November Mists

17.04.2019

There is something about a November hike that is both peaceful and mysterious. Nature has already settled into the long winter nap, there are no birds chirping in the woods.

On a crisp clear day mists rise like thick cotton clouds over the valleys, revealing mountain peaks or hiding church steeples, much like Mitterbach in the Mariazell region, the village at the foot of the Gemeindealpe. The Oetscher, even though further away, looks so close, like a sentinel standing guard over this blessed country.

While this hike can be done virtually in any season, preferably on a clear sunny day so you can enjoy the views, we first fell in love with it on a mid November day. There was no one on the road and the woods opened up to us with soft leaves carpeted floors, it was much like entering an old forgotten castle. Still, we never felt alone walking through silent trees and over harvested meadows, Fall was around us like a soft blanket. As the summer tourists have left and ski season has yet to begin, the land radiates peace and quiet and a somewhat mystical beauty, and it is ours, ours alone to enjoyโ€ฆ.

It is only fitting that this little hike is called โ€œThe Romantic Round Aboutโ€. It will take you to beautiful views (Oetscher and Gemeindealpe), through narrow deep forest paths and over silver green meadows.

The starting point is the center of Mitterbach . From there you walk towards the village limits (back towards Mariazell) to the Filzwieser restaurant. Keep walking along the highway outside of the village and soon the road will fork to the right into the path that takes you to Erlaufsee . After a small forest patch you will meet with the Steirerweg. Take a left, leaving the Erlaufsee hike (crossing over the Mariazell Railway) back to B 20. Just stay on B 20 for a short distance (about 150m) up to the junction with LurgstraรŸe. Take a left here on the forest highway that will take you all the way to the Lurgbauer. This is a small Mecca for local gourmets, they do 4-6 course menus, local free range beef and pork included. If you plan on staying, make reservations, they are limited to 16 seats. If you can resist the meat temptation, then just keep on walking (the forest highway will soon turn into a narrow path through the woods), then youโ€™ll reach the summit where another forest highway takes you to Fadental .

The path winds downhill to Kapeller. The best views of this hike await you here: two of the three mountains that guard the Mariazellerland. Take a stroll on this large meadow of the Kapellergut. This former farmhouse was once a feudal domain of benedictine monastery St. Lambrecht, documented around 1390. Until the 17th century the area was known as Tremeltal, the name was changed later to St. Sebastian, as it is known today. In 1751, Empress Maria Theresa established a permanent postal coach service to Mariazell, which led past here. Around 1900 the domain came into the possession of the industrialist Arthur Krupp (who also developed Halltal) and was a part of his hunting ground Walstern. These days the Austrian Federal Forestry owns it and the old farmhouse was removed in the sixties.

Follow the romantic tour sign to Goeschlhof (Styria's furthest northern farm dating back to 1821) and then walk back down the road to Mitterbach. Duration: 1,5 - 2 hours.

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