A different spring
“At this time of year I am usually ski touring on the glacier, as a snowshoe guide on the high alpine pastures and for Eurohike in southern Europe exploring new hiking trips. Normally, I am continuously on Eurohike tours from March to November, with only a few stopovers at home – I live in a hotel and am somewhere different every day.
But this year turned out quite differently: travel restrictions and a warning! STAY HOME…and that could last for weeks! Oh my! Something very unusual for me! But you can also make home beautiful, especially if your home is on Lake Wolfgang in the beautiful Salzkammergut! Even if I can’t travel away at the moment, it doesn’t stop me from hiking! I do my distance travels with my finger on the map – but I can also hike at home! Fortunately walking is allowed and ‘walking’ is a pretty flexible term.
Virtual hiking from ‘Hotel Home’
Instead of the daily travel programme with breakfast and dinner in the hotel, packing suitcases, check-in and check-out, waiting in departure halls and train stations, unknown people and places etc. I am now at home. Making and cooking breakfast myself, home office and mouse cursor tours, no formalities at reception, no search for accommodation and no carrying my suitcases. Such a ‘Hotel Home’ does not have room service, but it has many advantages. Spend the night and dine in your own four walls every day, so you can really enjoy yourself! I really like this very comfortable way of travelling, so I can cross Europe every day: hike in Norway in the morning, drop by in South Tyrol at noon and take a quick trip to Tenerife in the evening – all this while sitting, very comfortable.
If it gets a bit too exhausting, I quickly switch off the screen and take three steps to the coffee machine – that’s of course not possible on a real trip! But this way I have covered thousands of kilometres with just my mouse over the past few weeks and have researched wonderful tours.
Of course, this is only a small contribution to the preparatory work, because all these regions should be inspected in person. The feet are already itching and I hope I can go on a big tour again soon.
Hiking paradise on my doorstep
Of course, I have also been out almost every day to use my time to explore the beautiful hiking trails in my home country. The Salzkammergut is a real paradise for this, which I wouldn’t even exchange for the Caribbean! Especially now, it’s so quiet and empty, without busloads of tourists and the queues we are so used to here. Finally, I can really explore my favourite hiking paths on Lake Wolfgang and on the peaceful pastures.
It is especially nice to have enough time to walk around the whole lake: the Wolfgangsee circular tour of 28km is only suitable for a really long hiking trail! You can also hike the most beautiful sections individually, as is suggested in the Eurohike tours ‘Lake Walking in the Salzkammergut’, ‘Alpine Pasture Hiking’ and ’10-Lake Trekking’.
My favourites among the hikes: the alpine pasture tour on the Sparber, the pilgrimage route over the Falkenstein and the hike to Schwarzensee and Nussensee. I have walked these hundreds of times, but each time I am amazed by all the natural beauty in such a small area!
I particularly love the mountain streams, river and lakes where a refreshing (foot) bath refreshes hot hiking legs. Hiking at home always offers me special relaxation: instead of adventures in the unknown wilderness, I experience leisurely tours at home! It is wonderful to leave with light luggage, to leave axes, crampons and emergency equipment at home. No searching, no studying maps and no unexpected surprises like route blocks or having to make detours – just ‘from home to home’ and without having to check in to Hotel Home. Fantastic!
Between computer travels and exploring at home, I devote myself to extensive equipment maintenance. I inspect and sort my approximately 500 hiking maps and approximately 50 hiking books and guides, clean the GPS devices and check headlamps. Furthermore I shake the Vinschgau pebbles and the Tuscan sand out of my Eurohike backpacks, knock Carinthian street dust and Pinzgau forest floor off my hiking boots. Then wipe away the crumbs, lint and plant parts from my suitcases and bags…all the ‘souvenirs’ that you accumulate in the course of a hiking year!
Don’t forget the ‘equipment maintenance’ of your own body! Dive deep into the bathtub as often as possible. Instead of the foamy waves of the Mediterranean, the gentle waves of your own bathroom are also fine.
Soon (hopefully) it will start again
As soon as freedom of movement is permitted, I will pack my backpack once more and enter a new Eurohike territory. First of all, in our home country of Austria. Once across the Central Alps (or by train through the tunnel) to sunny Carinthia! The Alpe Adria Trail promises to be an exciting affair: the unknown mountain range of the Kreuzeck Group and the Grossglockner south side await. Furthermore, an exploration of the Hohe Tauern in Oberpinzgau is planned. As soon as we are allowed to cross national borders again, I will head over to the white and blue hiking region of Bavaria.
Here I particularly love the Salzalpen between the Königsee and Chiemsee and the Werdenfelser Land between Munich and Garmisch. But if you want to take things a little more comfortably, take a walk on the Jakobsweg to Hohenpeissenberg, from where you can enjoy a tremendous view of the Alps with little effort. The Bavarian Alpine foothills are also worth a hike. But whether pilgrim trails in the hilly countryside or high altitude trekking on the steep paths: hiking is beautiful everywhere – even if this year instead of Madeira, it is the Mittelgebirge.
Hiking with social distance – but very close to nature
I am looking forward to this summer because it will surely be unique. Perhaps it will be a little quieter and more tranquil in the typical tourist destinations if some of the foreign guests are absent. There will be no concerts or events, but maybe we will hear the rustling of the forest, the streams and the sound of the cowbells all the louder. Even if we have to keep our distance from our fellow human beings, we can be particularly close to nature when hiking. And one thing is certain: there is enough space for all of us in the Alpine landscape – even with a safe distance!
My hiking shoes are laced up and my backpack is ready to explore new hiking regions by foot. And when I am out and about on the Wolfgangsee paths, I look forward to greeting happy Eurohike guests there again.”