Not All Who Wander Are Lost

We tried another Vienna city trail today, determined to actually follow the trail for a change. We packed a picnic and headed out to enjoy the beautiful, warm early spring day.

Stadtwanderweg 8 climbs the Sophienalpe, named after Archduchess Sophia, the mother of the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. Her summer home was located on the mountain. Now it is a national park, with several hiking and biking trails running through it, and great views from the summit, also known as the Franz-Josef Fernsicht (view) because he liked to sit there and enjoy them. It was good to be the Emperor.

Guess what happened? Really, we are not the world’s worst navigators. These trails are just not marked very well! So, though we basically knew where we were headed, we ended up climbing a small mountain through patches of stinging nettles. Only to pop out at the top onto a perfectly civilized, packed-earth trail peopled with babies in strollers and old folks. One lady was actually “hiking” with her walker. Kind of embarrassing, really. I guess if you have been living here a while, you just know the best routes.

Fortunately, the trip back down the mountain was relatively easy. But, I don’t mind saying: though we are used to hiking, we were pretty wiped out by the time we got back to the car. It may be time to invest in a handheld GPS.  Or at least find a much better map of the trails.

Still, it was, as always, a great day out in the Wienerwald!

Not a tombstone, or at least I don't think so.  Just an old trail marker with some early spring flowers peeking out beside it.
Not a tombstone, or at least I don’t think so. Just an old trail marker with some early spring flowers peeking out beside it.
Wow, a bottle tree!
Wow, a bottle tree!
This house is abandoned, but they are built so solid here that they never seem to fall down.
This house is abandoned, but they are built so solid here that they never seem to fall down.
A hunting blind in the woods.  It overlooks a hiking trail, which is slightly off-putting.
A hunting blind in the woods. It overlooks a hiking trail, which is slightly off-putting.
This is what trail markers are supposed to look like.
This is what trail markers are supposed to look like.
But if you cut down the trees, there is a clearly a problem with the system!
But if you cut down the trees, there is a clearly a problem with the system!
A hawk's nest at the top of a pine tree. We often see hawks circling over the Wienerwald.
A hawk’s nest at the top of a pine tree. We often see hawks circling over the Wienerwald.
"You are not alone in Nature."  I am not sure if this is meant to encourage environmental awareness or scare the heck out of hikers.
“You are not alone in Nature.” I am not sure if this is meant to encourage environmental awareness or scare the heck out of hikers.
Nice, tidy European woods. (The stinging nettles were on the other side of the mountain...)
Nice, tidy European woods. (The stinging nettles were on the other side of the mountain…)
Looking back up the mountain. Way up.
Looking back up the mountain. Way up.
A "hutte" along the trail. I am not quite sure what these are for.  Maybe a place to stay out of the rain?
A “hutte” along the trail. I am not quite sure what these are for. Maybe a place to stay out of the rain?
The forest floor is just starting to green up.
The forest floor is just starting to green up.
Alps in the distance.
Alps in the distance.
More mountains.
More mountains.
Vienna in the background.
Vienna in the background.
More semi-helpful signage.
More semi-helpful signage.
Every time we go hiking, we see trees piled up along the side of the road.  I am not sure what this is about.  They may literally be tidying up the woods.
Every time we go hiking, we see trees piled up along the side of the road. I am not sure what this is about. They may literally be tidying up the woods.
It seems that all that lumber is eventually turned into firewood.  Not sure who gets to burn it.
It seems that all that lumber is eventually turned into firewood. Not sure who gets to burn it.
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2 comments

  1. I was about to say GPS. I have a friend who constantly gets lost in Grand Teton Park, and I keep saying GPS and he keeps saying No. Apparently, he believes his experience would not be real if he had a GPS. I think he would just get out of the woods before sunset.

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