Reconnecting with Nature by Walking in the Mountains

Last updated 14.07.2020Raúl RevueltaRaúl Revuelta

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”, John Muir. Travel and holidays this summer will be radically different from what we have done in the last years. Most travelers will likely choose to stay closer to home and may adopt a more cautious approach to travel, looking for safe destinations. Proximity and moving within a socio-culturally similar geographical space can be decisive elements in increasing the sense of security for these guests. What will be the main reason to travel next summer? To reconnect with nature.

Three months of quarantine have left physical and psychological traces in all of us, and exercise, returning to nature, and stimulating the senses will be the best remedy to truly return to normal. After the lockdown, it is advisable to dedicate the summer to a sports activity of less intensity, but a lot of mobility and with a longer duration like walking or hiking: an outdoor low-impact activity that makes us able to enjoy what has been desired and could not be done during the quarantine, and as far as possible, accompanied by others.

The best thing about walking is that it is truly an activity everyone can do. Whether you are young or old, or your level of fitness, there is a trail out there that will be perfect for you. Everything is possible: from a leisurely family hike to a challenging high-altitude hike.

There are so many reasons to spend your next holiday walking:

  • Walking can be good for us in so many ways. Helping with depression, reducing blood pressure, BMI and increasing cardiovascular protection.
  • Walking help us bond with the people, the countryside, and the history of a place.
  • Walking is the gateway to the mountains.
  • Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to enjoy outdoor recreation.

And there are thousands of walks and hikes in Tirol for immersing yourself in the beauty of nature and the mountains. The Tirolean Mountains in the Heart of the Alps, in Austria, has opened up to me as a fascinating mountain world, a walking paradise of 24,000 kilometers of marked hiking and mountain trails. Rambling through the mountain peaks, lakes, and forests of Tirol is one of the best ways to find these sought-after havens of peace and tranquility.

My choice:  The Zirbenweg Trail

This panorama trail above Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol is a classic among the Tyrolean trails. A magnificent view of the Inn Valley, the mountains of the Nordkette, and the city of Innsbruck will accompany you along your hike.

The panorama path is a safe, gentle, and botanic hike through the largest primeval pine forest of the Alps. The Stone pine (Pinus cembra, Zirbe in German) is a species of pine tree that grows in the Alps and the Mountains of central Europe. The mature size is typically between 25 meters and 35 meters in height, and the trunk diameter can be up to 1.5 meters. The species is long-lasting and lives 200 to 400 years old on average, but estimates assume that it can reach an age of up to 1200 years.

Mixed up with the Stone pines you will find numerous Larches (Larix, Lärche in German). They are conifers of the pine family in the genus Larix. Growing from 20 to 45 meters, larches are deciduous trees that lose their needles in the autumn.

From May/June, a sea of ​​flowers of alpine roses adorns the landscape along the walk. The Alpenrose (Rhododendron ferrugineum) an evergreen shrub that grows just above the tree line in the Alps where is also called Almrose. It may grow up to 1 m tall and produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer.

Trail description

Known to Innsbruck residents as the“locals’ mountain” (Hausberg) and a three-time Olympic venue, Patscherkofel is Innsbruck’s Ski and Hiking Paradise in the south: easy to recognize from its rounded shape and the prominent radio mast on its peak. A new ropeway with two sections, the Patscherkofelbahn takes you from the bottom station (1,010 m.) to the starting point at the mountain station (1,965 m) quickly, easily in 9 minutes. From here you will be heading East via the Boscheben Alm to the Tulfein Alm and then to the Glungezerbahn.

You also can take go back to the starting point through the Almenweg. From the Boscheben at 2,035 meters you must continue for approximately 1 kilometer in the direction of the Tulfein Alm. Go left at the turnoff following the directions to the Sistranser Alm and the Lanser Alm and return to the valley station of the Patscherkofelbahn via Heiligwasser.

And do not forget. No good hike in Tirol would be complete without a stop at one of the Alms to enjoy the typical Tyrolean food.

I hope I fulfill my goal of inspiring people and invite them to go a-wandering along the mountain tracks.

Text & Pictures: Raúl Revuelta

Raúl Revuelta

Raúl Revuelta’s life revolves around teaching and consulting in tourism. His research work has centered around two areas: on the one hand, the integration of the principles of quality and sustainability in tourism, and on the other, sports and adventure tourism, with a special focus on the management of ski and mountain resorts. He loves to spend time enjoying the mountains and nature and his biggest passion by far is skiing.

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