Admittedly, there are easier things in life than not ignoring your alarm clock at 4 am in the morning and leaving your nice warm bed. But as we head off towards the Gamskogel Cable Car half an hour later, we are accompanied by birdsong and the fresh morning air revives our senses.
A ride on the chairlift to meet the sunrise
At 4:45 am on the dot we’re sitting on the chairlift, being transported up to the Gamskogelhütte. Here and there you can hear rustling beneath us amongst the trees – deer and rabbits are up and about too.
After just eight minutes we reach the mountain station, where a crackling bonfire awaits us. All around us just black mountain ridges, behind which the first strips of red appear on the horizon. Slowly more and more early risers arrive, each picking a spot near the bonfire or around the Gamskogelhütte and enjoying the atmosphere. Suddenly you can hear gentle tones being played on alpine instruments such as trumpets, horns or alpine horns. Quietly and pensively we let our thoughts get carried away by the music. In the east it starts to get lighter, the red burning brighter and already the first rays of sun are appearing from behind the mountain peaks.
We and the other spectators are visibly moved – I feel a lump in my throat, other sniff, and even a few tears flow. None of us are able to talk for a while, we simply enjoy the incredibly beautiful atmosphere. It doesn’t take long until the darkness of the night has completely disappeared and the Rosskopf, Tagweideck, Schwarzkopf and other peaks around us are bathed in sunshine, the warmth of which we can now feel on our skin. All around us there are smiling faces, we’re back to reality, beaming as bright as the sun and happy as can be.
Alpine cheese and mountain lakes
And now a hearty breakfast awaits us in the Gamskogelhütte – fresh bread, fried eggs, cheese specialities, regional delicacies, muesli, everything your heart could desire. What a grand start to the day!
Our stomachs satisfied we now hike to the Seekarsee Lake, which we reach after about 30 minutes’ walk. The glittering lake lies in a natural dip at an altitude of 2,000 m. It looks as though it’s always been there, yet it was constructed as a reservoir. In winter it provides the water required for artificial snowmaking.
Nature’s cycle returns the melted snow to the ground in spring and to the Seekarsee Lake, which is a popular place to visit in summer. We actually wanted to hike on further to the neighbouring Arche and Schwarzkopf peaks, but on the spur of the moment we decide to walk around the lake and spend the warm day in hammocks set up on the banks of the lake. After all, tomorrow’s another day.
Photo credits: Bergbahnen Zauchensee, Andreas Weissenbacher