When you go hiking in summer, you should always take a linen bag with you in your backpack. Why? Because now is the season for wild mushrooms!
1 Mountain tour with 4 summits
Quite recently my family and I – that’s my wife and our two children – were out and about once again on one of our favourite summer hikes: the 4-peaks-tour in Zauchensee. This high-altitude tour is one of the absolute musts in every hiking season for us, as we are rewarded every time with indescribably beautiful views. As we hike from peak to peak, we are accompanied by the most magnificent mountain panoramas from the Hochkönig range to the Dachstein to the High Tauern and the Grossglockner.
The 4-summit tour connects the four highest elevations around the Seekarsee: Gamskogel, Schwarzkopf, Tagweidegg and Arche. The start and finish for us is the mountain station of the Gamskogel chairlift, which takes us comfortably from the valley up to 1,900 metres above sea level. This way we save ourselves and especially our kids the effort of the ascent and enjoy the lift ride with an open-top feeling. It is a special experience every time to float up the mountain on the chairlift without ski equipment and observe grazing cows and the summer alpine world instead of skiers and snowboarders.
Your reward for your summit victory
The 4 Summit Tour is also interesting for us this year because new summit crosses or checkpoints have been erected on each of the four summits. If you buy a lift ticket for the Gamskogel chairlift, you will receive (on request) a stamp pass for the 4 Summit Tour. At the four summit checkpoints you can then place a corresponding stamp in your pass – and also take a cool summit photo, because the new checkpoints make great photo backdrops. Once you have collected all four summit stamps, you receive the 4 Summit Tour hiking badge as a reward at the lift ticket office in the World Cup Arena or in the Gamskogelhütte.
My children are of primary school age and are already experienced hikers. Therefore, they can manage the approx. 4.5 hour round tour. Nevertheless, we pay special attention to them in the Schwarzkopf area, because surefootedness is required here.
Hiking with great pickings
Now I’ll tell you why you should have a linen bag with you when hiking: on your tour you might come across some spots where wild mushroom grow! Not above the tree line, but if you are on your way up or down in the forest or at the edge of the forest.
The tasty wild mushrooms grow particularly well here after a few days of rain and mild temperatures in summer and early autumn. They prefer coniferous and mixed forests and usually shoot up from the ground in large quantities. If this is covered with moss and tree needles, all the better. Therefore, you should always look out for the egg-yolk yellow mushrooms in sparse forests and at the edge of the forest near the trees.
With a bit of luck, you will also find prized porcini mushrooms throughout the entire hiking area near trees, especially in sparse areas in the spruce forest or at the edge of paths, forest aisles and small streams. This prized mushroom appreciates high humidity, but hates direct sunlight.
Tip: Striking red and white toadstools also have similar requirements to the porcini mushroom – where they grow, there is a high probability of also finding porcini mushrooms. Caution: Please leave the toadstools standing and do not touch them, they are not only inedible but poisonous!
Recipe tip: Rosti potatoes with mushrooms and wild herbs
On your hike you will find numerous wild herbs, especially in the alpine meadows, which you can use as a special and healthy extra in the kitchen. A few of the most common alpine herbs are great for our rosti potato dish with mushrooms: daisies, wild thyme, wild oregano and meadow sage.
Daisies make a good visual and flavourful addition to salads or as a topping on breads, soups or stir-fry dishes. They contain a lot of vitamin C, magnesium and iron and have a blood-cleansing, expectorant, digestive and analgesic effect.
Wild thyme and goes very well with potato, meat and egg dishes as well as fish. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and is used to relieve colds, flu-like infections, heartburn, irritable cough and rheumatism.
Wild oregano goes excellently with potato, egg and pasta dishes as well as with stews and vegetable pans. It has an antiseptic, disinfectant and strong antibacterial effect, which is why it is also used for infections and colds, stomach and intestinal complaints, sore throats and skin inflammations.
Meadow sage is the wild form of garden sage. Like the latter, it is versatile and can be used in the kitchen. Meadow sage has an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect and is used for inflammations of the mouth and throat. At the same time, it is said to have an antiperspirant and digestive effect.
Enjoy your meal – and see you soon in the hiking paradise of Zauchensee!
photo credits: Zauchensee Liftgesellschaft, pixabay