I am now a cable car junkie.

All quiet in the breakfast room early on The Big Day. Just Tony and I, and the Heavenly Father.

And…I did it! I got into the car, closed my eyes…and 10 minutes later I was 2050m above the Ötztal! The cows mooed in celebration.

We chose this particular peak, Achkerkogel for its moderate wanders. Our hiking skill level is improving, ever so slowly. But we are improving! (That, and there were no “Light” wanders atop the mountain.)

The approach to Balbach Alm, where we paused to enjoy the scenery (and especially the fresh 16° mountain air.)

We attempted to reach another Alm via the suggested Ibex trail, but the thought of making local headlines because of a mountain rescue was not really what we had in mind for a holiday.

Changing course was not without its spectacular scenery, so no regrets.

For lunch, a changeup from Schnitzel! The Brettljausen. Alm cheese; meats and sausages; dark bread and condiments.

Although we hiked just 9km, the more telling number was the 43 flights of stairs we climbed up and down across that distance.


Clayton Theodore was one happy, and exhausted, hound.

All in all, a big day. I conquered my fear of glass-panorama cable cars. Tony did not require a mountain rescue. We climbed a quarter way up and down the Empire State Building. And, we earned our Hoch Oetz wandering pins!

A “Grill Evening” awaited us at the resort. Following a day as marvelous as this, kicking back with a plate of charcoal-grilled goodness and a spectacular Weißburgunder felt decadent. And the sunset, a perfect nightcap.

As might be expected I arose on Saturday excited for another cable car ride. This time, the Gaislochkogelbahn to whisk us (calmly) to 2170m above Sölden.

From there we had access to about a dozen trails; and for each photo, more than a thousand words.

Taking the Gaislochkogelbahn to its peak at 3.040m revealed 21 glaciers. Breathtaking.

Tony went up a little higher than I. The approaching grey clouds and breeze had me urging a swift return to terra firma instead.

We made it down and into a most enjoyable pizzeria just as a wall of thunderstorms moved across the valley; what remained of the afternoon was devoted to the rare-for-us activity of relaxing.

The following morning great big clouds floated around the mountains to make the snaps of our return drive memorable.

A stop in Mondsee for lunch, and then, sigh, we were home.

And with that, our 56km hiked;  ~78.500 steps wandered; and the equivalent of 105 flights climbed up and down Tirolean love affair came, The End.