Lonely Planet's Walking in the Alps describes two walks above the town of Matrei in Osttirol. The short one gives views of up to 63 peaks over 3,000 meters. That's a lot of high mountains! And a pretty short walk, actually, however panoramic.
We choose to continue on to the longer walk, the Sudetendeutscher Hohenweg, which climbs along a ridge line with yet more great views. Then it ascends further into very alpine terrain up to over 9,000 feet, where there was a lot of snow left from a very snowy winter and spring. The weather held pretty good for our hike and it wasn't even too windy at the pass. Luckily not, as the descent was alongside cables on a rock face and then down some steep snowfields to a hut. I, ah, love running on snowfields, but stepped into a deep footprint during one section and slid a few feet on my stomach! No worries, it was warm out and we had a good laugh. Jim couldn't drag the camera out fast enough to catch me cleaned snow out of every pocket!
The wind was howling by the time we got to the hut, which was about halfway through the route. The place seemed deserted and we kept going downhill. From there it was a long descent past lots of waterfalls into a narrow valley. The trees in the bottom, amazingly, only seemed to be growing out of the large boulders, but not out of any bare ground!?!
The marmots and cows didn't seem to mind and just watched us walk by. And then the trail just kept going and going and going. The town below us was VERY tiny, and the rain showers kept getting closer. It did rain, enough to stop for waterproofs, but it didn't rain much and the sun even came out again. By that time we were sheltered in the trees on the descent and it was refreshing. I must admit that we were pretty tired by the time we finished another 20 mile day. The last few hours were all steep downhill on gravel and then paved roads leading back down to Matrei and our car. A very amazing place to hike, though...a true panorama of snowy peaks in every direction. Maybe next time we will hike up and take the cable car down?