Hiking in Austria Day 5: St. Martin to Weißbach

Day 5 of 6.  One of the nice things about a hotel next to a church, is that one doesn’t need an alarm clock.  Initially waking up at seven bells, we finally stumbled out at three short bells (0745) for a light breakfast before saying Auf Wiedersehen to St. Martin.

Hiking up to the Eiblkapelle. Pondering the question, which has an answer of 42…

Starting pleasantly enough on a shaded path, we reached the ascent on a road through the pastures.  Basically, today’s goal was to get to Weißbach, which isn’t really that far from St. Martin, but it wouldn’t be all that fun to walk directly there. 😉  Instead, the theme of the day was walk around the Gerhardstein “hill” (refer to map) and arrive to Weißbach through, that’s right, gorges and pastures.  So, maybe about 3/4 of the ascent (at 1260m) from St. Martin, there was a small chapel (Eiblkapelle) that had one of the best viewpoints of the trip yet.  We sat up there for a while, taking pictures and enjoying a snack before moving on.

Day 5 Map: St. Martin to Weißbach around the Gerhardstein

The peak of our day was at the snack-station Litzalm.  It was filled with hikers and bikers (of the bicycle sort) taking well-deserved breaks from wherever they came.  However, we decided to press on.  A rather steep and rocky descent (I’m glad we went in this direction) followed before we were back in a river’s valley.  Finally, our stomachs got the better of us and we stopped at the Gasthof Lohfeyer.

I never wanted to be an engineer anyway! Always, sitting at a desk, calculating this, programming that! I wanted to be… to be… a LUMBERJACK!

I had another grilled-meat-sampler-plate with a Weißbier and being a bit more aggressive about asking for the check then on our second day, we were soon off to the Seisenbergklamm.  The best gorge so far!  A few hundred meters long and maybe just less than 100 meters deep (the website has plenty of  great pictures, none of mine really developed well).  The gorge is the gateway to Weißbach and our hotel, the aptly named Landgasthof Seisenbergklamm, awaited us.  It rained again that night and we rested up for our last day of hiking which would be the return trip to Lofer.

Climbing wall at Weißbach. We enjoyed watching them.

Metrics:

  • Date completed: 21.6.12
  • Distance: 18.9km
  • Start Time: 0932
  • Start Elevation: 674m
  • Highest Elevation: 1323m @ 1256
  • End Time: 1612
Day 5 Elevation

And because I can’t get the song out of my head and because it’s the rare German version, here’s a treat:

Fortunately, we did not encounter said Holzfäller.

Hiking in Austria Day 3: Unken and Innersbachklamm

Day 3 of 6.  Day two left us very, very sore so we decided to make Day 3 an easy day.  We were supposed to take a route following the Saalach river in the direction of Bad Reichenhall and cross into Germany and come back.  Instead we followed a trail south to the Innersbachklamm (gorge).

Salaach River after heavy rains
Day 3 Map

It was a particularly nice day to visit the gorge and we had fun walking along the bridge and taking plenty of pictures.  This entire trip and especially the gorges, made me feel as if I was wandering through Zork.  Going through the gorges, I felt I would suddenly

Innersbachklamm

stumble on flood control dam #3…  Fortunately, there was enough light so I didn’t have to worry about the Grues.

After a pause at the end of the gorge, we walked through cow-infested trails into the village of Unken.  Stopping briefly for cash and some groceries (pretzels and Mezzo Mix), we walked back to the hotel.  But on our way back, I walked up a trail briefly to get a view and I serendipitously found a small cabin, with a stone lion fountain (again, very Zork-like).  We had a short pause in the lion-hut before calling it a day.

You have stumbled upon a hidden hut. Inside the hut there is a stone lion fountain. You also see a jewel-encrusted egg.

Back to the hotel for a restful afternoon.  I opened my Kindle and finally got around to finishing Life of Pi.  A decent book to read while traveling.  Although, the algae-island that turns carnivorous at night is a bit trippy…  Dinner was a delicious Austria BBQ consisting of grilled chicken, sausage, pork, beef and bacon.  Otherwise known as a Vegetarian’s Nightmare 😉

Day 3 Elevation Plot

Metrics:

  • Date completed: 19.6.12
  • Distance: 8.6km
  • Start Time: 1043
  • Start Elevation: 554m
  • Highest Elevation: 607m @ 1216
  • End Time: 1407

Hiking in Austria Day 2: Lofer to Unken

Day 2 of 6.  One of the best aspects of this trip was the “Wandern ohne Gepäck,” or hiking without luggage.  Each day when we would walk to a new hotel, we would leave our suitcases at the “old” hotel and then, magically, they would be transported to the new

Day 2 Map, Lofer to (almost) Unken

hotel!  This allowed us to hike with only a backpack and we could arrive at a hotel with our bags (and clean clothes) awaiting us.  So, we packed our luggage and left them at the reception desk of the Salzburger Hof and started our second day of hiking.

We started the day with a stroll through Lofer to the cable car to Loferer Alm.  We arrived at the lift after nine, but we had to wait to the first run until ten.  Once in the enclosed lift, we enjoyed a scenic ascent on a warm day to the first pasture (Alm).  From there, we went on foot up to Haus Gertraud (elevation 1348m).  Here we stopped for a healthy lunch: Wießbier und Apflelstrudel.  🙂  However, with the break (about an hour, mainly because I’m still not accustomed to aggressively flagging down the waitress, as is the custom in Germany/Austria) and the delay from the lift, it was already after noon and we still had quite a ways to go…

The author, having enjoyed a König Ludwig Wießbier at Haus Gertaud

Appropriately fueled for the the trek, we continued our slight ascent through alpine pastures before plunging into the literal “black forest” and the long walk to Unken.  On a

View on the way up to Loferer Alm

paved lumber-road, we descended all those many meters we climbed, which wasn’t too fun on the knees.  Brief interludes of the Schwarzbergklamm kept us entertained, but otherwise, it was a tedious walk.  Nearing Unken, my GPS, a Garmin eTrex 20, froze and unfortunately I was too tired at the time to think to take out the batteries and replace them, so unfortunately my track recording died.  Otherwise, the device was excellent save for this one incident.

A remaining pesky detail remained: we didn’t know where our hotel was 🙂  We thought it was in the center of town… At this point, I was pretty much exhausted and I probably looked as bad as I smelt.  Without a GPS, I was forced to try the old fashion way: asking for directions.  I’m not fluent in German, but I do have my Zertifikat Deutsch, so I asked a helpful looking man sipping his coffee.  Unfortunately, he had a heavy swiss accent, so all I caught was, “I’m a tourist here, … from Switzerland … ask the women.”  Seeing how he pointed in the direction of a young woman behind him, I tried again.  She was from Berlin and the Oracle women were apparently inside.  Wandering inside the nice hotel, I was quickly helped and given detailed instructions and told that I should get a new GPS. 😕 However, as detailed as they were, we were quickly lost without a map.

Fortunately, the information center was still open, we received our map and found our way to the beautiful Landhotel Schütterbad where we showered, ate a wonderful dinner with a very fancy dessert and slept very, very well.

Fancy dessert! Take that Sarah!

Metrics:

  • Date completed: 18.6.12
  • Distance: 24.3km
  • Start Time: 0932
  • Start Elevation: 633m
  • Highest Elevation: 1457m @ 1255
  • End Time: 1800 (or later… GPS went kaputt)
Day 2 Elevation Plot