Tracing marmots at the Hohe Salve
A hiking tour to "Manggä Loch“
Since I grew up on a farmstead a little bit below the gondola summit station in Hopfgarten, the Hohe Salve is – as I lovingly call it – “my home mountain”. So, it’s not at all surprising that hiking in the Kitzbüheler Alpen has always been one of my great passions. It helps me keep the balance in my everyday life by bringing my body and mind back on track after strenuous days. My energy source is the smell and the exquisite tingling of fresh Tyrolean mountain air in particular which always make me feel at home at once.
Already as a child I loved being outdoors in all weathers. I explored the mountain, all its facets and rough edges and experienced many adventures. One of my most favorite spots in the Holiday Region Hohe Salve – then as much as today – I’m going to share with you now. So, off we go! But…. hush…on tiptoes please 😊
A real insider's tip
By the way, are you familiar with our small, shy fellow inhabitants on the mountain? Alpine marmots are rodents which live in groups of families in the mountains. They live in burrows connected by various tunnels and feed on greens. If you want to make your mark among us locals then you should avoid calling those lovely creatures “marmots” but, as we call them in our Brixental dialect, “Manggä”. Today I’ll show you where to find them on the Hohe Salve.
According to the saying “all roads lead to Rome” there are of course many different routes leading to my little friends at “Manggä Loch” (that’s how we locals call a marmot’s burrow). All routes can be found in the interactive map of the Kitzbüheler Alpen or you can turn to one of the local tourist information offices for more information. I, however, am going to share my favorite hiking route there with you. It leads via the two Salven lakes and is also perfectly suited for families.
I park my car comfortably at the carpark next to the cable car station in Hopfgarten. It only takes a few steps and I sit in the gondola which lifts me up to the middle station. After getting off I take a look at the huge information board of the panoramic mountain Hohe Salve outside the station.
Then I set off for my destination and follow path n°99 & 70 in the direction of “Speichersee Hohe Salve” and “Salvensee”. I walk along a wide forest path which is also well manageable with a pram. Apart from fantastic views down to Hopfgarten, Kelchsau and the Brixen valley you come by wonderful alpine pastures and forests on this well-signposted tour.
The ascent takes about 40 minutes and it is definitely worth the effort – the view from the Hohe Salve reservoir (“Speichersee Hohe Salve”) down to the valley is simply breathtaking. You should really have a lie- down in one of those comfortable wooden sunbeds which have been arranged around the lake. Take a break there and enjoy this amazing feeling of being in the mountains.
Then my tour goes on along the marked alpine gravel path and for a short bit through the forest. After about half an hour I get to the second lake, „Salvensee“. Up there, the fantastic view of all the peaks of the Kitzbühel Alps makes my heart beat faster every time anew.
I love to swing my legs in the cool water of the mountain lake – this is why I always carry a small towel with me in my backpack. After having my hiking boots laced tightly again and being filled with energy for the last bit of the way I am finally getting closer and closer to the marmots.
In order to catch sight of those small rodents it takes not only a great deal of luck but also the wind in our favor. I’m not joking - alpine marmots have an extraordinary fine sense of smell. If the wind comes from the right direction (from the opposite) then the chances are high to get really close to them. It goes without saying that it is essential to be really quiet and don’t pose a threat to the animals because the Manggä at the Hohe Salve are really shy.
But one thing at a time ...
I follow the way in the direction of the Foischingbahn mountain station. In the distance I can already see the summit of the Hohe Salve and the Salven chapel. Left behind the mountain station of Foischingbahn there’s an avalanche cone which protects skiers from snow masses in winter. And right there, at this cone, I’ve arrived at the home of my little friends, who – if I’m lucky – I will be able to see. Sometimes it takes a little bit of patience but I am sure that – if I behave correctly – I will discover our alpine fellows.
The marmots have a fine life because from the beginning of November to the beginning of April they hibernate. The mating season starts in May and after only 5 weeks little marmot babies are born. For the little ones there is nothing more important than feeding because they must build up fat reserves to survive the cold winter months. An adult animal eats about 1,5 kg greens per day. While the female marmots take care of their offspring, the males keep watch to protect the pack from danger. The smart mountain inhabitants warn each other with a shrill whistle from enemies such as eagles, foxes, hawks and martin.
My tip: look out for my small friends in the morning or in the late afternoon because they are diurnal animals.
Have fun on your discovery tour and let me know if you were lucky in your observation. I would very much appreciate to read from you in your comment.