Wake-up call on the alm
At 4.15am we drive from the Tux-Center in Lanersbach to the starting point of our sunrise hike in the Ziller Valley; the Nassen-Tux-Alm at an altitude of 1,843 metres.
When we arrive, the lights are already on in the hut and barns and the farmer is busy milking the cows. This fresh, silage-free milk will be transported directly from the alm to the dairy in Mayrhofen, where it will be processed and used to make delicious produce such as various local cheeses.
It’s still quite dark, so we use the light from our head torches to guide us as we climb to the highest point of the alm at an altitude of 2,020 metres. A strong storm the night before means that the ground is quite wet. However, treading carefully, we enjoy the walk up to the Hochalm despite the muddy path.
The animals of the alps
One man’s joy is another man’s sorrow, as the saying goes, and this is the habitat of the alpine salamanders, known in the Ziller Valley as Wegnarren (the fools of the path), who come out after rainfall. They are amphibians and don’t need water to reproduce. After a pregnancy of 2 to 4 years, depending on the altitude, female salamanders will give birth to one or two live young. They protect themselves from predators, fungi and bacteria by excreting a poisonous toxin.
Herbs an remedies
The path continues left from the Hochleger Nasse Tux to the Torsee lake. Here we experience the full bounty of the alpine nature: fresh cress growing in small streams, arnica in full bloom (a universal remedy for alpine folk), rowanberries in the woods above, and masterwort and gentians, the roots and berries of which are used by the schnapps distilleries in the Ziller Valley to produce the very best "medicine for the soul".
Flora an Fauna at Suntrise
The steep mountain meadows with their array of wild flowers are a real spectacle in the early morning sun. We reach the Torsee lake, at an altitude of 2,258m, just in time for sunrise. The Torwand mountain is reflected in all its glory in the lake’s surface. We are now in the realm of marmots and chamois and don’t have to look hard to spot them.
The chamois graze peacefully on the slopes of the Torwand and the marmots greet us with their loud whistling. We are in a true paradise of nature. The highlight of our tour is the golden eagle soaring from the Ramsjoch over the meadows around the Torsee, trying to spot its favourite prey, the marmot.
On the path from the Torsee lake to the Ramsjoch we encounter still more types of flower. Now we have reached the right altitude for high alpine flora such as rockfoils (saxifrages) with their colourful flowers. The intensive colours of the blooms make them attractive for pollinators and protects them from the strong UV-rays from the sun.
Views into the distance
On the Ramsjoch at 2,508m, next to the summit cross which was erected in the year 2000, we enjoy incredible views of the Tuxer glaciers and use our binoculars to get a closer look at the peaks of the Riffler, the Gefrorene Wand and the Olperer mountains. As we make our way down, we summit another mountain peak; the Grübelspitze at 2,395m, an easy to reach peak with amazing views over the eastern Zillertal and Tuxer Alps in the hiking area of Lanersbach/ Eggalm. We finish our sunrise tour at the top of the Eggalm cable car at 1,948m with a relaxing coffee break.
For hikers with a good level of fitness I can highly recommend the descent to Lanersbach or Juns via the Waldhoaralm and Brandalm. However, on this occasion, we decided to take it easy and instead enjoy the views of the Rastkogel, Penkenjoch, Grübelspitze and Olperer from the Eggalmbahn cable car.