Schrecksee: The Frightening Lake of Germany

Schreck in German means fright or scare and the lake is aptly named as the way to reach this heaven is frightening at the best.

We started our journey on Friday the 23rd afternoon, excited and happy. The four of us were travelling to hike/trek to Schrecksee. Schrecksee is located in the Allgäu Alps and is the highest and one of the most raw natural Alpine lakes in Germany. It sits calm and blue at the height of 1813 meters (5948.16 feet) surrounded by the Allgäu Alps with a small island formed due to damming in the lake during the 1950s.

We reached Sonthofen, a quaint Bavarian town on Friday evening and commenced our trip the German way : With Beers ;). After buying some more food supplies from Sonthofen we took a shuttle taxi to Hinterstein which is the Base from where the trek starts.

Sonthofen, Bavaria

Hinterstein is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful little Alpine villages I have ever been to. It’s the type of village described in Fairy Tales or the ones shown in the quintessential Bollywood romantic movies. With small chalets, cows grazing in fields with their cowbells making a fitting “dong-dong” sound and an almost 360 degree view of Alps and from the mountain ranges waterfalls adorning the village backdrop. It was breathtaking. Some of the rocky mountain tops still wore white patches of snow in July.

Hinterstein, View from our hotel balcony
Hinterstein, hike trails

I am the type of person who always researches the place where I am headed for, so naturally I did a couple of “YouTube” based researches and every video I saw and every blog I read told me that this trek was “Difficult”. Now, in the past year due to lockdowns and the “Inner Chef” being too active my fitness level went from okay to fu####g terrible and I underestimated the word difficult. But when Germans say a hike/trek trail is difficult, you must pretty damn be sure it’s difficult.

The trek trail. Yes the trail is that narrow and rocky

We started our journey to Schrecksee at 09:20 hours from our hotel after a hearty breakfast. The total distance of the trek was 18 kms from our hotel and back. The first 4.5 kms is mostly like a pleasant hike along the Alpine farms with wonderful views and then towards the end of this hike begins the actual trek. The first stretch of the trek is a moderate climb which leads to a beautiful valley through the forest. The hike/trek trail is almost completely rocky. Now after this valley began the second stretch and I am not kidding when I say it was one of the most difficult physical activities I have done. Tears were shed and I almost gave up. I have vertigo and at one point my eyes ventured downwards and it was really damn high. But with a lot of help from the amazing partner I have(I owe you one for this <3), I managed to climb up and when I did, what my eyes saw made every little panic, vertigo induced dizziness, and tiredness vanished. It was indeed PARADISE.

Ahhh, pure bliss

The lake was like a pristine blue jewel in the crowning of the green alpine foothills. It was beautiful. Without wasting more time, both of us changed into swimsuits and jumped. The dunk into the cool water made all our tiredness go away. After exploring for a while we started the downward climb. It was going fine and we came back to the valley after completing the challenging part of the climb or so we thought. Unfortunately a thunderstorm began and as I mentioned the trail was almost completely rocky and the rain made the rocks slippery and loose. The downward climb was scary. It was the scariest I have ever been. It started to get dark and at one point I started cursing myself for not being fit enough or prepared enough for this. But the only thing which kept me going was the fact that we were soaked in rain, it was a dangerous terrain and it was gonna rain more at night. After an extremely difficult down trek when I could see the starting point again, it was like seeing Mommade food after a long long long time.

The rest of the way back was surreal for two reasons, one we made it, two the route was breathtaking even at night. We could see flashes of thunder lighting up the sky and the mountain ranges and we were literally walking through the clouds. We reached back to our hotel at around 22:45 hours and ended the day with some hearty conversations, beer and a wonderful blueberry cheesecake.

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