Hiking in the Austrian Alps

Kaprun, snow in August!!

After staying at a perfect caravan spot at Gasthof Friedburg, Edi used the morning for ham radio communication while I climbed to the remains of a castle. When we left we wanted a closer look at the mighty Krimmler Waterfall which we had passed when driving from Tyrol into Salzburg via the Gerlos pass.

Krimmler Waterfall

When we reached the parking, heavy rain started and we changed our plans. We headed now to Mittersill and the Centre of the National Park Hohe Tauern. The centre informs in a modern way about all the aspects of the National Park, from the formation of this mountain range, fauna and flora and the glaciers, lakes and rivers.

rainy weather

Afterwards we continued our journey to Kaprun, where we parked near the Sigmund-Thun-Klamm. The weather was still grey and rainy so we spent a nice evening cooking and reading.

Caravan Cuisine

Next morning the weather had not improved very much but we decided to go the the Klamm (or gorge) anyway. The river was roaring between the rocks and the walk through this gorge was really spectacular. At the top we reached a lake where we took a walk around. At least it wasn’t raining any more.

Sigmund-Thun-Klamm

While it was raining in lower areas in the mountains it had snowed and we wanted to go there, so we drove into the valley of Kaprun where we ended at a parking from where you can go by bus to the reservoirs of Kaprun. But they were not running that day because of the bad condition of the roads up there. As I was keen to see snow in August we drove to Zell am See instead and took the cablecar to Schmittenhöhe. Up there we had 20 cm of snow and it was very foggy.

20 cm of snow at Zell am See Schmittehhöhe

When the fog lifted a little we decided to take the hike down, which was a great experience, walking through the snow in August! We really enjoyed this walk.

Walking down from Schmittenhöhe to Zell am See
bus parking for the night @ Kaprun 

For the next day better weather was predicted so we drove up the Kaprun valley again, in the hope that we could go up the next day. We slept at the bus parking without a problem, just in the morning we were asked to use a different spot reserved for caravans. We took the first bus up to the inclined lift at Lärchenwand. During the ride up there was a technical problem and we were stopped midway – a little scary – but we reached the top finally where a second bus took us to the upper dam.

bus drive to the Kaprun dam @ 2000 meters

We were now at 2000 metres, in front of us the lake surrounded by snow-covered glaciers. We were the first to walk through the snow over the dam. It was just perfect!!

August 2018

I had planned to go for a hike up the mountains or at least along the lake, but that wasn’t possible, as everything was under 20 cm of snow. We didn’t see the path and would have needed spurs to walk safely. So we just admired the view before we headed down again.

We drove east and into another valley which belongs to the National Park – the SeidlwinkltaL This valley is said to be one of the most beautiful alpine valleys and we agree.

entering Seidlwinkltal

At the beginning we passed some farm houses, all decorated with loads of flowers in bloom, but soon drove along the river past meadows and cows deeper and deeper into the valley until we reached a parking.

From there we walked into the valley which leads to the Grossglockner mountain range in the back. We passed one Alm and a little bit later reached a second one, where we had a break before hiking back.

We stayed at the parking for the night, which is now one of my favourite places. Opposite the parking was a waterfall, it was completely dark and quiet and on the meadow behind us we could watch some deer.
The next day we decided to drive further east into Styria, where we stopped in Wörschach for a hike. We walked through the gorge and over the mountains until we reached Burg Wolkenstein, the remains of a castle overlooking the valley.

Water thundering down the Wörschach Klamm
Castle Wolkenstein, overlooking the Ennstal

Gesäuse

We continued east, passed the Gesäuse with its impressive mountains and finally reached the mining town of Eisenerz (iron ore) with the Erzberg (ore mountain) showing his red colour in the evening light.

Erzberg

We stopped at a parking up at this mountain next to the mine where big Hauly trucks worked all night. This mine is also famous for the Erzberg Rodeo, one of the hardest Enduro races.

Still on the way east and back home to Vienna we stopped at Aflenz to admire the Erdfunkstelle Aflenz.

Satellit communication hub “Erdfunkstelle Aflenz”

Close by, at the Pogusch we went for another hike along the Bründlweg, which leads around the mountain with many places to stop. We visited the mountain chapel and had a break at an historic farm for lunch.

chapel @ Bründelweg Pogusch

lunch @ Himmelreich farm

Next stop was Kindberg, where we had delicious ice-cream at a bakery before we reached the Preiner Gschaid, a pass at the Rax mountain. We spent the night there before we went for a hike up to Waxriegelhaus, past the Reisthalerhütte and back.

on the way to Waxriegelhaus

This was our last hike and we headed back to Vienna, where we will have to spend the next weeks working again.

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