Hikers will encounter the grias di even along the way to the hut, because we’re all at eye level in the mountains at 1,000 metres above sea level and above. Wearing our hiking boots, we are all the same – whether prominent actor, senior manager, farmer or a milkmaid. The love of the mountains and nature unifies us, and the mountain hut is the perfect place to come together. Here, people take their time to talk, as equals, and nothing distracts from listening.
Chatting in the mountains
Even the quiet herdsman starts talking at the table and passionately recounts tales of his many summers in the mountains, newborn calves, nasty storms and about how it feels to pack up everything after the summer and move back to the valley. He gives solid advice to those who dream of becoming a herdsman during a summer on a mountain pasture, working in the mountains is not for the faint hearted. It usually has little to do with romantic notions. Still, I wouldn’t want to exchange my summers with the cattle on the pasture for anything else!”
The hunters also like to exchange stories in the mountain hut after hunting in the territory and describe their sightings, “A royal stag – a twelve pointer – at least 13 years in the woods. He’s already on his way to his rutting ground, and soon, the hinds will follow.” Those interested will learn a lot about the animal forest dwellers. Why deer, as an example, are unimpressed when hikers pass along the trail, but immediately take flight when you take a shortcut through their living room, the forest. Why they are cared for throughout winter in well-organised feeding areas and find their absolute quiet zone there. How much care wild game needs in its territory. The secrets behind hunting customs, such as sticking a branch under the brim of a hat, or special terms used in local hunting language.
Mountain hut hosts – a source of information
Your mountain hut hosts will join the conversation at the table after their work is done and listen to the stories. They are also the best source of information for the most beautiful hiking trails, the best places for herbs and berries, weather conditions or safe behaviour in the mountains. The landlady will also reveal the occasional traditional recipe from her mountain hut kitchen, and sometimes one may even watch her during preparation. If the landlord then brings out his own homemade mountain herb schnapps and tells you exactly where he found the various herbs and how they affect the body, then you know you have arrived in the inner circle at the mountain hut.
Top 5 conversation partners at the mountain hut table
- Your host or mountain hut keeper: He knows his mountains like the back of his hand and has the best tips for trips and rewarding views.
- The hunter: He knows the forest and its animals and provides hikers and bikers with useful background information to understand the habitat.
- The herbalists: They know all of the healing plants in the Alpine region and will gladly share their knowledge.
- The mountain hut cook: the sweet Lungauer Rahmkoch, Pinzgauer Kasnockn (traditional cheese gnocchi), Flachgauer elderberry compote – the cook will be happy to give you the recipes for their typical mountain hut dishes.
- The herdsman: He talks about what life on the mountain pasture is really all about, far from romantic clichés.