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Not Without my Freezer Bag!
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Not Without my Freezer Bag!

Why the Merano High Mountain Trail is much more than just the usual Alpine hike

When hiking the Merano High Mountain Trail, you will need worn-in hiking boots, thick earplugs and, of course, a freezer bag. This much you know in advance. But to start from the beginning:

The Merano High Mountain Trail is a hike leading between Alpine huts in the mountains, but unlike any other, as it offers an excellent escape into the mountains around Merano/Meran and the Schnalstal and Passeiertal valleys. The barren nature of the high mountains and the dense forests guarantee a break from the routine. But anyone thinks that a hike on one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Alps is simply idyllic is wrong.

This is a hike that is by no means boring. This is particularly the case in the evening, when like-minded people meet in the mountain huts for dinner, gathering together in comfort and even enjoying a glass or two of schnapps. A hike is not only a sporting challenge, but also serves as an opportunity to get to know new people. And the hosts of many of these inns have seen a few things at these heights, and entertain the guests with their stories.

Most of the mountain huts have dormitories, which are shared with between ten and 30 other hikers. So please whisper, close doors carefully and use headlamps instead of turning the lights on (if there is even any electricity in the cabin – and do not expect that there will always be a shower, hot water or cell phone reception).

On quiet nights you can hear only the rippling of the fountain or the creaking of doors at night. With a bit of bad luck, you may end up with a snoring roommate, which is why experienced hikers always carry a pack of earplugs in their backpacks. And more importantly ... I’ll tell you later.

At this point we would like to state a few facts about the Merano High Mountain Trail:
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The entire trail is signposted as No. 24 and leads between several mountain huts. It stretches for almost 100 kilometers around the Texelgruppe Nature Park. The Merano High Mountain Trail offers fantastic views of the mountain landscape around Merano and the Vinschgau Valley, and clear views of the Dolomites and the Ortler massif. You can hike the entire route in four to six daily stages of six to eight hours, with each individual stage also suitable as a one-day hike. You can start the hike at different places, as there are many easy points at which to get there and back down.

The southern part of the Merano High Mountain Trail leads from the Passeiertal Valley to the Schnalstal Valley, often leading through Mediterranean vegetation, and offers wonderful views of the surrounding area. The northern part of Schnalstal leading into Passeiertal features a beautiful high mountain landscape. This section requires a high level of fitness. In some places you should be particularly sure-footed and not averse to heights. If you would like to be accompanied en route, there are also guided tours with experienced hiking guides available. Incidentally, the best time to hike the Merano High Mountain Trail is from the beginning of July to the end of September. You can also do the Merano High Mountain Trail in single stages.

Please always pay attention to current weather reports. Not infrequently, sections of the route are difficult or impossible to access due to the weather conditions. In case of thunderstorm warning you should stay out of the mountains. There are enough other nice things to do, such as shopping, tasting local apple strudel or relaxing in the Terme Merano with a swim or a spa treatment (https://www.merano-suedtirol.it/en/meran/betrieb/therme-meran-4609/).

If you feel like the challenge of an Alpine hut circuit hike, read the following tips concerning luggage:
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Pack a backpack and take it with you ... of course, earplugs (remember the snoring roommate), a windproof hiking jacket, robust hiking pants, long hiking socks and kick-resistant (!) hiking or trekking shoes. Also to be included – a first aid kit and a thin indoor sleeping bag.

Do not bring luxury items with you on the Merano High Mountain Trail, or too much in the way of laundry. In the mountains you do not need to change your t-shirt twice a day. Do not forget to bring cash, as in the high mountains plastic money will not work except in some unexpected exceptions. By the way, you should book overnight stays in the mountain huts early, especially during high season, and make sure to let them know if you will arrive late or not at all. Please note that the host might send out a search party, because it may be the case that something has happened to you. So, take care not to cause any unnecessary concern.

On a multi-day hike, every gram counts. Remember the freezer bag? This is probably the most useful gadget! What you usually carry in a toiletry bag, pack in a freezer bag with a zip-lock. This weighs less, closes perfectly, is leak-proof, and allows you to see everything at first glance. It is also good for dirty laundry or small items.

We wish you an unforgettable experience on the Merano High Mountain Trail! Enjoy the silence of the mountains, the seclusion of the surroundings, authentic South Tyrolean dishes in the mountain huts and inns and equally authentic innkeepers.
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