Impressions of the Riverwalk 2022
It feels like a silent commitment to the river, to the Ötztaler Ache. 11 days of getting to know the shape of the river, the valley, the human impact on the river’s ecosystems and the increasing flow velocity as well as the increasing bond between the participants.
And that’s how it all started:
A group of 12 young people met in Obergurgel, Tyrol. In the first days we spent some time on getting to know each other and talked about our expectations and needs. After successfully having acclimated to the alpine air and to the group we hiked up a mountain spotting the source of the Ötztaler Ache. Climbing up the mountain to 3006hm was a challenge, I must admit. Yet, it felt like we were getting closer as a group through little pats on the backs and sharing some snacks.
The valley welcomed us with cow bells ringing and a cold Johannisbeerschorle. We cooked our first meal and set up our tarp, our new wandering home. In the following days we not only discoved the different shapes of the valley and the river, but we were also offered different perspectives on hydropower. The spotlight was on TIWAGs hydro power plant expansion project Kaunertal. Our soon-to-be-friend and geology teacher Werner accompanied us for a little while and gave us some insights into the Ötztal and its geological history. To get various points of view we visited TIWAG (Tiroler Wasserkraft AG)’s visitor center. Also, residents and hydro experts told us about the impact of this mega project on the nature and cultural objects of this area.
As the days went by, we collected moments of making fire, nature connections, sitting at the campfire and singing together while we constantly listened to the sounds of the flowing river. Like the river we had our own obstacles, ups and downs through this intense nature and team-building experience. Nonetheless it was a unique experience of constantly listening to the sounds of the glacier river with a group of fascinating people.