Vosges - Day 6 : The Hohneck

I ate enough breakfast for a change and headed towards the mountain 'Hohneck'. At first I followed a nice path without much snow that slowly meandered up the mountain. I passed a tunnel with 15 cm thick icicles.

icicles in a tunnel

Later I ended up at Lac du Fischboedle, a nice mountain lake.

lac du fischboedle

The trail went steep up the mountain to another lake. There had been a river flowing over the rocky trail which had turned into a 10 cm thick layer of ice. There were people living next to the lake and I even think there was a hotel, it must be special to live so remote.

lac du fischboedle during winter
lac du fischboedle in winter

There were two other people following the same route. We arrived on a mountain ridge leading to Hohneck's summit. First we again needed to plough through deep snow, which I really didn't enjoy. After half a kilometer we reached a steep snow covered slope. If we would fall here we would probably slide a long way down. Two hundred meters later I reached the summit, where I enjoyed the view and took some photos.

hohneck in winter
hohneck in winter

After another break I continued exploring the summit and noticed some people climbing the mountain in a more intense way. After finishing taking pictures I accidentally bumped against my thermos bottle, which subsequently slid down the mountain. I wouldn't see that again. 

climbing the hohneck
climbing the hohneck
climbing the hohneck
view from the hohneck

ended up at mish-mash of roads with lots of people. It was an area for renting snowshoes and skis. Those people were eyeballing me, as I was the only one there without an expensive car, dog, wife, two children, and a down jacket. Along the road the snow was hip deep. There was a ski resort as well and odd concrete bunkers besides the road. One lady asked, a bit concerned, where I was going to sleep. I told here I was heading towards a cabin, because I didn't want to get in trouble for wild camping, which I wasn't 100% sure was legal. I think she knew I wasn't telling the truth though. She asked a few more times and I couldn't figure out why she was so concerned.

ice bunker

The path ran parallel to a car road before splitting into a cross country skiing track and a trail with loose snow. By now I had seen enough loose snow so I followed the skiing track. Again people were looking confused because I was going uphill instead of downhill, while it was getting dark. After a while I found a good place to sleep, about 100 meters from the road and at 1200 meters of elevation. There really was a lot of snow there. In an attempt to prevent my shoes from freezing I wrapped them in my back packs' rain cover and used them as a pillow. At night it seemed to be a lot colder than during the previous nights, maybe that was why the lady had been so concerned. My sleeping bag had a comfort temperature of -15 C, but while wearing my t-shirt, insulated pants, scarf, and hat I still didn't feel very warm. Similar to the other nights I had stopped walking as soon as it got dark, which was already around 5 in the evening. Therefore I usually lay awake for a few hours before falling asleep.