Sunday 14th August Voisthaler Hutte to Graf Meran Haus

Would have been perfect if we had had today's weather yesterday. The early morning sun was wonderful but instead of going up we were heading down into the valley, with cloud sitting at the bottom of it. Had a great walk however,covered more ground than we anticipated, and finished the day at an 1800 metre hutte with great views across the valley.

Shared our room with a couple of other people last night but we both slept well. Up early and out by 8.15 to start the long trek down the valley. The valley/gorge was a continuation of the amazing feature we had enjoyed at the end of yesterday but looked even better in the morning sun. We met a steady stream of people coming the other way, more and more of them, some from Vienna and others more local but all wanting to enjoy the Hochschwab on a sunny bank holiday Sunday. When we got down we walked past a huge collection of parked cars, showing how popular this area is for weekend walkers.

Heading down to Seewiesen

Looking back up to Voisthaler Hutte

A strudel stop at Seewiesen, surrounded by a group of leather clad bikers amused by Christine's choice of head gear, and then a really steep climb up through pine trees up to Seeburg.

After Seeburg an easy walk along pretty valley towards Gotlacher Alm. Lots of families with small children enjoying the scenery and weather.

Leaving Turnauer Alm

We were now walking through a mix of alpine pasture and woodland, easy walking and to be honest given the scarcity of fine weather we really would have liked to be higher and completely out of the trees.

At about 2.30 we stopped at Turnauer Alm for lunch. The plan had been to stop here for the night but it seemed too early and given the great weather the poor forcast for tomorrow we decided to press on. The target was Graf Meran Haus, near the top of Hohe Vietsch, a climb of around 500 metres.

The signs were really confusing giving different timings and this added a certain tension to the decision to press on. I said it should take about 2 hours but some of the signs were suggesting a lot longer. The last part of the walk was a savage very steep open climb. Happily the hutte was just past the ridge and we were drinking beer by 4.45.

Climbing up to Graf Meran Haus 

The Graf Meran Haus turned out to be a special place. High up, amazing views, sharing the sunset and the rising of a full moon with a group of easy going, fairly well oiled walkers, exactly what makes this sort of walking special. Music is a feature of the huttes in this part of Austria and a stream of hikers were ready to pick the hutte accordion and blast out a folk song.

Good fun evening as well. Centre of attention was a full bearded ancient Austrian male who seemed to be hutte mascot (although given his beer consumption, a very expensive mascot). Was very interested in the English and kept trying to persuade us to sing, but everyone else was doubled up with laughter so we suspected we were the subject of the joke. A particularly kind fellow walker did the interpretation but he had wonderful manners and I'm sure a certain amount was lost in translation.

Looking forward for shower, three huttes in a row and this one, although it had plenty of beer, had no water and no electricity. Nice room though, no sharing tonight.

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