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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ramsau am Dachstein

No sooner had I touched down in England from Lapland than I was airborne within five hours on my way to Salzburg in Austria, finding myself in scenery like this.

The lilac, long since over at lower altitude was still in bloom in an alpine setting

Trout from lakes like this were retained in...


...until ready to be served like this

Biodiverse alpine meadow. How many plant species are in this frame? (Answers on a postcard to Maalie Court)

I am no botanist, but finding wild Alpine Gentians counts among my life's top-ten "wildlife moments"

The final day started innocently enough, with plans for a tour of the Ramsau am Dachstein area. However the morning commenced with low cloud and the alpine peaks shrouded in fog. A walk in the woods was an appropriate alternative, to investigate some alpine woodland ecology.

Alpine woodland - three Cuckoos were heard calling synchronously

Emerging from the woods a while later and the fog was lifting to reveal the peaks of the Dachstein range; admiring from afar, it would not be dreamed to get up to the snowline unless...

...a route to Bergstation Hunerkogel could be negotiated

At 2700m (8,800 feet) it was the habitat of the Alpine (Yellow-billed) Chough

No preparations had been made for hiking at such altitudes, and with only comparatively light clothing, no ice-axe or crampons, and cumulo-nimbus anvils in the offing, an hour's hike through the snow on a marked trail to an alpine lodge was considered appropriate (see the knife-and fork icon at the end of the red trail going up and left from Bergstation Hunerkogel in the map above.

Conditions to rival anything I had seen in the Arctic the previous week

Such adventure calls for a celebratory beer

Such alpine vastness is hard to comprehend

Sheer wilderness

At last the alpine lodge is reached where a fresh coffee was welcome (oh yes, there was something about pear schnapps as well...)

The descent: Maalie thinks he's a maalie


Blogger TCA said...

Nice photos!



1:39 pm  
Blogger Catharina said...

Wow, that last picture is great!

2:46 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Yes, that last picture is great! I also liked the one of the trout you were about to tuck into. I must say you are keeping your hands very well manicured these days!
Knife and Fork? I thought it was a skull and cross bones!
You should try mountains more often, rather than sloshing around in bogs and reeds!

3:30 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

TCA: It will be with proper gear and an assault on the summit next time!

CATHARINA: Thanks to the generous photographer who allowed me to use it :-)

LORENZO: Oh, you noticed my hands? Yes, Austrian air seems to have mysterious properties.

5:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i see you have been hither and yon.

the photos show some very beautiful views and an active maalie.

5:52 pm  
Blogger simon said...

!!! Bloody hell mate!! It looks like a postcard!

I feel like singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music" and that trout looks superb!!! Its a favorite fish of mine

11:55 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Nancy, yes, it has been a busy year!

Simon, thanks mate! At least that beer got pretty cold up there!

6:27 am  
Blogger Maria said...

Really beautiful!
I also love to run down through the snow like you did on the last picture!

11:51 am  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Sorry - I forgot to edit before I posted!

Humm, I don't know whether to say magnificent or breathtaking!

However, my favorite is the last - you do look like you're trying to fly down the mountainside. Or, perhaps your heart is just light enough to lift you into the air?

Our Llama tells me that you're off again soon. Where to this time?

1:59 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow. I wonder if such places in the colder pictures are even accessible in the winter, or at least as accessible.

Beautiful wildlife, and I can't recall seeing wild Alpine Gentians before.

Beautiful pics. Surely you have published stuff out there- in academic places or wherever. But you ought to consider writing a book with photos included.

6:27 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Hello Maalie, from Spain. Hope you are enjoying gadding about where ever you might be. I loose track, but you are sure in need of a little holiday!

8:31 pm  
Blogger Delphine R2M said...

So beautiful landscapes... I miss nature!
I just came here from Merisi'blog.

10:30 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Truly amazing, what wonderful pics. I wonder what your next trip will be.

If my posts are fewer, it's because I'm really tired and busy and need a blogging break. I will be checking out your travels on my Google reader. I know they will be fun.

8:17 pm  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

If you are still about, here is a post for you,

2:21 am  
Blogger indicaspecies said...

This post is fascinating with splendid photographs.

It's really good to discover interesting blogs such as yours.

7:07 pm  

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