23 Jun Hiking as your own little therapy session!
A few years ago I realized that everyone was hiking all the time, I guess this hadn’t been much of a trend until social media kicked in and everyone shared their favorite hiking pictures which made me realize that I did want to see all of those places as well.
Pictures are beautiful but same as with traveling I have the need to go to the actual place and see it with my own eyes. I have always been an explorer that way. Soon enough I found a few people at work that wanted to go on adventures with me and we started hiking around Austria’s alps.
If you are a beginner do some research, I feel like I say that in every blog post, but that’s the truth. Research your hiking routes first. How long are they? How is the condition of the route? What does your actual fitness level need to be? You can try and just go for it but believe me its not always the best idea.
I have already been a very good hiker by that time, but I did not do my research when traveling to beautiful Tirol in Austria for a weekend hiking trip. We started hiking in the morning and soon we realized what we thought was halfway through, was not halfway through at all. Getting to a beautiful lake in the middle of the hike was amazing but looking up the peak, it was nowhere near us. As driven as I am, I couldn’t give up and needed to hike the peak, I mean what’s a hike without a peak, so we kept going. I am sure it took us, we had already hiked for a couple of hours, another hour if not 2. By the time we got to the top we realized that not only our water supply started running low but that we actually hiked up to 3,000km and the air was getting thinner. By the time we made it to the top I was already super exhausted, and we hadn’t even started going back down yet. Going down believe it or not took another 3 hours. The view was stunning, wouldn’t want to miss it for the world but all this to say, if I was better prepared I would have brought more water, I would have known that the air would be thin at the top, I would have brought more snacks, I would have put sunscreen on, worst sunburn of my life and I would have mentally prepared myself for the hike down as well. We started at 8 am and barely made it back to dinner. Not knowing can be dangerous if weather conditions change and you don’t know how far you still have to go or you loose time and end up in the darkness. So, make sure you do your research.
For beginners I would recommend low to moderate hikes. In Austria enjoy a hike up Bleckwand, you can actually drive half way up and still have roughly an hour, hour and a half hike in front of you but then you get to the top and have stunning views that will motivate you to keep going. Another good hike for beginners is in Austria’s Tiefbrunnau, drive up to the parking lot, or hike from the bottom. You can do the full summit or just do half. Halfway in you have a nice little hut where you can grab some food enjoy stunning views and if you feel like it and want to keep going hike up the second part for a 360 view. The second part is rather steep but there is a way around it going up the regular gravel road. All in all, it will probably take you a couple of hours to get to the top. Super beautiful if you want to enjoy the sunset as well as stunning views of the Wolfgangsee.
Once you become a moderate hiker..
As a next challenge and to see how you are doing with a little more moderate hikes, try Almkogel in Austria. It’s a little steeper and involves quite some steps at the top. You can reach the top in about 1 hour and a half with stunning views over Austria’s Mondsee.
To test if you are afraid of heights, and if you slightly are then I do not recommend this one, go to Schober. It’s a perfect after work hike, moderate with lots and lots of steps, you will get your heart rate up for sure, with a stunning 360 view of the Fuschlsee and Mondsee, Attersee and even Wolfgangsee. It’s a super popular hike all times of the day. Also, super popular to enjoy a sun downer, make sure to bring your headlamp for the way down.
Once you are a pro..
Go check out Schafberg as one of the biggest mountains in that area. Its going to be a day hike so bring snacks, enough water and proper shoe equipment. There are many different ways up but if you are not afraid of heights I highly recommend starting at Kreuzstein going up to Eisenau, you can enjoy some snacks there if you want (there is a restaurant) and then keep on hiking up to the top via the “Himmelspforte”. Beautiful views over Mondsee all the way up and at the top a 360 panoramic view of the alps and surrounding lake areas. If you do not want to take the hike down there is a train that will take you back down, you need to remember to park one car next to the train station though, the starting point and train exit point are quite far apart, its actually a 30 minute drive. I do therefore recommend you hike back down via Sankt Gilgen where you will also need to park one car on that side but its not as far as the train exit. Just follow half of the train tracks down. All in all, this is a moderate to hard hike depending on the route you take, and it will probably take you most of the day. Roundtrip 4 hours for sure!
The more you hike the more you will enjoy it as with every hike it will be a little easier. You are starting to know what your limits are, what the best hikes for you are, what your favorite hikes might be and then after a while you will enjoy it as much that you will plan weekend trips and just hike for days, at least that’s what happened to me.
Weekend trip tips..
Two of my most favorite hikes to date are the 3 Zinnen in the Dolomites and Fieberbrunn’s Wildseeloderhaus. Both hikes are definitely worth the trip and I am sure you saw many many pictures on those before.
The 3 Zinnen hike is a one-day hike, it will take you all day, it’s about a 3-hour summit to the top and then the way back down. That is the longer route, but it is worth taking as its less crowded and, on the way, up already stunning views of the Alps. The majestic mountains are indescribable, the view when you get up there and see those huge mountains sitting there in its glory surrounded by nothing then more and more mountains in every direction. Nothing green as you are that high up, just stones and stone formations everywhere. I will never forget and will definitely return one day to how beautiful this hike was all the way through. This is definitely not a beginner’s hike so be sure to prepare yourself for the hike, it is long, and bring enough water and proper hiking boots. Also, there is no shade so be cautious of that in the summer.
Fieberbrunn’s Wildseeloderhaus is also on top of the list of my most favorite hiking weekend trips. This is a 2-day hike, even 3 if you want to spend the time. It’s also about a 3 hour hike up to the “Wildseeloderhaus”. Make sure to book in advance and make reservations it gets crowded; however, you want to sleep there. Its this cute little house right at the edge of a cliff surrounded by a beautiful mountain range located by a lake. When you hike up you start seeing the house and you think oh, I am at the summit, but you don’t realize that there is so much more behind this house that is still hidden. Best you summit check in drop your things and then maybe do another smaller hike if you still have energy. You can hike up either side of that mountains behind the lake. Either side will take you another hour maybe hour and a half depending on how fast you hike. I would suggest you hike up the mountain to the right of the house first, call it a night after or enjoy the lake with a nice cold drink, go to bed early and wake up before sunset. Hike up the “Henne” to the left before sunrise and make sure you get there on time. Once you are up there you have an amazing view of the sunrise, the mountain range below, if you are lucky the clouds are still sitting in there, it just looks like a cozy comfortable bed that you want to lie in and enjoy the sunrise. Sit there and just enjoy this view, it’s unbelievable and will take your breath away.
We descended on the same day back all the way down after we had breakfast and got home late that evening.
It was a perfect weekend, and super exhausting, but well worth it.
Hiking overall has become my own little therapy session. With every hike I know it might be difficult or extremely difficult or sometimes easy, but I do it anyway because I know how I feel afterwards and how rewarded I feel when I get to the top. It makes me feel like I can do anything in the world if I work hard enough and, in the end, there is this tiny little reward that makes all the exhaustion, leg or knee or back pains worth it. The part when you summit and look at the panoramic views, the mountains, the lakes, the height, how free you feel when you look out there and how small at the same time. You alone made it up there without any help, carrying I don’t know how much gear or weight on your shoulders. You probably complained a little in the middle, no worries everyone does, but you still made it. You sit there and look out there and eat something and forget all those little problems that follow you around, the fresh air helps you breath and I don’t know what it is, every time I decent and get into my car I feel a little lighter as if I left a little something that I had sitting on my shoulders up there!