Forest Bathing Tour Tip #2 - Green Lake & Cross Pond in Tragöß-Sankt Katharein

Richard Staudner
Richard Staudner

The Optimizer

More than ten years have passed since my last visit. The green lake lies in almost the same calm as it did back in 2010. Crystal clear, emerald green and as I remember, ice cold. 

It is one of the coldest lakes in Austria. And the last time I visited him, I dared to swim a crossing. I must confess, I'm talking about 30 meters at most, but even that eluded me. Without any knowledge of a "Wim Hof method" or other breathing techniques that defy the icy water, I had to give up in the middle of the pond and turn back. The cold water pierced me to the marrow and threatened to freeze my limbs. 

Unfortunately, I will never be able to make this good again, first there is no need for it - the experience at that time was unforgettable anyway - and second, it is no longer allowed.
Yes, since 2015 swimming and diving in the Green Lake is prohibited for nature conservation reasons, by the tourist board. This is to protect the bottom of the lake from turbulence, it could otherwise lose its unique color. This is understandable and nature has priority.

About the sadness of not gaining another bathing pleasure, I realized something else. The Green Lake is now a tourist attraction. Discreetly urbanized with paid parking, cigarette butt heaps at every seat and Sunday hikers equipped with Red Bull cans. Strollers are pushed along the narrow paths and here and there, you can hear "187 Strassenbande" on cell phones of visitors sunbathing in the grass.  

A small Danube island in the middle of the Styrian forest. For me, an idyllic Armageddon of superlatives. Forest bathing and downshifting at Green Lake? Past. 

If you, like me, are now terribly disappointed, then you must read on. Because now comes the part where the tide turns and a so far terribly disappointing forest bathing day turns into an unforgettable...

...but read on for yourself. 

The Cross Pond - Mother Nature's Bravura piece 

Laura and I set off again in the direction of the starting point. But via the path that leads past the cross pond. In the hope to be allowed there in the cool water. 

When we reached the lake, I saw through the branches a stream leading into the lake.

As I got closer, a picture revealed itself to me that once again showed nature in its full glory. Ice cold water making its way through the forest and quietly and innocently flowing into this romantic pond to become a part of something bigger. 

Slightly secluded from its big brother the Green Lake, it has so much more to offer. The nothing. Or the little. The tranquility above all.

There were hardly any people to be seen. Lying, after all, not so splendid emerald green in the full sun, but quiet and unhesitating in the forest. Restrained, but with a profound power in its silence. 

It lacks all the pomp that the green visitor magnet has that is just a few minutes away. No emerald green water and no large sunbathing areas in the grass to sunbathe. 

My heart opened and I felt this is the right place for my meditation and breathing exercises. And the stream my opportunity to cool down. 

At that moment the rain started, but I did not let myself be distracted and continued my meditation. The first drops were still cool, a few breaths later the rain even warmed me. When I opened my eyes, I was no longer part of the whole. This place, the pond, the rain, the joy in my heart, separated me from the rest of the world. 

I let another 30 deep and quick breaths pass through my body before I got into the water. The place was not particularly deep, but I know that from mountain streams.

When you lie down, it doesn't take deep water 🙂 .

The way back to the starting point, was then the completion of this forest bathing day.

Every step, every moment, more and more a feeling of freedom. 

The pond, so romantic a short time before, turned into a mystical place. Rain and fog enveloped it in an unsurpassable ensemble and gave it the grace of a fairyland as known only from "Lord of the Rings". 


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Mother Nature proved, as so often at the Cross Pond, her artistry and attention to detail. 

You have a tip for a forest swimming day for me? Please send me an email or comment on this blog entry. 

Warm regards


"Get to know water properly, and it will always be a reliable friend to you".

Sebastian Kneipp


Richard Staudner

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