Magical torchlight hike to the “Kalte Herberge”

The snow-covered mountain landscape is already immersed in a twilight aura. The sun has already shone its last rays over the mountain peaks some time ago. A small group of people gathers in Schmirn in the district of Toldern at the foot of the majestic Olperer. A unique experience awaits them: a torchlight hike through the snow-covered winter landscape that whisks them away into an enchanted world.

The torches are lit

The chill that can already be felt is eclipsed by the joyful anticipation of the experience ahead. The participants are decked out in warm jackets, hats and gloves, eager to discover the beauty of nature in its wintry attire. Melanie, a local mountain hiking guide, accompanies the hike and knows the area intimately. She will lead the group during this atmospheric evening.

Once the first torches are lit, the warm, golden light flickers on the snow and casts a magical atmosphere. Our small group makes its way to the small Wildlahner side valley – also the starting point for some of the most scenic mountaineering ski tours in the Wipptal. Our footsteps crunch in the snow and the air is filled with enthusiastic whispering and laughter. We turn right after about 10 minutes of walking towards the forest, where we continue on a snow-covered forest path.

The torches light the way brightly – no need for any extra light

Melanie tells stories about the region as the hike unfolds. Time flies on this dusky evening, because already we have reached the highlight of the hike: as we step out of the forest, a small clearing opens up and we catch sight of the little Kalte Herberge pilgrimage church – the landmark of the municipality of Schmirn. As the legend goes, on a stormy autumn day a shepherd came across a beautiful woman with an infant sitting under a large spruce tree. Overflowing with compassion, the shepherd called out to her: That’s a cold shelter you have! (which is the direct translation of “Kalte Herberge”) The woman and the child then vanished. After some time, people believed to have recognised the Mother of God in her and hung a copy of the Madonna and Child picture by Lucas Cranach on a tree in her honour. A humble wooden chapel was erected on this site back in 1730, which was soon replaced by a little church built of brick. The “Kalte Herberge” has always been a popular excursion destination in summer and winter to seek peace and quiet in nature.

A special moment in a special place

Following a brief rest with warming tea and stimulating conversation, the nocturnal hike continues. At this point, you completely forget about everyday life and the hustle and bustle that awaits you back in the valley. We approach the starting point again as the torches gradually begin to go out. We conclude with a warming drink at the Gasthof Olpererblick and reflect on what was an enchanting evening.

The light of the torches conjures up a special atmosphere

Tip: A guided torchlight hike takes place every Tuesday at 5.00 pm.
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