Hiking trail Austria
Going on a hiking trail with teenagers, adventure near the highest mountain of austria!
'Hiking is super fun!!!' My teenagers usually roll their eyes when I try to persuade them once again to go out into nature. Teens just happen to be a tricky audience for just about any activity. So I didn't know what to expect when I announced with as much enthusiasm as I possibly could: "we are going to do a 5 day hiking trail in Austria!". Their initial reaction was a minor miracle to me: 'Yes, really? And sleeping in mountain huts? Cool!!!'
I chose a 5-day trail near the Großglocker in the Hohe Tauern nature reserve. Not only the 'highest mountain in Austria' and the nature reserve determined our choice, the hikes themselves were also quite tough according to the SNP website, because the last thing I wanted were two adolescents who were bored! After a delicious dinner, where we met a Belgian family that had already done many hikes and got us lots of tips, and a very comfortable night in the Glocknerblick Arnig hotel in Kals, we were ready for the real thing.
The bus took us to the starting point and then it was up to us. Under a bright summer sun, we began the first climb. It took each of us a while to find the right pace, but the different roles in our tribe were fastly determined: Bart wanted to get to the top quickly, Ruben turned out to be a real mountain goat, hopping uphill with a heavy backpack as if it was all a piece of cake, and Lore and I enjoyed the scenery, were able to catch up and took regular breaks. We had received all the necessary info from SNP Natuurreizen, from packing guidelines and a detailed description of the 5 days to the coordinates of the mountain huts. But especially the SNP gps app, which also works offline, was of gold value for us: no doubts about which path to follow at a junction and we could also estimate the duration of the trip through the app so we never got into trouble if we took a longer break.
The nights in the mountain huts were quite an adventure. The good food, the friendliness, the sense of community among the hikers, the nice encounters ... it exceeded our expectations! The nights in the mountain huts are on a breakfast-dinner formula. We thought we would get a decent but rather basic meal, but it was so much more: soup, salads, cheese platter, several main dishes to choose from and a dessert buffet. In the evening we played board games in the hut and discussed the day in detail, everyone seemed interested in our story and we also enjoyed listening to the experiences of the others. The second mountain hut turned out to be the last stop for the climbers of the Großglocker. It was impressive to see: all the equipment laid out in the evening, a small (nervous) group receiving final instructions from an instructor, ... here we felt like tourists among the 'real' people, but what a special experience! The first night we had a room for four, with the most beautiful view, the second night we had 10 extra roommates. This night I found quite exciting. Kids who 'have' to keep quiet so as not to disturb the sleep of the others unfortunately get the slack easily, clambering in and out of the bunk beds was not always smooth either and yes, earplugs are a must in a dorm 😊! Although we didn't really sleep much because of the altitude, every morning we felt fresh and ready to start the next hiking day after a hearty breakfast.
The days flew by and suddenly there was already the last hiking day... We started with a euphoric feeling 'we are going to succeed, we are going to finish the whole hike!'. Even though I found the descent back to the valley quite challenging with occasional ropes to hold on to and a steep edge next to us the pace and atmosphere was great: there was hopping, walking, singing. Once back in the valley, we could take the bus back to Kals for a few miles, but we agreed: we walked the whole trail without taking shortcuts, so we'll take those last few kilometers too! The satisfaction of plopping down in a comfortable hotel bed a few hours later after a hot shower was immense. Nature also gave us a nod: after three days of hiking under a bright sun, half an hour after the end of our hike it started raining cats and dogs!
What we will remember from this trip is how wonderful it is to really get away from it all, the beautiful nature (including ibexes, marmots and lots of cows), the encounters, the friendly atmosphere among hikers ... and teenagers can really do without screens and WiFi for a few days!
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Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.
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