Walchensee, Germany - Brigitte Kasberger

My experiences with water are generally very positive, with the exception that at nine years old a boy my age pushed me into a lake. But even this episode was more unpleasant rather than traumatic.

Even though I was submerged quite deeply, at least I came back up. However, now I want to relate an experience with water that to this day counts as one of my loveliest memories. It’s of bathing in the pool of a mountain stream, a basin-like depression that I commonly known as a ‘Gumpen’. They are created through erosion, when a mountain stream runs over rocks into a valley.

I was about twenty five years old and had never been particularly athletic. A friend of mine convinced me to go on a hike, and so in time I discovered the beauty of the Bavarian mountains and pre alps.

This hike is what I want to tell you about. On a beautiful summer’s day, it took us from Jachenau (a small village in the upper Bavarian county of Bad Tölz) to Niedernach on the Walchensee (one of Germany’s largest alpine lakes). It was a long walk. We passed the Lainer Alm, the Luitpolder Alm, luscious pastures; we had lunch on one of them, and then went down the steep path to the Walchensee. After we’d been going for a few hours, the soles of our feet were burning in the sturdy mountain shoes, and our legs were getting more and more tired. Then we heard the rush of a waterfall.

We couldn’t see anything yet, but the sound kept coming closer. And the, when we were almost in the valley, we saw a stream and this gorgeous pool, with its clear and deep green water. We stepped down from the path, took off our shoes, and cooled our sweltering feet. It was absolutely wonderful. We were utterly alone among this beautiful, untouched nature, and the temptation was just too great. We took off the rest of our clothes, looked for a deeper pool, counted to three and submerged ourselves entirely. It was an indescribable feeling. We felt like we were in paradise. Refreshed and revitalized, we put our clothes back on and made our way back home, feeling light and elated.

When I think about it now, I get the desire to experience it again. Would I still dare to do this today? Would it still be just as wonderful? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just keep it in my memory.

Cassandra Hartmann
Brigitte Kasberger

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