Summer in the Austrian Alps

The day after school was out for the summer, we packed our bags and were off to Austria for a week of hiking in the Alps. Since we had rented a car, we took the scenic route. We drove over passes, pulled over to the side of the road to photograph lakes and rivers, stopped in Italy for a gelato, drove past the church tower which gives me the creeps and into Austria.

After spending the night with our friends above Innsbruck, we continued our journey over another pass and to Mittersill, just outside the Hohe Tauern National Park. We stopped for lunch on a lake and later hiked up along Europe’s highest waterfall, the Krimmel Waterfalls.

The water pounded over the rocks and the mist flew towards us, cooling our faces.

We checked into our castle for the week and sitting at our table for dinner, we looked out over the mountains and let out a long breath. We had arrived! Our hotel was perfect in every way, and I’ll be devoting an entire post to it.

There were so many hiking possibilities, we hardly knew where to start! So we picked a trail in the Felbertauern valley we saw into from the hotel. The trail head was at a lovely little lake. From there we took the “steep” trail up to the St. Pöltner Hütte, right along the electrical towers. They hummed when we finally reached the hut, I’m sure my hair was standing on end! We walked back along the flatter, but longer trail.

Our next hike was with our friends from Innsbruck and we decided to meet halfway. It was the only day that was overcast, and only until the early afternoon. We met at the Wilder Kaiser, an amazing group of mountains and hiked up to the Gruttenhütte. After the hike, we drove to the Hintersteiner See.

Our next hike took us to the Kürsinger Hütte in the Obersulzbach valley. Again, we hiked up one way, and came down the back. To the hut, we hiked along the glacier trail in the valley and then climbed the fixed rope route (via ferrata) to the hut. The views were amazing, but also very sad. It is extremely obvious where global warming is leading us. The glaciers are disappearing quicker than fast and when the snow is gone, the alps will be one pile of rocks and not the beautiful mountains they are now. On our way down, we hiked along the the side of the valley.

After all the hiking, we decided to play tourist for the day and drove along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. The Grossglockner is Austria’s highest mountain at 3798 m, and this road was built specifically as a tourist road from 1930 to 1935. The views are spectacular and we certainly weren’t the only ones there.

The Grossglockner decided to act like the Matterhorn and hide itself behind a cloud. A cloud that, just like at the Matterhorn, makes you think that it’s just about to go away and show you the mountain in all it’s glory. Below the Grossglockner (also in first photo) is the Pasterzengletscher. Do we need to talk about global warming again?

We walked along the side of the moraine, hoping the Grossglockner would show itself and eating our picnic lunch with a view of the mountains.

We went to the special exhibit on cars at the museum, keeping an eye on the Grossglockner, but he just didn’t want to show himself. It was getting late, so we decided it was time to head back.

Our last day was spent hiking up around the dams above Kaprun. The last day of vacation is always a bit strange. You know the carefree time is coming to an end and you wonder what to do on that last day.

On our drive back, we stopped a few times to catch a few more pretty sights before arriving at home. It was a lovely trip, with plenty more to see.

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