Vacation in the Austrian Alps

We went to the Lienzer Dolomites, south of Lienz. I had found a hut online, the Temlhütte, which promised to be fairly remote. It was on the edge of a traditional mountain pasture called Unholdenalm, an alp where farmers from the valley drive their cows in the summer months. The alp is operated by a group of farmers from the village below who have cows, sheep and goats up there. Traditionally, dairymen and -women would stay with the cows and produce cheese and butter. This tradition stopped on the Unholdenalm when the old couple upholding it became too old and sick to carry on. Today there are cows with their calves but no milking and no dairy production, which would simply not be profitable.

There is a herdsman though looking after the cows, there is a mountain inn, and a handful of huts are rented to tourists like us. So it is not really lonely. The tourists live in the more stable huts that originally were built as accomodation for the dairy people. Many of the huts are more than 200 years old. The alp is accessible over a gravel road which limits the number of people who come up there and probably selects for a certain ruggedness.

As you can see in he following pictures, the landscape and the views are spectacular. I have never been in the Alps before in summer and was blown away.

Here is a google Earth file with the locations on the mountain.
Looking out of the door. First thing in the morning,
Michelle and I would sit there with a cup of coffee
and marvel at the view.
Turned around 180 degrees
Yes, Michelle brought her cast iron pan, and did not regret it.
Yes, we brought Robin's keyboard which is a bit smaller than it looks here.
The wood burning stove in the foreground was the actual stove.
The surface in the background with our stuff in it and the flue above
is an open fireplace which was used to cook milk
for cheese making. We didn't use it even though it is functional.
The entrance to the bathroom. We didn't even know
we had a warm shower and a water closet!
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The firewood shed
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Our hut in the foreground and the hut next to it,
with the wood shed inbetween, and the surroundings
Inviting, isn't it? We walked up that valley a couple of times.
An evening hike to the snowfields
visible in the image before
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Hike to the Border Stone

We went on a modest and easy hike to the border stone between Tirol and Kärnten which still delivered great vistas. The fence was pushed over from the snow masses they had there in winter — 12 feet of snow which delivers enormous forces when it shifts. Our host was up almost every day repairing fences that had been destroyed.
The border stone ("T" and "K")
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That's a nice reward :-)
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A hike to the mountain above the meadow, aptly named "Wiesenspitze" (Meadow Peak).
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A hut elsewhere on the alp
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Baked in a wood burning oven!
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Here and in the next picture
The rays of light converge away from the sun;
usually they don't extend far enough in that
direction that the perspective can do its job
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After three days, the cows came up from the valley.
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Another ascent to Wiesenspitz and the sheep
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Glowing clowds at night, past 10 p.m.
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Fun with the airplanes
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The glider in its natural habitat.
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Spontaneous Ascent of Hochstadel

That afternoon we went for a walk up our "house valley". The first picture here is a look back; you can see our hut left below the center. We started past 3 p.m. I wanted to show Michelle the basin that we look down into in the second picture. From there, it should be possible to connect to the official trail that leads up to Hochstadel, at 2680m/8860 ft. We wanted to see whether that was a possible route and take a look at the trail. The alp was at 1800m, a 900m/3000ft difference in altitude. We got to the basin alright, found the trail and started hiking up. It was a bit strenuous but well maintained and walkable. We decided to see how far we get. At some point Michelle thought it would be to strenuous to climb on, at least as much because of the looming descent as because of the ascent. Robin and I climbed on and at some point wanted to try and reach the summit. It is light until 10 p.m. at this timeof year, and you can still see until 10.30 or 11 p.m. or so, so we weren't afraid to get in the dark. The last hour would be down the valley which we by now knew well, with no opportunity to get lost. In the end, we reached the summit at 8 p.m. and were back down by 10.
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The basin at the top of the "house valley"
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That's not a sheep's paw.
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Here, we had left Michelle behind
You can see the trail marking on the rock in the foreground
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In the distance, the cross.
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There is another trail down through more rugged terrain.
You can see the trail and a steel cable as handhold
in the lower center of the image, on the sunlit rock.
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Almost home from the summit!
This watering place was of course horizontal
but surely didn't look like it when you were standing
next to it on the steep slope.
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The sheep had been taken off the mountain
because a wolf was roaming the area, killing sheep.
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The airplane had flown into a tree. Rescue!
We tied a rock to a string that was attached to the stick
and I managed to throw it over the branch
that was holding the airplane.
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A thunderstorm with violent gusts
toppled over our fairly massive table
and dragged it a few inches.
A video of a lightning during the same storm.
Yes, the first 12 seconds are indeed pitch black.
I found it funny how the cows all looked at me.
No idea why.
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My holiday read
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A Hike To a Little Waterfall

Robin and I had discovered this waterfall the other day and wanted to take Michelle there. Across meadows full of flowers, through lush forests and with great vistas the trail wound around the mountain.
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A video of the entire scene,
just in case you weren't quite sure yet how it looked ;-).
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One can see a gully that was probably
cut by the heavy downpours this spring
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Crossing one of the last remaining snowfields
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When we had breakfast at the restaurant on the last day,
after clearing out the hut, we saw paragliders on a real treck.
They would gain altitude spiraling in some updraft next to a
mountain and then continue flying to the next valley. Impressive.
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