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A place like from fairytale books

The perfect world - utopia? Not at all, it really exists. Quite hidden, completely untouched and incredibly beautiful. A natural jewel at the heart of the forest, a cloud cuckoo home away from civilization. A place that is otherwise only found in fairytale books, with ancient, humped huts, a wooden trough where fresh spring water bubbles and deer that luckily graze on the unmown clearing. But the gods put sweat on paradise. It's a quite steep ascent through the dense coniferous forest. After all, steps were installed on your climb so that it can be mastered with some effort but at least without danger. At some point this "ladder to heaven" also comes to an end, leading to a horizontal trail to the south. Just long enough to catch your breath before you gasp again. This time out of sheer surprise.

Steffi Falkner
About Steffi Falkner

Year of birth: 1975
Marital status:married to an authentic Tirolean guy from Ötztal
Activity: lives and works in a hotel, tourism company
Volunteer/Hobbies: hunting, mountains, family time on the mountain
Education: hunting license - hunter, certified mountain guide

About favorite place

Starting point: Niederthai, Hotel Falknerhof am Ursprung
Walking time, both ways: 1 ½ hour ascent, 1 hour back
Difficulty level: short mountain tour, intermediate, footpath up to 1859 m
Difference in altitude: approx. 350 m

Fata Morgana shaped out of longing

You rub your eyes and believe in a mirage. A hallucination formed out of longing. The picture is too perfect, you probably have seen it in your dreams. A scenic clearing opens up in front of us, which at first glance suggests that no one has ever entered it before. Only a jaybird warns of our visit.

Untere Hemerach Alm covers approximately two soccer fields, gently sloping downwards. It shines bright green in spring, dotted with varied colors in summer and in autumn it reflects a reddish shimmer of heather, blueberry and cranberry plants that change color. The scent of the forest also changes with the color, especially in late summer when berries and mushrooms are ready for picking. A shelter made of dark beams is open to anyone who wants to rest here or stay the night to experience a crystal clear morning.


Finding real wealth in simplicity

"Thayen", as Alpine huts are called in Tirol, stand in a clearing below. Shepherds built them a few hundred years ago to find shelter in any wind and weather. Now they are used by Ötztal locals for a few days off as a break from everyday life.

The Falkner family has also rented a hut, goes to bed with the first stars and wakes up with the early twittering of the birds. "I find the real wealth in simplicity," confesses the Saarlander who lives in Niederthai since the end of the 1990s. Out of love. Towards her future husband Peter and the place where she found exactly that feeling of life she had always been looking for.

"I still walked the hiking trail even when I was pregnant, then I tied my son Luis to my body to warm him and later I carried him on my back. By now, he develops a lot of imagination up there while playing in and with nature." Steffi also takes other children to Untere Hemerach Alm: "The girls tie flower wreaths, the boys collect beetles, proudly carve mushrooms out of wood with their first pocket knives and build caves out of branches." Skills that are no longer fashionable even in the mountain regions.


Water like champagne

A stream of water ripples out of a mountain brooklet, straight into a wooden trough in the center of the clearing. The water tastes like champagne, scooped with a hollow hand and drunk with devotion. There are a few stones under the fountain, on which the overflowing water comes together. We take off our hiking boots and wade through the ice-cold water of the small pond as a short Kneipp cure. A thousand sparks explode in your feet and the entire body, and make you forget tiredness at once.

"I climb Hemerach Alm when I'm fine, but also when I'm not so well," says Steffi. "Others may take refuge in a bar if there is bad news or workout in the gym. I just hike up to the mountain pasture and get a different perspective on life in the valley already after the first turn. And when the forest opens to the clearing, my soul opens too."


It feels like taking off

After a few hours, the woman with the many tasks descends into everyday life with a light heart. In a sustainable way. "Here on the mountain pasture I take my time, regain new strength. This is my personal luxury. This is my analog time-out!"

Längenfeld nestles deep below us. The majestic summit chain of the Ötztal Alps extends high above us on the opposite side: Fundusfeiler, Hauer Seeferner, Blockkogel. It feels like taking off! Steffi paints poetic word pictures: "I can hear the silence here", "I see dancing cobwebs and hear butterflies laughing" and "my little luck is also the greatest treasure that we have up here".

Further Favorite Places in Niederthai

Tauferberg Area


Enchanted forest of earth holes, grottos and boulders

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Brand Area


Exhilarating Alpine roses

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