Crossing the Alps South. Maria Alm – Rauris 

​Day 6. All you need in life are good friends. While relaxing at the nicely decorated Jufenalm, Robert manages to fix the corrupted map files on my GPS, I can play with the kids and am driven around in the car. A three courses dinner sets my calorie count right again and sleeping in a clean bed with own bathroom is great. As is a good breakfast and a drive back into Maria Alm.  I am feeling strong again and so happy about meeting my friends. Thank you!

Starting the trail again at around 11am, I know that it won’t be easy today with 1650m of altitude to go up to the Statzerhaus. The sun comes out as do the insects and I am already bitten a few times in the first few hours. It is going up through green farmland,  forests and luckily this time not too steep. The lookouts are great, I can often look back at Maria Alm and the Riemannhaus where I came from and in the distance I can identify a hut that should be the one I am staying at tonight (if my poor sense of navigation skills are right… In the hindsight I can say, yes for once they were!).

I didn’t take much water to safe weight and as the guidebook indicated a water source after just 3hours. The water is cristal clear and ice cold. I add some more water to my pre-soaked couscous with red pepper and enjoy the lunch break and fresh water.

Then it’s a further climb up to a beautiful stone landscape and to my first summit today, the Schwalbenwand.

Another short break and an apple, about 30 minutes of hiking and the next summit is mine, the Schönwieskopf at 1994m altitude.  From there it is slowly going up and down a few green hills. The sun is shining extremely strong and although I put on some sunscreen my skin will be burning in the evening.

Four guys are sitting in the shadow for a break and one of them asks me if I am also doing the Salzburg – Triest trail. I had attached a red ribbon – as suggested in the guidebook – to my backpack, but as I have a red backpack it’s hardly visible. It’s so great to finally meet someone else who is doing the trail,  although the guys already have their final day tomorrow as they are planning to do section hiking every year. Still, good to know there will be someone nice people to talk to in the hut tonight.  I can see the hut all the way up the hill to the left but I know it’s still hard work to go there so I already leave for the last hiking bit today in the burning sun.

The Statzerhaus has the best placement I have ever seen. You have a 360 degree view on snow covered mountains. It is stunning and I enjoy the view a while before going in. Inside the hut tenant,  an elderly, nice man who must already be around 70 years old. But also four other men, who cycled up to the hut I learn that I cycle up here as often as the can for at least 25 years now. Unfortunately they are also already a bit drunk and just too happy about a woman joining them. Their jokes are far below the belt but as I am offered a wine spritzer (and some more) plus the support from the hut tenant I manage to have some fun. We even get a yummy Kaiserschmarrn but when they finally leave I am rather happy.  The four guys who are hiking the same trail have joined as well now and we have a chat and enjoy the incredible sunset. On top of it we are the only ones staying at the hut so I am sleeping alone in the small camp while the guys get the bigger one. The perks of hiking off season! The hut is very old though as the interior and the mattresses, but enjoying this view I couldn’t care less.

Day 7. I wake up to fog and clouds.  A good cheese bread and tea for breakfast and off I go. The guys are starting a bit later… As there is supposed to be another thunderstorm in the afternoon I  rather start early. Today it is mainly going downhill and as I hike the fog is clearing and I get a better view. I am hiking down some roads to Taxenbach where I take a break and some coffee before continuing to today’s highlight, the Kitzlochklamm, an impressive gorge. The water whooshes loudly through the stones, showing so much power.

On the other end I continue to Rauris,  with a few breaks as I am rather tired. The  hot and humid weather is not easy on me. It rains for a few minutes but finally I arrive at my nice hotel just before the real rain kicks in. Time to wash myself and some clothes,  organise my stuff,  buy some food for the next days, upload my pictures and write my blog. Always plenty to do on a “town stop”. It’s raining again and again but shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow (hopefully).

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