Friday, July 13, 2012

Austria, Part III: You must be freaking CRAZY!!!

Yes, we really truly must be freaking out of our minds CRAZY, and I'm going to tell you why. We woke up with another day of unplanned adventures. The weather wasn't really lending itself to a day for swimming, and we knew we wanted to go for another hike, but we weren't sure exactly where. So, we packed the car for one of each scenario or at least close to it.

Our Seenland card got us free rides up three lifts including the Reitherkogelbahn and the Wiedersbergerhornbahn, which we took advantage of for our earlier hike. There was one more lift we could use the Seenland card for and there was a hike at the top to an Alpine glacier lake. We were hesitant because the description stated that the ride up was a single chair lift; not exactly something we could do with little r, but we wanted to check it out anyhow.

We found where the chairlift was located, and sure enough, it was a single chair lift. Again, the description did not lead us wrong, but we were disappointed. There was no way we were going to bring little r up the mountain on this lift - no way! Big R really wanted to go up to the top, so I offered to go ask the lift operator if we could bring our 2 year old up the lift with us. I didn't even have to ask because my insides were telling me, "no." Then I was practically overrun by a woman with her small child and her husband and she was all too excited to take the lift up. She asked the question for me, and the response was, of course, "he is too small to ride on his own, but he can go up with you." Well, of COURSE he can, right? So, I asked about little r, and the answer was the same. Not even a flinch. These must be things that people do around here all the time - no biggie. The guy didn't even seem remotely alarmed that we would want to bring our toddler up the mountain in a single chair lift, why would he?!

So, here we are, staring at each other. I'm in complete shock that Big R, who is terrified of heights and on any normal day would never in a million years dare to do the chair lift on his own, is now not only brave enough to ride the lift, but is also willing to hold his tiny son on his lap the entire ride up. What?! Well, ok, baby, if that's what you want to do, let's go for it. Do you think it's normal to be this crazy? Big R reminded me that to not have any angst about it would be anything but normal, so all would be ok.

And there we went, baby bear in my lap, holding onto him for dear life and wishing I didn't hear the operater tell me that there were two lifts that were each 17 minutes long. Oy! Longest 40 minutes EVER. But, we made it up, and the ride was pretty darn cool, I do have to say.

I held little r on the first leg up...
Big R took over for the second part of our journey up the mountain
Sweet views of the mountain as we ascended through the clouds

The few descriptions we'd read about this "walk" to the Zireiner See (Lake Zirein) gave Big R the impression it would be a relatively chill jaunt. The map did not make it look terribly far from the lift, and after our hike the other day, we expected the trails to this popular destination to be wide and easy to climb. Oh boy, we were so very wrong. The mountain was beautiful, I'm not going to deny that at all, but the trails were better described as goat trails, and they were very wet, super slick, and I'd put the hike in the moderately challenging category.

Big R and I have done our share of tricky and challenging hikes, but for some reason this seemed especially intimidating. Maybe it was the fact that we were wearing tennis shoes instead of hiking boots, or that little r was hiking the trail with us, which meant we were carrying him a fair amount, or maybe it was just the fact that we were a tad bit unprepared for what to expect. Whatever it was, we had a true adventure on our hands. I had an exciting fall with little r in my arms that helped us decide to change things up a bit and have Big R do more of the heavy lifting. We also figured out that we went the HARD way. The signs are never perfectly clear, and there's always more than one way to get to your destination. We just decided to go the exciting route. Haha. I have never been so excited to see an Alpine lake in my life!

I can't lie though, it was really pretty freaking beautiful and totally worth it...I think ;)

little r was hiking like a mountain goat - we were so impressed!
Ahhh, the Zireiner See! BEAUTIFUL!
YAY - we made it!
A photo opportunity with Daddy on the lake
A real glacier - too cool! Big R was in awe!
Pretty view of the lake on our hike out.
The weather cleared as we walked back down to the mountain lodge. It was amazing how fearless Big R was when he had to be responsible for keeping little r safe. I enjoyed watching them hike down in front of me as I held my breath on tight and steep crevices, and smiled when little r would climb over rocks to keep up with his daddy.

We grabbed some lunch and prepared ourselves for the crazy journey back. What goes up, must come down, right? Yikes! Have you ever gone down a chair lift before? It's quite frankly NUTS and holding onto little r was going to make this mama lose her lunch. Lucky for me, little r decided he wanted to ride down with daddy. I think me falling down the hill holding him was all he needed to know that Big R was probably a better bet on this one. I'm not even technically afraid of heights, but taking those two chairs lifts down that mountain was easily one of the scariest things I've ever done. Craziness...pure craziness...

Here we go - hold on tight, little r!
The happy cows we saw on the ride up were still enjoying the same field of grass - just love hearing those cow bells
We got some beautiful views of the valley on our way down the mountain
And...he almost fell asleep. Big R claims he was singing to him - wish I could have heard him!
Holy crap - can you tell that this is straight down?!
And....breathe, mama, we finally made it all the way down. What an adventure, so typical of us. We are downright, bonafide, nutjobs, that's all there is to it. But we made it, of course we did, and we now have some incredible memories of that crazy trek to the Alpine glacier lake called Zireiner See. Totally worth it, but I'm not real sure I'd do it again.

Something tells me he would though. That smile says it all, doesn't it? The kid had a great 'ol time. I needed to give my heart a break, so we drove back to the barn to freshen up for our next outing: Dorffest in Alpbach.

I'll tell you all about our trip to Alpbach for the festival and the rest of our Austrian adventures in my next post - STAY TUNED!


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