Cliff-Edge Forest Above Werfen. Near Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves, Austria. July 19, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Forest trees and grassy meadow at the edge of a cliff above the town of Werfen, Austria
For looking to be such an astonishingly exposed location, this spot was actually quite easy to get to. Sorry if I disappoint anyone! ;-) Above the town of Werfen, Austria, not far from Salzburg, is a feature known as the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave. It is a well-known and popular tourist destination, and since our “guides” (family members who live in Germany) suggested it, we went and joined the other tourists. Although this post isn’t really about the ice cave, I’ll at least mention that it is quite a spectacular thing to visit. The cave itself is quite something, but so is the process of getting to it. The cave is located very high up the face of a cliff above the Salzach River valley, in a place that you would hardly imagine would be accessible by normal folks. However, a combination of hiking, taking a ski-lift style tram, and then hiking some more, this time on a well-constructed trail across the face of the cliff, brings you to the entrance to the cave.
After we finished our tour of the cave we emerged into the sunlight to see that it was clouding up. As we hiked down to the upper tram station we began to hear some distant thunder. The moist atmosphere became thick, and although it was still mostly sunny in the valley below, many of the distant valleys and ridges were becoming partially obscured. At one point the trail followed the contour of a small gully and looped back away from the cliff edge, affording a view back across this bit of meadow and forest that ended abruptly at the edge of the void where the cliff dropped to the Salzach Valley below.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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