And Heaven Smiles With Wonder...
If you want to continue hiking with me through the Rotmoos valley, kindly follow me into the next tabblo.
And Heaven smiles with wonder
When looking down on Earth,
Who spreads its magic beauty
below the sun and stars.
And Heaven smiles with wonder
On lakes green, blue and black,
On forests smelling of pine sap
On bees in flower beds.
And Heaven becomes quiet with wonder
Over mountain ranges high,
Whose snowy peaks
And whispering winds
are singing a song for the sky.
And Earth whispers to Heaven:
I thank Thee my blessed friend
For the shade of your clouds
And the warmth of your light
And the rain drops that feed my lands.
- Anke Peters -
A weekend in Tirol, chapter 7
Monday, 28 September 2009
My landlady had loaned me a book about hiking the alpes of the Ötztal the night before, and I had poured over it for hours, looking at photos, reading tour details, waying the tour lengths and difficulties against each other and finally decided that one picture looked especially enticing. Moreover the route seemed to be not too craving.
It was 7:30 am and still dark when I entered the bus together with a bunch of teenagers on their way to the central school in Längenfeld. At one stop or another the bus would also pick up and drop off a lone hiker, while it was wounding its way up to Obergurgl for the following  hour. Obergurgl was the last village before the Italian border, 1907 metres above sea level.
When we reached the skiing resort at about 8:30 am I was glad to see that the tourist information was open though it was off-season and quite early. A friendly young lady described the way to the trail head for me and off I went past the church, past a hotel, past a cow pasture and up into the mountains. My goal were the Gaisberg valley and the Rothmoos valley in the UNESCO Biosphere park "Gurgler Kamm" (ridge of Gurgl), the Austrian side of the border mountains. As it seemed I had made a lucky choice, for while the clouds were hanging thick over the western mountains bordering the Gurgler valley, I was walking straight into sunshine.
The Alpes at 9:00 am
I followed the dirt track past the first cable car station below the mountain Hohe Mut and then took the left hand turn, where the road was winding upwards along the northern side of the mountain. When I reached a creek I started to search for the start point of the hiking trail, but all I could see was a concrete wall and small building. But the trail head should be here on the right side of the creek...I searched along the wall. Thinking, if I had missed it I could still stay along the creek and would meet the trail sooner or later, I climbed the end of the wall, and - oh - there it was. A small unobstrusive litte footpath wound its way along the mountain side above the creek. It took only a few steps realise that all was quiet but for the gurgling of the water below me and the singing of some birds. The air tasted clearer than any mineral water unspoiled by dust or any sort of polution. Before me the Gaisberg valley opened in brownred autumn colours with peaks at its far end that were over 3000 metres high and a glacier running down their slopes - the Gaisbergferner. Ferner is the Austrian word for glacier.
Gaisbergferner and Liebener Spitze (3389 m)
Gaisbergferner, Gaisbergjoch (3233 m), Liebener Spitze (3389 m) with Kirchenkogel (3280 m) infront of it.
Gaisbergjoch (= Gaisberg saddle) and Liebener Spitze
If you look closely you can see the trail climbing up the ridge on the left side of the photo.
The look backwards onto the mountains west of the Gurgler valley
The path running along the creek
Immergrünes Felsenblümchen - Draba aizoides
Hochfirst = Monte Principe (3403 m), Gaisbergferner, Gaisbergjoch, Liebener Spitze, Kirchenkogel
Here you can get an impression, how far the glacier has already retreated due to the global warming. In front you see the moraine, while the glacier lays quite a way backwards.
The weather and landscape was so beautyful I took my time walking and looking either at the awesome mountains or on the floor for the precious tiny autumn flora. The whistling of marmots was echoing in the valley I looked around but couldn't see anything but than my eyes caught movements on the ground. The marmots rushed over the weeds so quickly that photos I have taken can only account as memories but not of photographic brilliance.
Granatenkogel = Monte del Granat (3302 m), Hochfirstferner, Hochfirst, Gaisbbergferner, Gaisbergjoch and in front the desertlike remains of the retreating glacier
Hochfirstferner, Hochfirst = Monte Prinipe (3403 m)
I passed a couple of marmot dens, but their inhabitants sunbathed somewhere else.
The cable car station on the mountain Hohe Mut (2553 m). I was nearly up the ridge.
"Yes I did it". I reached the ridge. Half the way was done. The whole circle was supposed to take four or five hours, but it was already lunchtime. Well, who cared! The weather was, the scenery magnificent and the little flowers along the way a delight for the eye. There was no reason to rush. I didn't want to be elsewhere. This was my conception of paradise. What would the second half of the hike have to offer. This could hardly be topped....or so I thought!
I could hardly get enough of photographing this view!
... or this, with the clouds finally lifting!
This was a perfect spot for a picknick offering a magnificent view over both the Gaisberg- and the Rotmoos valley = (Red Moss valley) and backwards of the mountain Hohe Mut and the mountain ridge behind it. Though it was late September the sun was warm and there was hardly any breeze of wind to be felt. High time to sit down and give the legs a well earned break.
Debdog said at 10:44 nachm. on Feb 6, 2010:
  wow Anke..this is HEAVEN on the earth, so untouched by man, only the hands of a greater being than ourselves. :) I so enjoy following you to the ends of your part of the world :)x Deb

the sights are spectacular, and the blue of the Enzian flower i have never seen :)
YorkJodi said at 10:56 nachm. on Feb 6, 2010:
  I love your poem... Love the house with 1/2 timbers & paintings... and I enjoyed your trek through the beautiful hills... another lovely tabblo... Thanks for the trip...
Mrsfabulous said at 11:22 nachm. on Feb 6, 2010:
  Somehow looking at your photos and reading your narrative about your experience reminds me of a magazine... something with "National" and "Geographic" in it :)
Abking said at 11:22 nachm. on Feb 6, 2010:
  Great photos of your hike. I'd like to walk there!
Mirella said at 3:11 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Che meraviglia ! A song of joy and thanksgiving comes out of my heart before these wonders. The Creator and his Creation..........It must have been a special experience for you, even if not the first. I'm waiting for some more photos of this part of our mountains (not very far from my country) Ciao
Wildthing said at 3:16 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Awesome scenery, Anke. You have taken some beautiful photographs.
Moorlerche said at 5:38 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Thank you Debbie, Jodi, Myles, Allan, Mirella and Mike. I should be dead tired by now, for having worked on the sequel till 5 am and than only been taking a short nap. But hiking through these photos is nearly as exhilarating as the walk itself. This trail truly deserves the rating "UNFORGETTABLE".
Moabjeeper said at 6:02 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  A great accounting of your trek with wonderful photos.Love the heffer.
Neusinha.Gedoz said at 6:17 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Anke returned with its beautiful tables. Your work is magnificent. Can not look at your photos. Is a full tour. Thank you.
OscarDaniel said at 6:36 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Great tour Anke thanks!!
RosaneMar said at 7:12 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Beautiful pictures, Anke. Each tabblo yours is quite a journey. I loved to travel, thank you.
DanMan said at 7:52 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
Liliana said at 8:32 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Of course I will follow you in your next Tabblo!!! This is wonderful. I feel I was there... Thanks for sharing! Tirol is Heaven!!
Lange said at 8:43 vorm. on Feb 7, 2010:
FoguinhoFoto said at 1:49 nachm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Beautiful photos.
Chilla said at 2:34 nachm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Breathtaking views!! Thank you so much Anke for taking us on these wonderful treks!
Loes said at 4:29 nachm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Amazing shots Anke!
Moorlerche said at 4:42 nachm. on Feb 7, 2010:
  Thank you Robert, Dan, Celia and Loes, obrigado y gracias to the South American commenters :-) The next one is still "under constraction". Which means work is lying down and I take break to enjoy other peoples work and maybe shut the computer down now to take up reading a mystery now. I am still waiting for them to fish the body out of the British waters. Take care! I hope to walk again somewhen after work during this week.
Erich said at 5:32 vorm. on Feb 8, 2010:
  Die Alpen sind einfach genial....freue mich jetzt schon auf das nächste Wiedersehen. Ein wundervolles Tabblo!!
Lageho said at 6:30 vorm. on Feb 8, 2010:
  Underbara naturscenerier. Det verkar vara värt att besöka Tyrolen.
Mariel69 said at 10:37 vorm. on Feb 8, 2010:
  Wow, vad en otrolig upplevelse =)
Chaitiamma said at 10:51 vorm. on Feb 8, 2010:
  Awesone scene !!! Thanks for the tour !!!
Painterlaura said at 9:49 nachm. on Feb 8, 2010:
  I saw the other one first but the feeling is the same for this. Wondeful!
Swedfinn said at 2:57 vorm. on Feb 17, 2010:
  Härliga bilder Anke! Medicin för både kropp och själ!