. If wind and weather haven’t taken their toll on them, they’re probably still there…

*) which was, as I’d like to add, never meant as a measure to protect the church from the state, but the other way around: to protect the state from the influence of religion.

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