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Verditz, Schwarzsee and Palnock

 Dr. Birgit Stegbauer

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This easy hike takes you to the Verditz mountain range. The trail passes the lake Schwarzsee and leads to the top of mount Palnock where you'll be rewarded with an impressive view over the basin of the Millstätter See and of the Nockberge.

Even younger children can master this hike because it is short - the 10 km there and back will take about three hours - and the ascent is only 300 metres in altitude. On the way back, stop off at the cosy Schwarzsee-Hütte or a take the dry luge run in the lowest section of the cable car system. Verditz is only a 20-minute drive from Villach in the Gegendtal, at the southern border of the Nockberge Mountains.

In winter it is favoured by snow-hikers, in summer by downhill-moutainbikers. Nevertheless, the Verditz has a lot to offer for hikers, too. Even though it is easy accessible, thanks to the cable car, Verditz is not overcrowded, the trails are not on the razed ski slopes and the panoramic views are stunning. One could also entitle this excursion "the discovery of slowness". The old-fashioned cable car system is divided into three sections which will take you on a leisurely ride towards the top of mount Verditz.

Of course you can cheat and drive up to section II with your car; but from that point, at the very latest, you have to adapt to the rhythm of the cable car. And that rhythm gets one into a mood far removed from the stress and hustle bustle of everyday life. Once you have been carried to the top of mount Verditz (1.900 m), follow the signposted trail to Schwarzsee where you will arrive within a short time. This muddy lake is fed only by rain and melted snow and can even disappear in dry years. It is populated by newts, little amphibians of dark colour, about 10 cm long, with a yellow-orange underbelly. You will find them easily, and more newts can be seen in the tarns on your way to mount Palnock.

From Schwarzsee, the trail continues through a little enchanted larch forest, then along the edge of the tree line where it crosses green pastures before it finally climbs to the gently curved top of mount Palnock (1.901 m). The panoramic views from the Palnock to the Millstätter See and in the direction of the Mirnock are gorgeous.

The pasture on top of the mountain invites one to rest, savour one's surroundings and have a picnic. Mount Mirnock (2.110 m) seems relatively close and indeed you could proceed along a trail in this direction. However, its many ascents and descents mean that this tour is only to be recommended for hikers in very good condition. Our family has never succeeded in hiking further than mount Rindernock, the last top in front of the Mirnock. If you plan to ascend the Mirnock, consider the alternate route which starts from Wieseralm (2.5 hours each way), and which can be reached by car via Afritz.

On the way back from the Palnock you can stop off close to the Schwarzsee at the Schwarzsee-Hütte. The pasture-keepers offer home-made products and Carinthian specialities, there is also a little playground and pet animals for the kids. If you decide to ride the dry luge run at the end of this excursion, you have to walk as the cable car is not running any more!

Schwarzsee-Hütte Fam. Pirker, Verditz 133, 9542 Afritz-Verditz Tel: 0664 - 476669

 

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