Three days hiking in Krakau Valley in Styria

It was a birthday present for my husband, David – a three days surprise vacation in the Austrian Alps. I knew that he wanted to see dramatic mountains with no tourists around, not too far away from Vienna and especially without needing to hike up a steep mountain. It also had to be a place he did not know. After considering some options, I decided to visit Krakaudorf and booked a hotel.




A an elevation of over 3000 feet, the Krakau valley is already pretty high up in the mountains. Some very old wooden farm houses are scattered around the valley.







Most of the houses have flower boxes with abundant blooming flowers underneath the windows



A wooden barn with a crucifix and a saint underneath.


A nearby lake for recreation enhances the living quality of the local population. Although the water was cold, I had to jump into the refreshing coolness and swim beside the blooming water lilies.



Badesee with a wooden house at the end of the lake, which is a little restaurant – very typical for Austria





From there we hiked to the Günster waterfalls, the highest waterfalls in Styria. The area was packed with tourists, especially tourists from the Netherlands. We really could see that tourists shifted their preference from towns to nature.




Trail beside the Badesee




Günster Waterfalls




The canyon walkway was secured by wooden stairs and walkways


I continued my hike farther up the mountain and was rewarded by vibrant blooming flowers and deep green patches of moss.















The next day we drove up to the Etrachsee, parked our car at the Haswahütte and continued to hike up the path toward the Unteren Wildenkarsee (elevation about 6000 feet). After a while, David decided to return to the lower lake and I continued. I hiked up the mountain with larch and spruce trees and the ground covered by needles and moss – the ideal growing condition for chanterelles. The area was full of these mushrooms.









The yellow sign says :  Feel into the land around you –  Source of vitality!








The moss patched roof used as a storage place for garden tools on the barn beside the Haswahütte





The high alpine meadows are a paradise for cows




Mother and son




Start of the way up to the Unteren Wildenkarsee



It was tempting to pick the chanterelles, but I had nothing to put them into. We decided to come back the next day.




This beautiful fly agaric mushroom is poisonous. There were many more mushrooms all around, most of them I did not know.




A thunderstorm was approaching when I arrived at the cabin Rudolf-Schober Hütte.




I ordered a delicious local cake with coffee and still could sit outside



My goal was to reach the next lake before the rain – which was possible. I was sad that I did not have time to jump into the ice cold water. David was waiting for me.



Alpine lake




Valley with Etrachsee



Although thunder was all around me when I walked down, it only started to rain when I arrived at the car – I was lucky!




Morning view from the balcony of our room after the night rain


It rained all through the night and stopped in the morning – the perfect day for collecting chanterelles. There was an abundance of mushrooms on the forest ground – I never in my life have seen so many in one place. We picked about 8 pounds in about 2 hours and needed the whole next day to clean them (one should not use water). It was worth it. Now I have many chanterelles in my freezer for delicious vegetarian meals.



David and I cleaning chanterelles our the balcony in Vienna







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. You pick the most gorgeous places to hike. I wish I could be there with you. We are having a big forest fire just outside of Santa Fe. The air is full of smoke and it’s very hot. This too shall pass. I’m dreaming of the Alps. Love, Erica.

    • I am so sorry to hear that the forest fires are also in New Mexico – and so close to Santa Fe! How terrible! So sad that the air is filled with smoke – Santa Fe is normally a place of brilliant light and crisp air. I hope that you will come to the Alps one time, maybe back to Switzerland? It would be great to hike together! Love, Traude


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