Sunday, 31 July 2016

Trekking in the Stilluptal

It's early in the day, and we have already trekked down from the Grüne Wand mountain hütte at the head of this valley - the pathway travelled can be seen meandering off into the far distance. The Stilluptal is a beautiful 'U' shaped valley that was once home to a mighty glacier which has now split into three, two parts can still be seen on the mountain top, the third is hidden by crags. On the walk through the valley we counted 25 waterfalls cascading down its rocky sides, and our attention was continually captured by the abundance of alpine flowers

How lucky were we to have it all to ourselves apart from busy bees, butterflies, insects, and the inevitable cows. As well as enjoying the magnificient scenery I was in botany heaven. The Stillup Valley is privately owned by 15 local Mayrhofen families, and entry is allowed only with permission. 

The peace and silence suddenly broken by the screech of a bird of prey patrolling the skies, distant waterfalls crashing down from on high, and in the meadows the pleasing dulcet tones of cow bells chiming in harmony
Years ago the farmers would travel up to these high alpine meadows with their cattle and stay from early summer until September. Today with the advent of their own power for milking the cows and 4WD vehicles it is not now necessary for them to remain in these high pastures for weeks on end.
This chalet is over 400 years old, and although no longer used as a residence it still provides shelter, and a place in which to work from and stay if necessary

It is these grazing traditions that have given the Alps their distinctive appearance of large flower strewn meadows that would originally have been covered in forest
Finally after several hours the end of the valley comes within sight terminating
at a reservoir filled with turquoise glacial waters. This is the main source of hydro electric power for the whole of the Zillertal Valley. 
Time to enjoy our well earned ham and cheese rolls
and absorb our beautiful surroundings

60 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos and scenery - thank you for sharing Rosemary

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  2. Enjoyed that very much. Used to love backpacking through the Alps, seeing all the different countries and cultures on summer holidays but the old knees aren't up to it anymore. Alpine flower meadows are incredible for their sheer variety.

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    1. We can no longer climb to the mountain tops but walking in the high valleys was lovely nevertheless.

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  3. A very pretty area, beautiful photos.

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  4. So beautiful Rosemary. The photo with the fountains and the cows grazing is just gorgeous. Love the alpine flower meadows. I remember the time I discovered a Martagon Lily in the wild, I was flabbergasted and now I see one here again on your photos.

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    1. This is only the second time that I have stumbled across a Martagon Lily growing in the mountains and sadly it was beyond its best. I once found one in the Pyrenees which encouraged me to grow them in my garden too.

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  5. Dear Rosemary,

    How wonderful trekking up the Alps and seeing the gorgeous scenery and alpine flowers. Reminded me of the books I read of Heidi up in the mountains. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Sunday
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Ah yes! Heidi, it also makes me feel like breaking into song from the Sound of Music - These are a few of my favourite things.

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  6. That was just wonderful Rosemary. Your photos are so beautiful. That is as close to heaven as it gets! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Catherine - I am pleased you enjoyed seeing this heavenly place, which was a great escape too from the turmoils we have been having in our world.

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  7. Your photos are magnificent.
    I am not familiar with the Zillertal Valley, which is
    absolutely spectacular.
    Love the alpine flowers, waterfalls and vistas.
    Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Rick - I am so pleased that you enjoyed coming on our trek.

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  8. Dear Rosemary, How privileged you must have felt to have this beautiful opportunity to see and experience this very private spot. To see these incredible scenes and hear cowbells serenading you along the way, must have been heaven.
    And those photographs of yours! Stunning.

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    1. Dear Gina - this is a trek that I will long remember, perfect weather, flowers and of course the harmonious accompaniment of the cow bells. You are always so generous with your kind comments.

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  9. Wonderful variety of alpine flowers. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images.

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    1. Thank you Betty, I am so glad that you enjoyed seeing them

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  10. That looks pure bliss Rosemary. The scenery, the flowers and that fabulous fresh air.

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  11. I have never been to Austria in spring or summer. It is utterly beautiful. For some years I skied in the Sankt Johannn im Pongau/Kaprun and I have wonderful memories of the views of the valleys from the villages. What a delight to walk high up with those views! I like the photo of the cow, intent on eating, but not so intent that she can't keep an eye on the photographer!

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    1. I know lots of people who have never thought of visiting Austria during the summertime, but we love it, and used to take our sons walking somewhere in the Alps every year.

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  12. I keep expecting to see Heidi, though that took place in Switzerland though. So pretty, once, many years ago my husband took a photo of me in an Alpine meadow full of flowers.

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    1. You do expect to see a Heidi wandering over the hills but as you mention that is Switzerland - here in Austria perhaps we might meet the Von Trapp family instead.

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  13. Your photographs are breathtakingly stunning, as always!
    May I mention that in Austria's Zillertal is the Grüne Wand Hütte, where you were staying.
    In Germany (Berlin region) the Grüne Wald hotels and Hütte can be found. Or am I mistaken.
    Anyway, I always love and adore your beautiful pictures.
    Thank you so much for sharing nature's beauty.

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    1. Thanks Jeanneke - I have already changed it - I mistakenly pressed the wrong key and hadn't notice so I do appreciate your letting me know - thank you. Glad that you enjoyed the pictures seeing this beautiful valley.

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  14. Hello Rosemary, You always find the most beautiful places to explore. I am fascinated by he chalets with their ancient woodwork, yet still in active use.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Austria is a very beautiful country, but this valley was rather special because of the private ownership. The ancient chalet was fascinating - I especially liked all of the decorations on the outside which must have been added by the owners over many centuries.

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  15. Amazing scenery, beautiful pictures - I haven't been to Austria for many years but I have never forgotten it - such an array of wild flowers - exquisite.

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    1. It must be at least 8 or 9 years since we last visited, and although I had not forgotten how beautiful it is, it's scenery and ambience immediately reignited and captured my senses again.

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  16. I thought it couldn't get any prettier and then I saw the lake. Sigh.

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  17. The older I get the more I want to spend time in quiet and beautiful places such as you show here Rosemary. Of course, if possible I would live on a hillside beneath the mountain peaks surrounded by pretty cows wearing big bells, and picking bunches of wildflowers (or perhaps just lie down in them and love them as they bloom, leaving them for others to enjoy) in Summer sunshine.

    Meanwhile I'm here roasting in 100F - and thanking you for sharing these splendid, refreshing photos.

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    1. I am glad we commenced our walk very early Mary whilst the air felt fresher. By the time we had finished it was so hot that I used my umbrella to protect myself from the sun, but 100F sounds very hot to me.

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  18. So beautiful to see Rosemary. I love the wildflowers of the Alps in Austria. It's a great country to celebrate holidaytime.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Austria was looking beautiful and the alpine flowers a joy to see

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  19. Breathtaking...wow, so beautiful!
    Have a great week, take care.
    Hug,
    Titti

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  20. How beautiful it is Rosemary, and what a joy it must be to trek these meadows. It does remind me of the Heidi books I loved as a little girl, with the cows and the snowy mountains up above. What an attractive country it is!

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    1. It is a lovely country Patricia - everything is pristine and fresh, and both the garden flowers and mountain flowers are so colourful to see.

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  21. Dear Rosemary, that is an astonishing variety of (rare) plants! I wonder what the one right in the first "quartet" may be?

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    1. Three of those flowers in the first quarter come under the same grouping - the first on the left is Silene vulgaris - Bladder Campion, the next on the right is Silene nutans - Nottingham Catchfly and the third below on the right is Lychinis flos-cuculi - Ragged Robin.

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    2. Thank you, Rosemary! Silene nutans, I have never seen it before.

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  22. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a heavenly way to earn your ham and cheese rolls!
    That was literally a walk through botany heaven.
    Loved the old Alpine chalet, being still complete in the way life used to be.
    Complete even with a hand carved cross on the wall!
    Thanks for sharing this beauty with your readers.
    We know this from our visits with friends in Switzerland but so many never had the opportunity for being in pristine natural surroundings. Loved always the noise of the cow's bells.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - everybody should have a least one visit to the Alps if possible in order to appreciate its beauty and learn how wonderful it is to walk with the company of the cow bells - such a nostaligic sound, once heard it is never forgotten.
      Thanks for your visit and for your kind comment - take care.

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  23. Hello Rosemary

    It looks like you walked into a picturesque story book. This beautiful area is so perfect. I imagine you treaded softly through the fields. Thank you for sharing your special trek
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - Austria and the Alps in generally are always a great treat to visit. Lovely to hear from you, and hope all is well with you.

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  24. This is such a beautiful place to be and your gorgeous photos make me feel as though I'm almost there myself. There is so much to love - the alpine flowers, the streams, the mountains and the peace and quiet. It looks the sort of place where I would like time to stop for a bit so I could enjoy it all the more!

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    1. We used to visit Austria and The Alps in general every year when our boys were young, but had forgotten just how beautiful they are. We must not leave it so long again to return.

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  25. This made me tear up a bit, Rosemary. My first reaction: Is this heaven? I know, I know, I get carried away. Can't help it. This is so beautiful. Also reminded me just a bit of the Holmes story, The Final Solution as filmed by the BBC or Granada or whatever, with Jeremy Brett, years ago. Just the atmosphere.

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    1. It is my understanding that the Holmes story was filmed in part of the Alps too Yvette, but in Meiringham which is in the Bern Canton, Switzerland. There are many similarities between these alpine countries.
      However, it is heavenly, I can't say that it is definitely like heaven because I haven't been there!!! but it is very very beautiful.

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  26. wow ,m just speechless right now ,so mesmerizing pics ,you are so luck to be here and one must visit their as it is a piece of heaven

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    1. Thanks for visiting baili - it is a little bit of heaven on earth.

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  27. Hello and wow!!!

    I'm complete in awe with these gorgeous photos, what a beautiful country, maybe, who knows, I'll have a chance to visit it one day.

    Congratulations on your photos.

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    1. Thank you for visiting - do call again - I appreciate your kind comment

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