"Großer Stein", the big stone, wants to be discovered, the mystical place has to be conquered. We wade through dense bushes of berries, bend down under deep ceilings of rock, find our way back to the light along dark walls, shimmy over narrow granite bridges. Actually we find the exit of this millennia-old maze. And then it lies in front of us - at the highest point of the cave hike. Powerful, impressive, incredibly breathtaking in its simple form: Großer Stein - the big stone. Not to be confused with "Hoher Stein" which can be found at another point on Tauferberg. It rises completely smoothly at a certain angle towards the sky, then falls vertically downwards with a sharp edge as if sawn off. Formed by the glacier, moved by primal forces. A giant monolith.
A green carpet of moss in front of us, we accept the invitation and climb the gentle slope. It's fairly easy, the many narrow channels make slipping almost impossible - even for less experienced mountain hikers. I dare to walk to the edge until I start to understand. Why this stone is Niki's favorite place. Because every artist would have won a prize for its shape. And because it's a fantastic vista point! In front of us, the wide open sunny plateau of Niederthai, framed by eye-catching summits. Niki knows them all: "The view stretches from Bergle over Narrenkogel, Poschachkogel and Peistakogel to Weites Kar, Zwieselbacher Rosskogel and from Brand to Hemerkogel." A widescreen panorama reminding of a sentimental film. Only in real. And without an acoustic amplifier. You don't need it here. Silence is the sound of the mountains. "Although the stone is very close to the marked hiking trails, it is completely isolated. There is no distraction here," Niki states. "Here you can simply reflect, lie in the sun or enjoy the view."