Up the Black Mountain (Schwarzenberg, Eingang zum Voralpenland)

While you read why not listen to my album ‘Electro Baroque‘ (all tracks are also available on iTunes using the link here)? Classical music using modern instruments:

or if you prefer to listen to my electro/techno album ‘Studio Valiumm‘ here are the videos (also on iTunes using the link here):

More info about my music is at the dedicated website www.TRANSFORMATES.com

Many moons ago I promised to share with you one of the favourite activities RISKKO and I use to keep trim on our summer weekends in the Alps.

Put quite simply we pop up the local mountain which is called the Schwarzenberg (or the ‘Black Mountain’). This takes about 90 minutes and although it can be somewhat strenuous the view of the Voralpenland (the Austrian/Bavarian Alps) when we reach the top is absolutely fabulous.

Directions to Bad Feilnbach, Schwarzenberg, Weißenbach and Tregleralm

Directions to Bad Feilnbach, Schwarzenberg, Weißenbach and Tregleralm

The photos below are taken from our last trip up the mountain and under each picture I have added a little commentary to explain the context. Not too many words because after trekking up and down the mountain a couple of times I do not have much time left at the weekend for writing. If you really would like to read something I have added a new section to the website where I intend to describe some interesting articles from the alpine press which are unlikely to get prominence in the English language media. These articles are intended to encourage debate and hopefully will give you some insight about issues and interests in this part of the world. If you have any comments please do not hesitate to share them. The link to the first article is here.

Now, let us get started on the journey up the Black Mountain or the Bavarian Schwarzenberg (there is more than one Schwarzenberg!). The mountain stream (actually it is more like a river) that runs past our apartment here rather conveniently runs alongside much of our route up the mountain. This stream or ‘bach’ is called the Osterbach and not surprisingly it has numerous waterfalls (one of which happens to be next to my kitchen).

Osterbach on the way to Thalhäusl from Bad Feilnbach's scenic route to the Schwarzenberg

Osterbach on the way to Thalhäusl from Bad Feilnbach’s scenic route to the Schwarzenberg

Local girls exercising their horses along the Osterbach from Bad Feilnbach to Thalhäusl

Local girls exercising their horses along the Osterbach from Bad Feilnbach to Thalhäusl

After about 30 minutes following the Osterbach up the mountain we arrive at Thalhäusl were there is a lovely alpine chapel. After the Chapel we take a route through the forest.

Little forest chapel at Thalhäusl

Little forest chapel at Thalhäusl

If you are interested in finding out what is inside this little chapel I featured it in a recent blog. The link is here

After a short journey through the forest (actually its a short cut that few people know about) we arrive at a small plateau were there are often cows grazing and playing pleasant alpine tunes with their cow bells as they eat the grass. You will see from the background in the photo below that we are really on the edge of the alps – the flat land behind me stretches for hundreds of kilometers.

Thalhäusl plateau on the way to the Schwarzenberg Mountain

Thalhäusl plateau on the way to the Schwarzenberg Mountain

At the other side of this plateau is a small wooden bridge which marks the entrance to the more challenging part of the journey. From this point the trail follows a combination of different kinds of routes ranging from very steep and slippery paths which when it rains turn into streams, to very pleasant forest paths surrounded by wonderful plants and the occasional forest animal.

Entrance via wooden bridge to forest path next to Osterbach on way to Schwarzenberg

Entrance via wooden bridge to forest path next to Osterbach on way to Schwarzenberg

The narrow forest path to Schwarzenberg starts off very wet and slippery

The narrow forest path to Schwarzenberg starts off very wet and slippery

As the forest path gets steeper the tree roots provide much needed additional footholds

As the forest path gets steeper the tree roots provide much-needed additional footholds

Gradually the steepness of the forest path decreases but watch out for fallen trees!

Gradually the steepness of the forest path decreases but watch out for fallen trees!

The path to the Schwarzenberg continues to follow the mountain stream through the forest

The path to the Schwarzenberg continues to follow the mountain stream through the forest

It is sometimes possible to go all the way from Thalhäusl to the Schwarzenberg without seeing another person

It is sometimes possible to go all the way from Thalhäusl to the Schwarzenberg without seeing another person

Along the mountain paths there are sometimes beautiful reminders of others who loved the countryside

Along the mountain paths there are sometimes beautiful reminders of others who loved the countryside

The middle stretch of the journey up the 'Black Mountain' once again gets steeper and wetter

The middle stretch of the journey up the ‘Black Mountain’ once again gets steeper and wetter

If you like forest waterfalls the challenges of the difficult path are worthwhile

If you like forest waterfalls the challenges of the difficult path are worthwhile

For those with sharp eyes the forest always has plenty of wild life - a Bavarian Beetle

For those with sharp eyes the forest always has plenty of wild life – a Bavarian Beetle

The end of the forest trail is in sight

The end of the forest trail is in sight

My faithfull mountaineering companion takes a break on a convenient branch

My faithful mountaineering companion takes a break on a convenient branch

The view from the Schwarzenberg of the Wendelstein and the Breitenstein is spectacular (the foreground less so!)

The view from the Schwarzenberg of the Wendelstein and the Breitenstein is spectacular (the foreground less so!)

Just before the Schwarzenberg summit we reach another plateau. For me this is what makes the journey worthwhile. Here you can enjoy fantastic views of the Voralpenland including the Wendelstein and Breitenstein mountains. Actually the mountain view from the plateau is better than that from the summit. The Schwarzenberg summit has trees on the alpine side which obscure the mountain view. However the view of the plains on the other side is also remarkable. On a good day you will see a very long way.

Panorama photo of Wendelstein, Breitenstein, Voralpenland and Schwarzenberg Gipfel (or summit)

Panorama photo of Wendelstein, Breitenstein, Voralpenland and Schwarzenberg Gipfel (or summit)

One note of caution. Sometimes cows graze on the plateau and they may occupy the space between the end of the forest path and the Schwarzenberg summit. I would recommend that it is a good idea to leave these cows alone – they have a very important job making alpine milk. If you try to walk through them at the wrong time of day it is quite likely they will think you are going to take them for milking and before long you will have a herd of enthusiastic alpine milk producers running after you.

Our dear old friend, the Schwarzenberg Cow, Daisybell drops by for a drink

Our dear old friend, the Schwarzenberg Cow, Daisybell drops by for a drink

Why does the milk from Bavaria taste so good ? Look at the view - the cows are simply happy!

Why does the milk from Bavaria taste so good ? Look at the view – the cows are simply happy!

Now for the trip back from the Schwarzenberg to Bad Feilnbach - it should take about 90 minutes

Now for the trip back from the Schwarzenberg to Bad Feilnbach – it should take about 90 minutes

The pictures below were taken as we followed the trail back down the mountain to the smaller plateau which we passed on the way up. I often have noticed deer grazing here and today was no exception. A perfect finish to a perfect day!

On the way down the Schwarzenberg Deer Daphne was just having her evening meal

On the way down the Schwarzenberg Deer Daphne was just having her evening meal

We shout out

We shout out “hello deer” to Daphne and continue down to Bad Feilnbach for some local cuisine

The sun sets over Bavaria's Schwarzenberg mountain and the Voralpenland

The sun sets over Bavaria’s Schwarzenberg mountain and the Voralpenland

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