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In the tracks of animals in the wild

Romantic snow-shoe hike in the lower Defereggen valley area.

The starting point for the hike is around 5 minutes’ drive to the west of St. Jakob i. D. at the Katzental bridge. This is located on the route to the Staller Sattel, right after the town of Erlsbach, where there is plenty of car parking available. After adjusting our snowshoes we hike, equipped with telescope and several sets of binoculars in a westerly direction, through deep snow-covered forests. The Schwarzach flows to our right, shimmering out of the valley, beneath thick ice sheets and we can hear it babbling now and then. Animal tracks can be seen throughout the area. What night-time forays do they recount? A secret which will of course be revealed. After around half an hour of walking, the forest slowly clears, providing an open view to the other side of the valley, where steep rocky flanks jut out. An ideal location to see one wild chamois or another and watch it feeding on the sparse winter rations. To have wildlife seem almost within touching distance there is also the chance to look through the telescope which has x60 magnification, so you can discern all the hidden details. A gradual ascent proceeds through a spruce forest, taking us, depending in the time of year, into an area of warming sun and our refreshment stop point. Everyone has the chance to munch on the snacks they have brought with them (don’t forget your tea!) and take a look at the area using binoculars. The return route takes us initially via a wide forest trail, slightly uphill, to Staller Sattel. After 15 minutes of walking we bear left and walk at a leisurely pace, full of pictures in our mind, back to the starting point.

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