What a treat it was to discover one of the longest and deepest wild water ravines in the Alps—the Liechtenstein Gorge in Austria! The gorge is obviously ancient, but it was first developed as a tourist attraction in the late 1800’s by local residents. Water has cut through the rock here to create a chasm that is 300 meters deep (nearly 1,000 feet)!
After paying the entrance fees we started along a boardwalk that winds its way up a narrow gorge in the canyon.
Water flowed quickly underneath our raised path, and we were all happily looking over the edge of the guardrails to see how far down the water had cut a into the walls of the canyon. (looking down)
As Maiya stood with her feet up on a rail, peering over the edge, a concerned couple warned her to get down (let me add that she was not overly high up or doing anything particularly risky).
Well, if anyone knows nearly-5-year old Maiya, they know that she doesn’t take to criticism all that well—she instead gets highly embarrassed. Embarrassment turns into a wail of a cry. So, this well-meaning couple (that couldn’t let Maiya’s own mother take care of her) instead made her break down in inconsolable tears.
The tears flowed and flowed, and she collapsed into a lump on the boardwalk.
It. Was. Awesome.
Thanks, strangers that couldn’t mind their own business.
The next 15 minutes were spent trying to get her to stand up. Jared was already wrangling 2 year old Ethan, so he walked ahead with Ella and I was left with the crumpled child whose cries had turned into loud wails. I finally got so frustrated that I told her I was leaving, and I walked around the nearby corner of the trail where I could hear her, but not see her. There weren’t many people, and all I had to do was crane my neck around the canyon wall’s bend to see she was still there. This is often the only tactic that works–to make her forget why she is crying, and help her become concerned about following after me.
She still wasn’t budging, and when I next craned my head over a German-speaking woman was approaching her, with a look of concern on her face. I returned to Maiya’s side and assured the lady she was okay. The woman responded in English, “No, I think she is scared.”
“No, she is NOT scared. She does not want to walk and is throwing a fit.”
“No, she is frightened of the water.”
Grrrr. Believe me, lady…I know that my daughter has never had a fear of heights or water, and she is simply having a mental breakdown because she is embarrassed about being corrected (i.e. chastised) by a stranger.
I gave up, picked Maiya up (I’m not too found of carrying 4 1/2 year olds with my limited 5’ stature), and we continued on our way. The lady walked back down the path like she was on a mission, and after whispering to Maiya that she may be reporting us to the authorities, Maiya finally got over herself and continued to happily walk on.
She even stopped happily for photos. A little late, Missy.
We continued and caught up to the rest of the family. It was gorgeous, and the photos certainly don’t do it justice.
The boardwalk path hovered precariously over some parts of the gorge, and when there was no longer room to keep the boardwalk alongside the chasm walls, we suddenly found ourselves in caves that were drilled through the stone walls.
It wasn’t too long of a walk to get to the top of the gorge, although these kinds of things always take longer with children.
At the top a nice American man took a photo for us (he was there with his Austrian wife and American children, reliving the days when he met his sweetheart in this area).
We then turned around and retraced our steps back down, now at a gentle decline towards the parking lot.
It was such an enjoyable morning hike for our family! When we walked the final steps to our car Ella and Jared both declared it was their favorite day ever. What a statement (particularly from a hard-to-impress little girl)!
It really was a beautiful day, and a hike we would love to do again! Maybe next time we can make it in early August when they do a special nighttime opening of the gorge, they illuminate the path with lights, and they play classical music (Mozart, methinks?!)—it’s called the Klammwolke! I’d love to go!