The Gerzkopf mountain fascinates hikers with its unspoilt natural landscape and high alpine moor shrouded in legend.
The scent of the up to two metre high mountain pine shrubs accompanies me every step of the way through the high alpine mountain moor region. At the same time a vibrant play of colours are a treat for my eyes, allowing me to enter into another world and forget the stresses and strains of everyday life. Whilst hiking over alpine terrain of the 1,730 Meter high and 90 hectare large nature reserve around the Gerzkopf, I’m on the trail of a very special legend – the “Black Pond” is jet black and lies mysteriously between the moor complexes. It has always fascinated young and old with its history and breathtaking mountain backdrop all around. It’s not just the view that takes your breath away – the two-hour hike from Eben up to this very special spot does too.
Gerzkopf – the green mountain
The unspoilt nature and the extraordinary flora and fauna around the Gerzkopf make it not just a very special hiking destination, it is also called “green mountain” and with unusual moor complexes plus rare types of plants such as peat bog and cotton grass represents a premium ecological site. Reason enough to integrate this part of the Gerzkopf as European Nature Reserve into the Natura 2000 network of nature reserves, thus offering its unique animal and plant kingdoms a protected natural habitat. And reason enough for me to visit the green mountain at least once each year. Apart from its scenic magnificence, spending time in this unique spot is a real treat for body, mind and soul.
Towards the sun
The Gerzkopf can be conquered from 3 sides – my favourite path is the so-called sunny route from Schattbachwinkel. Starting-point is the Schattaugut bus stop, from where I hike up the access road to Schattbachwinkel (path no. 15) approx. 2.3 kilometres to the Knapp Farm at an altitude of 1,130 metres. Continuing onward along a forest track and after approx. 1 km over a hiking trail through the wooded area. The last part leads through scented mountain pine shrubland. At the peak I’m rewarded with an amazing panoramic view. The fabulous sweeping view of the Gosau range with its majestic Bischofsmütze, the Dachstein range, the Tennengebirge range and the peaks of the Lower and Higher Tauern is a real pleasure every time. After these wonderful impresssions a refreshment stop at the simple, but cosy Schäferhütte (Shepherd’s Hut), not far from the peak cross is almost obligatory. I savour my rest stop and dream of the golden carriage, which according to legend lies in the depths of the “Black Pond”.
Black Pond – on the trail of the legend
You’ve never heard the legend?
Not just the view of the jet black mountain pond in the heart of the high alpine moor is both magical and mystical for me – no the story surrounding the legendary “Black Pond” is mysterious and entices you to fanciful thoughts. In the pond, just before the peak of the Gerzkopf, surrounded by a splendid mountain backdrop, perfectly staged, there is allegedly a golden carriage buried in the depths. On their conquests the Romans were in this unique mountain region. Just like the hikers of today they were fascinated by the high alpine moor and its beauty. Along their route over the mountains they found that this was the ideal spot to hide their looted carriage and sunk it in the pond. Only on certain days of the year and even today you might catch a glimpse of the shaft of the carriage peeping out of the pond. And as legend has it, anyone managing to salvage the carriage from the waters will be rich for the rest of his life.
Apparently a local farmer saw the shaft some years ago. As he began to pull it out of the waters another hiker came past. As the farmer didn’t want to share the treasure he let go of the carriage and hid from the hiker. A big mistake as the golden carriage immediately sunk into the endless depths of the black pond and has remained a hidden treasure of this little pond ever since.
Those like me wanting to follow the trail of the legend of the “Black Pond“ should keep a look out – maybe you’ll see the golden shaft of the carriage glistening out of the jet black pool. All treasure-hunters, who don’t get to see the golden carriage can enjoy the wonderful unspoilt landscape of this high alpine moor and the stunning views of the surrounding mountains – a hike up to the Gerzkopf and the “Black Pond” is worth its weight in gold due to its infinite beauty.
Photo Credits: Coen Weesjes