Hiking in the Hohe Tauern and Reaching my Limit (part 3)

We had dropped the plan to continue our hike to the Reißeckhütte and decided to hike down into the valley on a forest road. In the nearest village of Koschach, we would meet my husband, David.




We started our descent after a late and cosy breakfast. It was raining heavily. Before we left, the Hüttenwirt asked us to tell him about the condition of the road after arriving in Koschach. We both thought that he might be concerned about our safety and wanted to make sure that nothing happened to us – but why? On the map, there was a nice, big line indicating the road and we felt safe.




By wearing all our rain gear and keeping dry, we both enjoyed the mystical atmosphere.




When we reached the timberline, heavy mist leaned down into the tall larch and fir trees.




Thunder was still roaring above our heads and we passed tall and single trees as quickly as possible.




Water seemed to rush down the mountain from everywhere, finding the most unusual ways.




Many of these vibrant water flows crossed the road and we waded through the current without being pushed away.





Sometimes large rocks fell on the road and we kept away from the mountain side in order not to be hit.





Using a stick to find out the depth of the water was very helpful





Mosses and grass where shining in vibrant green





The air was full of the sound of dripping, roaring, splashing and cascading water. It seemed that the earth was showing us its incredible powerful force of life.





Elegant and calm, the trunk of a dead tree was resting beside the road




From the opposite mountain, thunderous waterfalls rushed down into the valley. This area is also called the “land of a thousand waters”. Now I see why.




The first peek through the foliage into the valley below made us worry – how will we cross this river? Hopefully, there will be a bridge!




When we arrived at the river in the valley, there was no bridge! Brown coloured water with tumbling boulders and tree trunks flooded the road and there was no way we ever could cross this water! However, we were not alone! When Anna-Sophie arrived at the crossing, a car with 4 people showed up on the opposite side. They seemed to discuss something. After awhile, they tried to communicate with us. Through the roar of the water, I just heard “Wait!” Then they left. One person also formed a triangle with his hands – there was a wooden cabin nearby. We should wait under the roof of the cabin.






We waited for two hours. Will they come back? Will they get help? How could we help ourself? Anna-Sophie checked the map looking for a way to cross the river. I was checking out the little animal shack for a possible stay overnight.




A little wooden cabin for animals which could have served as a place to sleep



Despite the strong feel of not knowing, we were in awe of the beauty of the landscape. At one point, the opposite mountain seemed to be surrounded by flames of fog and mist.





In the meadow beside the wooden cabin, I discovered a lot of strawberry leaves. It immediately reminded me of a parable Buddha once told:






A man travelled across a field and encountered a tiger chasing after him. He found rescue on a vine hanging down from a cliff and swung himself over. Rescued from this tiger, he suddenly saw another tiger down below, waiting to eat him. 

In addition, the vine which gave him safety was gnawed by a white and black mouse. In the moment he realised it, he also saw a delicious strawberry in front of him. Holding on to the vine with one hand, he used the other hand to pick the strawberry – Ahhhh!





After two hours, the 4 wheel drive Suzuki came back. They threw a stick with a written message to our side, saying that the mountain rescue team was informed and the Hüttenwirt is on the way down the mountain. In the meantime, the water had receded and we could go into the river and remove a huge rock and the tree trunk. They tried again to cross the river and this time they were successful. The water reached to the upper level of the tires.





As it turned out, the Hüttenwirt had called his sons, David and Jeremy, to drive up the valley and look for us. They specifically came to help us. The mountain rescue team never arrived – they were needed in many other areas.




Just before we were rescued, a rainbow showed up in the east. it was a fantastic ending for our dangerous, but gorgeous hike. We were extremely grateful for the courageous actions of David and Jeremy.











Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. I like the rainbow picture and I am intrigued you can find abandoned buildings in the Alps. I just assumed Europe was super crowded.

    • When you hike in the Alps, there are most of the time no roads and on high meadows few wooden alpine cabins built for the dairy farmer. The cabins are now often used by private owners for recreation and locked. However, the animal shacks are open (normally, nobody would like to sleep there). Not every cabin has an animal shack, however.


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