Walk4Wilderness: A Wild Adventure!

Walk4Wilderness: A Wild Adventure!

A look back at our adventure

(written by Jure Klančar)

July 3, 2017:

It all started in the afternoon when the group gathered at the Hochkar Ski Resort. We travelled from all over Austria, and it took some time for us to gather in one spot. After having some fun with getting to know each other games, we continued with a description of the route after the dinner.

Matthias Schickhofer (expert for this area and virgin forests, profi photographer) was also very keen on talking us through the current political situation concerning the wilderness area. After a short hiking safety briefing, everyone was pretty tired, and we knew that the next day would be our first big day, so we slowly headed to bed.

July 4, 2017:

It was the first day of hiking for the group and we planned a rather easy hike, but we had an important mission – make a live video stream to post on the WWF Austria Facebook page!

The weather didn’t seem to be on our side as it was cold and windy the whole time, but we certainly had the motivation to not let it ruin the hike. After approximately an hour of hiking, we stopped to do the live stream and take some photos. On that day Rosie Waits, a journalist from FM4, joined us for the hiking so it was a great chance for us to get our message out to the world.

After some initial problems with the reception, we streamed a live video which was great, and we all really liked it making it. We had a nice break while Rosie did some interviews with the planning team which she’ll use next week on the FM4 “Reality Check” show. After continuing the hike, we got some great views into the wilderness area and after almost 10 km, we reached the Schwarzalmhütte, a small pastural hut where we stayed for the night. We played some short group games after dinner, but as we had an extremely demanding hike coming the next day, we needed to go to sleep earlier than we may have wanted to.

Link to our route

July 5, 2017:

“Wake up!”  It was going to be the hardest hiking day of our project, and we had to wake up at 5am in order to leave before 6.  Starting later would mean that we might have to walk in the dark which can be a very difficult experience.

With a beautiful clear sky and great weather, we left the hut, and the view from the ridge was breathtaking. We soon entered the wilderness area, and it was amazing to see what the buzz is all about.  This is amazing wilderness!

After a few hours of hiking, it was clear that the day’s hike was too demanding for some of the participants and so we came up with an alternative plan – that the group would split and half of the group would descend from the ridge to a forest road which would get them to the next hut much faster while the other part of the group would continue up the steep ridge to the summit. After a lot of trouble finding the actual path, we started ascending to Mt. Durrenstein (1878 m).

The ascent was actually not as hard as we had expected, and we soon reached the summit with great views of the virgin forest and the ridge that we had hiked. While relaxing and enjoying the success, we also got a visit from a Chamois (mountain goat) that wasn’t bothered at all by our company on the summit. We were resting on the summit for nearly two hours and decided to take some photos and a video and then descend to the Ybbstaler hutte.

The path down to the hut was not super demanding, but we were all very relieved to sit down in the evening after almost 13 hours of hiking.  At the hut we also met the other part of the group, and the forest ranger, Reinhard, who explained a little bit more about the area where we had hiked through and were staying in.

Link to the route we did on this day.

July 6, 2017:

It was the last day of Walk4Wilderness 2017, and we had planned a more relaxed day so we started slowly around 8 AM. We had an easy hike on a path until we reached a forest road that took us to the beautiful Obersee Lake where we soon understood why it’s also called the “little Canada.” Some of us had a refreshing swim in the lake, and we all enjoyed the sense of achievement as the project was coming to an end.

We finished the last few kilometers on a forest road before reaching the Lunz Lake where we sat down and relaxed while waiting for the few drivers who went to pick up the cars in Hochkar. After a bitter goodbye, we all went our own way hoping to meet each other soon again.

Link to the route of our last day.

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