G3VGR LECHWEG     Elbigenalp am Arlberg - Stanzach      

The rain had stopped sometime in the night and I awoke to low dark clouds with small patches of blue. The forecast was that the weather should improve during the day. I caught the bus to Elbigenalp and joined the trail there back at the riverbank. Elbigenalp is the home of the Geierwally, a local maiden of powers and daring deeds equating to those of a comic book hero. The trail followed the river for a while, then cut across the main road to some nice ups and downs until I reached the main road opposite a bridge where I crossed over the Lech at Griessau. After passing through a small, but pretty forest, I walked along a flat dirt road towards Häselgehr, following the river, which was swollen due to the recent heavy rain. Just as the walk was becoming monotonous, I reached Häselgehr's impressive church, where a path led up into some forest. Quite soon I reached the Doser waterfall. Apparently, the waterfall dries up at St. Martin's Day(November 11) and springs back on St. George's Day (23 April). According to legend, this phenomenon is caused by a dragon that opens and closes the stream at the correct times. After leaving the waterfall and reaching the end of the wood, I was pleased to note that the sun had broken through the clouds and the day was getting warmer.

From the edge of the woods, I now started on the Burweg, walking on a narrow path along the mountainside which was covered with ferns. There were many orange butterflies about. The Burweg ascended steeply into a forest and the narrow path joined a forestry road. Eventually, this descended down a narrow muddy forest path which led me to the Elmen Panoramaweg (there seem to be many Panoramawegs on this trail). This Panoramaweg followed the mountainside high above the Lechtal and was very rough and undulating, but provided superb views across the valley towards the village of Elmen. I noticed that the Lech below me was now quite a wide river as it had been joined by various mountain streams on it's journey northwards. The rocky, steep mountain path climbed steadily and I stopped for lunch at it's summit, enjoying the fantastic vista of the Lechtal.

From here, I continued downwards through a beech forest until reaching a rough parking area above Martinau. Then followed the descent towards Martinau along the Krackweg, a forest road that zigzagged it's way down to the main road, bypassing Martinau and arriving at Vorderhornbach. Apparently, the mild climate of Vorderhornbach gives it the name "Merano of the Lech Valley", although I didn't see any trattorias there. As seems normal around here in the mid-afternoons, the village was dead. I left via a flat path through some farmland and reached the Lech bridge. A short walk along the other bank brought me to Stanzach. The next bus to Holzgau wasn't due for another eighty minutes. I contemplated carrying on to Forchach, but soon abandoned that idea in preference for sitting in the town square drinking Hefeweizen in the afternoon sunshine to pass the time away. The Elmen Panoramaweg had been hard going and my feet had taken another battering on it's unforgiving surface.

Entering the forest near Griessau

Small waterfall on the way to Häselgehr

The church at Häselgehr

Doser Wasserfall

View back to Häselgehr from the Burweg

Burweg entering the Brandesharberwald

View across to Elmen

Along the Elmen Panoramaweg

View downstream from Panoramaweg

View towards Martinau

Almost reached Vorderhornbach

Across the meadows from Vorderhornbach

The Lech from the bridge at Vorderhornbach

Stanzach village centre

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