Then off we go on a lantern hike with Hermann, the singing hiking guide. 

If the Salzburger Saalachtal as perhaps an insider tip itself, then Hermann is a very special one. Walking with him through the snowy landscape is intense. Sometimes there is humble silence, sometimes amusing conversation to the point of doubling over with laughter. And Hermann’s “Juhu” is liberation from the rat race of everyday life. “Dear people”, the qualified hiking guide begins his plea for the deeper meaning of life solemnly, “In everyday life we are overloaded with computers, mobile phones and laptops. And we don’t use our voices any more. But now we are going to yodel.” And with a loose tongue he shows us straight away, “Dje hui – djo di ri – a, dje hui – djo di ri…“, emerges freshly from his throat and everyone tries it themselves. It is especially exciting for the children as are Hermann’s descriptions of his childhood. He explains how he played hide and seek with Susi the pig and how a motherless fawn was raised on his mountain farm. He also explains how there was no electricity on the alm – and of course no television or other kerfuffle. When Hermann points at a rock formation which looks like a sleeping man, the entire group feels almost enveloped in a mystical atmosphere. But this two-hour tour actually begins in the village of Lofer where everyone sets off with a lantern in the twilight. The trail heads down to the “Teufelssteg”, (“Devil’s Bridge”), where the mountain guide has a story to tell of course. The devil, according to the legend, was supposed to have chased a farmer across the Saalach because he had gone astray. Did he catch him? “Certainly not”, reassures Hermann.

On the last stretch he strikes up the song “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne” (“I walk with my lantern”). When we arrive in Bairau the children pet the horses and goats. After that warm drinks and sausages are handed out around an open fire. Everyone senses the intense atmosphere which spreads. And of course there is a dash of raw adventure in the winter cold. This “mountain goat” has many qualities. And because he is so authentic everyone loves him. “Hermann you have made us sing today”, the guests thank him. One even says, “Everyone should have a Hermann.”  

We met Hermann and asked him a few questions:

Hermann, how long have you been a hiking guide and what made you do it?

Life is change. It challenges us to be curious and to keep moving. A private stroke of fate encouraged me to give my life a new direction. To observe the uniqueness of nature consciously every day and to experience this with interesting and like-minded people moved me to train as a Salzburg mountain hiking guide in 2016.

And what led you to overtone singing?

Singing for myself, experimenting with tones and resonating with these sounds – these were my first experiences with overtone singing. At that time I wasn’t aware of the talent hidden within me but I experienced deeply touching moments. 

Do you have particular tips for hiking?

In my opinion, the most important thing is to be aware of your own body and its needs. 

What is special for you about our hiking region?

Here are a few keywords which describe it: natural –  lovely – straightforward – the unobstructed Saalach – the valley floor with romantic hiking trails – the Steinberge with the imposing peaks– mystical places of energy – unique natural monuments …

I have fallen in love with the Salzburger Saalachtal and I would like to share my enthusiasm for this wonderful “little place” in my work as a hiking guide. 

More information about the singing hiking guide Hermann can be found at singender-wanderfuehrer.at.

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