Schneeberg 12.6.2007

After a very busy time, I have at least time for a walk on Schneeberg. I start from Schneebergdoerfl (700 m) through the Miesel valley to Kaltwassersattel ("cold water saddle") and further on to the lodge and inn named Baumgartnerhaus. Further to St. Eilsabeth´church and over the Schneeberg plateau up to Klosterwappen, the ummit (2.076 m). Back via Fischerhuette and the same route. As thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon with high probability, I start as early as 6 a.m. Morning clouds (rests of yesterday´s storms?) do not dissolve, however, as hoped, so it is cloudy or even overcast nearly the whole day

In the morning at 6 a.m. Schneeberg presents in a sallow light. The route through the Miesel valley does not permit attractive views.

On Kaltwassersattel I meet the tracks of the rack railway on Schneeberg.

The station at Baumgartnerhaus is nearly orphaned at this time of the day. Only the innkeeper is up to make some wood.

15 years ago, this forested area burnt down in a forest fire, presumably caused by flying sparks from the railway´s steam engine, on the last August days of an extremely hot and dry summer. Nobody showed interest in the burned trees, so they are rotting since those days. (at times, some rotten trunks are falling in heavy gales, maybe on the path too!). Nature is regenerating, and young trees are growing, mainly larches. The fire, however, was one of the reasons for modernizing the railway by changing the train sets to modern Diesel engines. Only once or twice a day, the old train sets are used, and they take nearly double time to the summit station.

View over the forest areas to Baumgartnerhaus and Hoher Hengst (1.450 m)

Thousands of flowers in the grass between the dwarf pines: Globe flowers (Trollius europaeus) ...

 ... Alpine avens

Narzissenbluetige Windroeschen (Anemone narcissiflora) and Alpine kidney-vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. alpestris)

Sub- Alpine ragwort (Senecio subalpinus) near St. Elisabeth´s church. Here to the left is the summit station of the railway.

Spring gentian (Gentiana verna)

First glimpse to Schneeberg summit with the military radar station clearly visible

In a depression on Schneeberg plateau is Damboeck lodge (1.810 m)

Near Damboeck lodge a huge doline, filled with snow till high summer. It is fenced now and shown out as a water protecion area. for the first Vienna´s conduit which uses water of huge founts down in the valley. This doline is interesting, because many years ago, fluorescent dye was poured into it during a heavy summer thunderstorm. 18 hours later the dye was detected in the Kaiserbrunnen, a fount some 1.300 m deeper in Hoellental. So, the filtration effect of the ground is very low. Only the fact, that the area is so remote (despite the walkers and the lodges) guarantees the clearity of the water. However, after heavy rains, the water gets turbid and has to be discarded by leading it into nearby becks.

Near the recently molten snow still Cow slips (Primlua veris) are flourishing.

Zooming in on Schneeberg summit

Several times an army helicopter is approaching. First, the staff is dropped, ...

 ... then several cargoes are flown in.

View to Fischerhuette. Only a few metres to the summit now.

Once more the helicopter approaches. In the eastern wind, it takes a loop around Schneeberg and comes closer in eastern direction.

The cargo: Gas bottles

Talking to the soldiers, they tell me that the gas is used for the emergency power supply of the radar statioon. No Diesel engine can be used because of the water protection area. Weekly tests of the gas engine ensure the operating ability, so a regular change of the bottles is necessary.

No good view from Schneeberg today.

One of the soldiers is leaving the team.

Damboeckhaus as seen from Schneeberg summit (2.076 m).

View back to the radar station

View over meadows full with flowers, to Rax, ...

 ... where the sun is shining just now..

During the descent, near St. Elisabeth´s church: Early purple orchid (Orchis mascula subsp. signifera)

Frog orchid (coeloglossum viride)

Alpine milkwort (Polygala alpina) and Alpine kidney-vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. alpestris)

Masses of Alpine Valerian (Valeriana montana), manured by the ashes of the forest fire.

A train has stopped at the Baumgartner station. In former days, the steam engine had to stop for a while to take water. These 10 minutes were used by the passengers to walk around and have a look.

But why are the diesel engine train sets staying here for so long? They don´t need water, do they?

The answer to the diesel train set stay, a must for all insiders: The famous "Powidl - Buchteln" from the Baumgartner inn ( a delicate yeast sweet filled with "Powidl, a special, rather tenacious plum jam originally coming from czechia) These sweets are said to be the reason for the stop of the Diesel engines too, to give the passengers the opportunity to buy and eat them.

At least, the train proceeds to the summit station near St. Elisabeth´s church.

Now I am descending along the railway tracks: between the tracks, fragrant orchids are growing, ...

 ... alongside lots af Round-headed Rampions (Phytaeum orbiculare).

Fragrant orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea)

Small white orchid (Leucorchis albida)

Grand yellow foxgloves (Digitalis grandiflora) near the embankment

On the grass near Kaltwassersattel lots of wood cranesbill (Geranium sylvaticum) ...

 ...  and Mountain knapweed (Centaurea montana)

Far down in Miesel valley, between lots of green near the beck: Broard-leaved Marsh Orchid (dactylorhiza majalis) ...

 ... and the common twayblade (Listera ovata)

A bit of sun at least on Schneeberg, when I arrive at Schneebergdoerfl.

A last view to Schneeberg from near the road: Puppies shortly before Puchberg.