Start: Schiestlhaus on Hochschwab, Tel.: +43 699 108 121 99, www.schiestlhaus.at
GPS grid N 47° 37' 19,5" E 15° 8' 54,2"
Destination / overnight stop: Seewiesen, the "Styrian Heiligenblut", tourist information, overnight accommodations: Tel.: +43 664 3548485, www.turnau.gv.at/tourismus
Cab services: Taxi Steiner Tel.: +43 3862 51333 and Taxi Hochschwab Reisen Tel.: +43 3861 2400
GPS grid N 47° 37' 14,3" E 15° 16' 15,3"
Stage length: 11.8 kilometers
Total walking time (without breaks): 4 ½ hours
Vertical meters ascent: 100 vertical meters
Meters in altitude descent: 1,310 meters in altitude
Difficulties: alpine trail without difficult parts, in bad weather / fog orientation not so easy!
This stage of the HOCHsteirische BergZeitReise corresponds to stage 15 of the overall Styrian long-distance hiking trail "from the glacier to the wine" - north trail.
Archduke Johann, the Styrian prince, starts from Seewiesen for the first touristic ascent of the Hochschwab - a monument still reminds of this alpinistic deed.
This high valley is a remnant of the glacial activity during the last great ice age and leads us, following it out of the valley, to the cozy Voisthalerhütte.
Here we should definitely plan a rest and enjoy the magnificent rock landscape of Edelspitzen and Karlmauer on the hut terrace - a fantastic climbing area.
Immediately after the hut, the trail descends more steeply through the Voisthaler Gassl and then briefly uphill again to the Franzosenkreuz.
This cross was erected in memory of the local people who once sought protection here from Napoleon's troops.
Once again, the descent is somewhat steeper, past the unmanaged Florlhütte, to the Lettanger, the valley floor near Seewiesen.
Following a wide forest path we reach the "Styrian Heiligenblut", as Seewiesen is also called, after about 30 minutes on foot. Here or on the neighboring Seebergalm (from Seewiesen another 45 minutes walk) we spend the night.
In 1818, the Archduke purchased the nearby Brandhof farm at auction and established a model estate for Alpine cattle breeding here. In 1829, he married Anna Plochl, the daughter of a postmaster, in the new chapel built there. Today, a sculpture in Seewiesen commemorates the work of the "Styrian prince". There is also a small Gothic church worth seeing, which is called "Styrian Heiligenblut". The church building dedicated to St. Leonhard, originally erected as the last pilgrimage site on the way to Mariazell, need not fear comparison with the Carinthian original - embedded in the panorama of the Hochschwab massif. The name Seewiesen, by the way, comes from a lake meadow that once filled the fertile valley floor here.
According to a legend, it was an evil spell that put everything under water. Thanks to the courage of a knight, the water drained away again and today only remnants of it can be seen.
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