Hiking on Wiff's trails

In Saalfelden Leogang there are over 400 km hiking trails, which wait for you to hike on them. Every single one is excellently maintained and responsible for this maintenance are men like Wilfried "Wiff" Lederer. Since 17 years Wiff, who now is in his mid-fifties, has been taking care of the hiking trails in the region.  

Orientation and safety

"As soon as the snow melts, I start to walk along the trails. Very often I am already on my way at the southern side of the mountains, when at the same time the guests are still skiing on the northern sides," says Wiff. He is equipped with a big belt, where all his tools are packed into. Then he starts his tour and has a look at the conditions of each hiking trail after the winter. The first thing to do is to check whether all the safety precautions and signs are still intact. "The hikers need to find their way around and the most important aspect always is safety. These are the things I always check first. While checking these aspects, I quickly see if anything is damaged and what else there is to do." Minor details are done by Wiff himself, however, when bigger jobs need to be done, his colleagues help him.

Wanderführer auf Wanderweg in Saalfelden-Leogang | © Florian Lechner

Hiking tours with the power saw

Most of the time, Wiff already knows in autumn how much work will be waiting for him in the springtime: "When everything is still intact, and the trees still have their leaves, then the snow is falling and then everything buckles and is lying all over," he says. "There have already been seasons, where I have been on my way for days with my power saw and tried to maintain all the hiking trails. I removed all the branches and buckled trees from the trails. Due to the fact that he has years of experience, Wiff suspects many jobs before he even knows what he has to do. So he knows what to pack and take with him. Often I need a lot of tools, from which some of them are really heavy. "However, due to the fact that I have everything with me, I can repair a lot of things right away and I do not need to walk along one single trail a few times." Wiff, who is mechanical enginees, laughs. The hikers often do not really apprechiate his work, but mostly take it for granted, is no problem for Wiff. "Most people do not even recognize that the maintenance of the hiking trails is a lot of work. But it is how it is. I really like my job." When he hears about (or someone tells him about) for example missing signs or broken benches, he is happy that someone tells him and does not take it as a criticism. "When I know about all these things, I can repair them."

Stille statt Hektik

Dass immer mehr Menschen auf "seinen" Wegen unterwegs sind, ist natürlich auch Wiff nicht verborgen geblieben. Seine Erklärung dafür klingt logisch: "Die Natur und die Stille sind ein wunderbarer Kontrast zu der ganzen Hektik, die viele Menschen sonst in ihrem Alltag erleben. Beim Wandern gehst du einfach los, und da ist nichts. Nur Natur." Übrigens: Wer glaubt, dass jemand, der Woche für Woche beruflich wandert, am Wochenende eher mal die Beine hochlegt, der täuscht sich. Zumindest im Fall von Wiff. Mit seinem Hund ist er auch privat viel unterwegs, dann aber meist auf jenen Wegen, die nicht so bekannt sind. Im Vergleich zu anderen Wanderern hat er allerdings einen kleinen Nachteil: "So ganz ausblenden kann ich die Arbeit natürlich nicht, weil mir immer wieder etwas auffällt", lacht er. "Aber das merke ich mir dann einfach. Reparieren tu ich am Wochenende nämlich nichts."