THE POWER OF SILENCE
For Monika Günther, the Kitzbüheler Alpen mountain range has always been something meditative. Only there, alone or with friends, does she find peace and tranquility. It is the silence and beauty, as well as the route itself, that renew her strength for everyday life. She feels earthed to begin again.
After her KAT walk tour Monika relaxes on a bench at the Pillersee lake enjoying the Summer temperatures.
Why look for long-distance hiking trails abroad when Austria, or rather the Kitzbüheler Alpen region, has such fantastic potential in this regard? That is exactly what Monika Günther and her friends thought and so began to relocate their annual long-distance hiking tour holidays back home. Since then they have been encountering each other on St. Jacob’s Trail from Eastern Austria to Vorarlberg or on the KAT Walk, the Kitzbüheler Alpen Trail - the attraction of rediscovering old familiar things is what makes this hobby so fascinating.
The mountains as meditation
Monika Günther’s roots are firmly established in the mountains. Having settled down in Fieberbrunn, she is lucky enough to view the proud mountain summit of the Alps from her window. A view for which many holidaymakers have to save time and money for such a glimpse, is for Monika's soul a daily lottery win. “To be able to live here is a blessing.” As a young child she spent time with her parents and grandparents in the mountains. Later, Monika joined the Alpine Club with her brother – “The focus was not only on the mountain itself but also on social issues. The important thing was spending time together - walking, singing and having fun.” Nowadays, the grown woman likes to find her own path. “For me walking is like meditating. At the beginning of a tour your head is full of thoughts. Step by step they fade away and at some point your head clears. You come down to earth again. I need this balance for the day-to-day madness.” Hiking also has the distinct advantage that you can’t do anything else but hike – “You can’t read a book or check your e-mails. It’s just you, your physical being and the landscape. That is the big attraction for me, as well as just having to concentrate on the matter in hand. When I'm travelling by car, I always pack far too much. However, on a long-distance trail without luggage transport, every extra pair of socks is too much, so I have to be economical and only take what is really necessary".
Comfort on the KAT Walk
Fortunately, the baggage regulations on the KAT Walk, the Kitzbüheler Alpen Trail, are not quite as strict. Here, hiking guests can make use of the comfortable luggage transport and a light backpack will suffice everyday for the six stages from Hopfgarten im Brixental to St. Ulrich am Pillersee, while your suitcase is waiting in the hotel for your arrival. But the KAT Walk is not only characterised by first-class hotels, the best culinary delights and a perfect guiding service - it is the area itself through which the trail leads its guests: "The attraction is in the variety. During the day you are out and about in the mountains and in the evening you wander through Kitzbühel after dinner. View the legendary Streif, which you know from television and where Alpine history is written every year, and the next day you're sitting alone again on a green, grassy Alpine meadow with a view of the next stage’s destination - this combination is unique.
To enjoy all of this to the full, the correct equipment is necessary, as Monika knows only too well. When she’s not up the mountains, she’s working in the family-owned sports shop in Fieberbrunn where she advises the customers and has the correct clothing for every mountain and every type of weather conditions. “The most important things are suitable footwear and socks, as well as a well-fitting rucksack.” Her most valuable inside’s tip for blister-free hiking are hiking socks made from merino wool – “these absorb moisture keeping the feet dry thereby ensuring that you are not exposed to friction and can enjoy every step.” And that’s how it should be because the KAT Walk promises new highs for the soul with every metre of altitude gained.