In mid-May, our friend Mia took Aunt K., Rosebud and me on an amazing hike in Austria, in part of the Karwendel region. Specifically, we visited Ahornboden, which is part of a protected nature area. The valley area is called “Ahornboden” because of the maple trees (Ahornbäume) that grow there.
We had excellent weather for most of the day, which made the views that much more impressive. As you’ll see from the pictures, the views were just breath-taking.
The area is also know for its Alm, or alpine pasture. This one is called the Eng Alm. It has a little farming village which is well known for its cheese; here you can read about the Almdorf Eng, or alpine pasture town, in German. There is also a restaurant/café and inn which you can read about here.
Here’s a map of the valley and its mountain peaks:
We were very lucky that the weather was clear when we arrived. We bought some of the locally made cheese on our way to the mountain path for our lunch. Mia said that the cheese tastes the best right there in the area! She’s absolutely right about that. We had some of the cheese leftover, so I brought it home with me. It wasn’t quite as tasty as it was up in the mountains.
Anyway, I could not get over the natural beauty of the valley.
We walked along a stream bed and stopped to have our lunch. As you can see from the pictures, there was still some snow that had not yet melted. We couldn’t continue along this particular trail because the Spring water runoff had damaged a footbridge crossing the stream.
Look how clear the stream water is! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such pure, clear water in a stream before.
Since we were unable to continue on this path, we headed back down to the pasture area, and went up a steeper path. Along the way, I found a nice tree where I could nurse Rosebud. I think this is probably the greatest altitude at which I’ve nursed my baby.
We were fairly high up at this point. We even heard some yodelers on the other side from where we were standing in this picture! My sister joked that we were too kind to arrange yodeling for her, on her alpine trek. The yodeling did make our hiking adventure feel that much more authentic and memorable. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to hear real yodeling on our hike.
Soon, the weather started to change, as it so often happens in the mountains. I enjoyed seeing the clouds drift in, seeming to hug the mountains.
We hiked up a bit further. Along the way, I took some pictures of the Enzian flower (called Blue Gentiana in English). It really is this vibrant blue shade. An interesting note about Enzian – in Bavaria (and presumably, parts of Austria), you can get an alcoholic spirit that is flavored with Enzian; it’s very bitter and has a strong herbal flavor – definitely an acquired taste.
We reached this sign post; as you can see in the picture, we hiked with Rosebud in our baby carrier. We took turns carrying her; she loved being able to look around. I figure that it must have been a stimulating day for her.
We climbed just a bit higher past the post, but it was getting cloudier. We took this as a sign to head back to the valley below. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of the day, as the clouds were moving in ominously:
Once we reached the valley, we stopped in a café and enjoyed some local pastries. I enjoyed the homemade Apfelstrudel, and Mia had a dessert that looked amazing. I don’t remember what it was that she had, but it was a typical Austrian dessert. When I have a chance to ask her, I’ll make a post about it. As we walked back to the car, we noticed the gap in this maple tree trunk – of course, we had to put Rosebud there and take some pictures.
I hope you’ve enjoyed going on this virtual hiking adventures through the pictures I’ve posted. I am eager to return to this area to hike more of the paths and enjoy the natural beauty. I also can think of several family members and friends I’d like to bring to this part of the Karwendel. If you visit us, I will gladly take you – just be sure to pack your hiking boots!