The Mammuthӧhle, or Mammoth Cave is so named, not because mammoths were found there but because of its size. To get there we had to retrace our steps back to Schӧnbergalm and then take another steep and winding path up through the forest in a different direction, until we reached the cave entrance. The track led along the edge of the mountain side and we knew that the valley was nearly 1000 metres below us, but the clouds seemed determined to cling to the trees and we couldn’t see beyond the cable car station.
Like the Eishӧhle the entrance to the Mammuthӧhle is small and unremarkable, but the Mammuthӧhle is a dry cave with several entrances and much warmer temperatures. It wasn’t always dry though and was formed millions of years ago when a mighty river flowed through it, gouging out the limestone as it went. Over 60 km of the cave’s passageways and chambers have been explored – we walked in about one km and even that short distance was enough for us to experience the enormity of this space.
When we’d entered the Mammuthӧhle it was overcast and light, misty rain was falling, but when we came out an hour later the sun was shining and the cloud had begun to clear, giving us our first glimpse of the valley below. The weather gods had answered our prayers at last…for the moment anyway.