Discovery Intern: Up in the Mountains
Sometimes the shortcut isn’t necesarily the best choice…
While roaming Germany with Discovery Australia & NZ, my journey took me from Berlin to Munich, and then all the way to Ettal. Being so far to the south, a quick hop across the border to Austria was just too tempting. Before long, we were checking into an Austrian hotel with the most incredible view! There were mountains everywhere, on every side. Some closer, some in the distance, they really created a full panorama! I soon realised I couldn’t visit Austria without taking the time to get out to one of the incredible alpine walks the country has to offer. It might sound a bit ambitious, but the destination I chose was Seebensee. A lake way up high in the Erwhald area of Austria, and like most places in the area, it was completely surrounded by mountains. The idea sounded incredible, and the journey definitely was!
Walking back down didn’t happen for a while. I waited till the glow disappeared and the stars began to come out.
The temperature dropped dramatically during this time, and although I was prepared for it, the change in degrees was definitely nippier than I considered comfortable. I still waited for the sky to grow completely dark, and with virtually zero light-pollution in the area the milky way was clearly visible with the naked eye.
Wow! Ok I was happy with the photos I had, so time to head back to the carpark at Erwhald… but uh, which way? The cable car didn’t run at night, and hiking back the way I had come would take 5 hours. Luckily, some friends I met at Eibsee a few days earlier had advised of a route that took only 2 hours, going directly down the hill to the carpark below. I had been given a rough sketch of where to find the trail entrance, and figured if I stuck to the main paths, it would turn up eventually. Turns out, finding trail markers and signs isn’t so easy with only a headlight to provide visibility. Unfortunately, the trail I decided to follow ended up being the wrong one. In fact, after finding anchored carabiners screwed into the side of the rock face, I realised I was actually trying to navigate my way down on a full outdoor abseil course. BIG nope! In the end, I had to walk all the way back to the main track, and then continue the 5 hour hike I should have followed in the first place.
Pro tip, and something I am reminded of on numerous adventures, 90% of the time, sticking to the original patch that you know will be faster than taking any shortcuts you don’t know.
Aside from a mild scare from a couple of goats I encountered in the dark (hey, someone told me there were wolves in the area), I reached the carpark safe and sound 10 hours after first setting out. What an adventure! Austria definitely provided some incredible memories, and I’d definitely recommend the hike to Seebensee if you’re in the area and want to release a bit of energy. One day I’d love to go back and spend a bit more time there, but for now that’s the end of my Austria story. On to the next adventure!
– Kaleb Anderson