Statistics: mileage 11 1/4 miles to B&B 5 hours (3 additional miles to Grundlsee)
I awoke early to enjoy a brilliant sunrise and watch the sun creep across the meadow surrounding the refuge. Lynda joined me and soon one of the girls who help at Steinizeralm, Jessie, called us in to experience some local, favorite treats. We sampled several cheeses, pesto made from garlic leaves and amazing breads. We arranged to meet Jessie for a tour of Vienna at the end of our trek. After a wonderful stay at Steinitzenalm, we said good-bye and began the day’s hike.
The trailed began with a gentle downhill to the village of Mühlreich, situated in a pleasant, very green valley.
The trail continued through dense woods as it followed a small, gurgling stream. Unfortunately the intermittent, cave-fed karst springs that we had been told to investigate were in their drier state and had little to show.
Ödensee is a sizeable but quiet lake in the forest.
We happened to arrive on a Sunday which, fortunately for us, was the local’s weekly opportunity to don traditional Tirolian garments and enjoy their Bavarian music. The costumes and the music were captivating.
Continuing on, we walked down a gravel road alongside the River Traun and arrived in the town of Bad Aussee. Our home for the evening, Gasthof Staund’n Wirt, was a couple of miles away from the town in a small, peaceful valley; a babbling stream ran directly behind the gasthof.
We had a cool drink in the gasthof’s patio and then took off to explore a beautiful lake, Grundlsee, up the valley about 1.5 miles.
The lake was not a disappointment. Surrounded by majestic mountains and with a faux castle at either end, the lake presented a lovely setting in which to relax. Ominously, the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and his family lived in one of these during the war. We discovered that we could take a roundtrip tour of the lake on a vintage boat, so off we went! (Notice the castle to the right of the boat.)
At the far end of Grundlsee was the second schloss (castle) at Gössl.
Upon returning from the boat ride, we walked 30 minutes back to the gasthof for a lovely dinner, after which we were lulled to sleep by the relaxing sound of the near-by stream.