Alpine Splendours

Home again from another stunning and inspiring trip to the Austrian Alps. This time we 'aimed high' and crossed several 'ridge' hikes but did not quite make the whole 350 km long “Salzburger Almenweg“. We walked many of the mapped 31 stages, along increadible and bizarre limestone formations with spectacular views and visited the best, for my experience and pleasure, variety of mountain inns along the paths which spoil you with local delicacies.

On several days hiking, high above the valleys near the Dachstein massive, we were lucky to view groups of chamois trying to cross a large very steep rock face. Chamois are agile climbers and if they sense a threat they can ascend 1000 meters in about 15 minutes. Chamois are easily recognized by their white facial markings and the brown stripe that runs along their backbone. Chamois are well-adapted to living in steep, rocky terrain. I am tempted to start a large painting with the rock face as abstract background, however this is not wildlife art popular amongst my buyers.

We also spotted marmots which are very common in the Alps. They are excellent diggers, able to burrow through soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with. Their loud warning whistles followed us every day.

Many Alpine chough joined us during lunch breaks. With their glossy black plumage, yellow beak, red legs, and distinctive calls they are easily spotted. These birds have a buoyant acrobatic flight and feed, usually in flocks, on short grazed grassland, taking mainly invertebrate prey in summer and fruit in winter. But they will readily approach tourist sites to find supplementary food.

© 2020 Neil Cox | All rights reserved.

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