Via Alpina – second half

What a ride! I can’t believe how fast the second half went over. There have been some highs and lows, which is totally normal, but let’s come to that later. In general, the Via Alpina was a great adventure. Hiking through my home country showed the beauty of it and also made me realized how different thruhiking is in Switzerland than in the states. I am genuinely grateful, that I was able to do this hike! I hiked through areas I’ve never been before and was amazed by the beauty. I appreciate this opportunity to explore my home country Switzerland! There’s always something positive, you just have to see it 🙂

Day 10 – Zero day in grindelwald

After 9 days of hiking I was happy to take a zero day (that’s what you call a rest day, zero km). My parents visited me and together we ride up to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe! It’s one of the tourist hotspot in whole Switzerland. Usually, people from the whole world (and mostly asians) visit this place, because it’s just so special. As I walked the day before down to Grindelwald, I could understand why people come here. The scenery is just so unique and very impressive! These huge Mountains protrude just out of nowhere and you got this massive wall of Granit in front of you. When we took the train up to Kleine Scheidegg we were surprised of how many people there’ve been. Luckily, we reserve our seats for the train up to Jungfraujoch. My dad and I got super lucky, the driver invited us two to sit in front with him, which was so freaking cool!

I really enjoyed the day with my parents and the sightseeing that we did! Sometimes up there I felt like in Disneyland and it was a bit too much. But I guess, it’s a once in a lifetime thing, so it was fine for that. It made me also realize how different it is to hike up a mountain or to ride a train up a mountain – totally different feeling of accomplishment.

What I forgot to write in the first post of the Via Alpina, I lost my hiking pass on Day 7 short before Surenenpass! I was really annoying and relieved at the same moment, because it was sometimes a struggle to find that stamp box in a town.. On the other side I thought it’s a sign that I shouldn’t do it. So I was like okay, fuck it 😉 So I’m telling this y’all, because when we sat in a restaurant at Kleine Scheidegg somebody texted me on FB that they found my hiking pass! Ohh man, I really didn’t thought anybody would actually take it with them and they also stamped it for me! So kind of them, thanks again Max and Vera! They also walk the whole trail and will continue to stamp it for me 🙂

Day 11 – Mürren to gspaltenhornhütte

I had breakfast in the youth hostel we stayed in. I decided to take the train and gondola up to Mürren. Some people will call it cheating (it technically is), but I didn’t wanted to hike next to the train up a mountain. That’s just not fun and really unthankful in my opinion. There are a few reason why choose to take the train instead of hiking. Let me explain it 🙂 First of all I’m not a purist. For me it’s okay to hike not every step, if it isn’t enjoyable. It is about the smiles, not the miles. Right? Secondly, I had a daypass for the train. So why not using it instead of not enjoying the hike. But most importantly I took the train, because I wanted to meet up with some hiking friends in the Gspaltenhorn hut!

I arrived at about 11am at Mürren and started my hike in direction to the Sefinenfurgga (that’s the pass). The hike was really nice, perfect views to Jungfrau, which was right opposite of where I was. They trail was leading by the Rotstock hut, I had a late lunch a bit above the hut. I got from the hostel a lunch package, so I ate that. After the break the trail got a little steeper and the last bit to the pass was covered in snow. It was quite steep and I was happy I got my microspikes (my parents brought them). I didn’t needed them, because the passes before weren’t that high. On top somebody took a picture of me! The actual Via Alpina went down to Griesalp, but I took the way to the hut. It was still pretty covered in snow, so I had to cross a few snowfield. It was already afternoon when I was up there and the weather was about to change soon. I still had 1.5 hours to the Gspalterhorn hut. I was hiking slow, because of the many snowfields. There were some risky parts, so I took my time. At the Hut, Helen welcomed me with a hug! We had a lovely evening together, talking and sharing stories to each other. Helen and Malcolm are doing the same hikes as I do just in the other direction. So we will see each other a second time somewhere on the alpine pass trail. They are really nice people and it’s always great to see them!

day 12 – Gspaltenhornhütte to kandersteg

In the night it was raining and even hailing I think. Breakfast was early and I started hiking around 7.15am. After a short Goodbye to Helen and Malcolm, I set off. I took the trail down to the glacier, which Helen and Malcolm recommended to me and it was really cool. There wasn’t actually any glacier left instead there was a gorge you crossed over a bridge. On the other side it was going up super steep to the Hohtürli pass. Oh dear, it was really steep and I was hiking really slow. There were some snowfields to cross and the last bit there were stairs. Up on the pass I was exhausted! I walked up a few more steps to the hut, where you had an amazing view!! I sat there and had a break. I also met another hiker and we chatted a bit. After the break it went all downhill to the famous Lake Oeschinen. Short before the lake I took the highroute and not the actual Via Alpina. The trail followed along the side on the same height and you had perfect views down to the lake! Down to Kandersteg I took the Gondola. There was a big thunderstorm coming and I really didn’t to get in it. Because of that, I also spontaneously decided to sleep in a hotel than camping somewhere. In the Hotel I had a whole dorm in the cellar for myself. I had Pizza and two beers for dinner! The thunderstorm didn’t stayed for long, so in the evening the sun was shining. But whatever, it was still nice to take a shower and sleeping in a bed 🙂

day 13 – Kandersteg to geils (adelboden)

I set off pretty late for my standards, because they didn’t serve breakfast before 8.00am. I asked them, if it was possible to get breakfast earlier and she said I could come around 7.45 (yay, 15min earlier). The trail was first leading up through a forest till an alp. There were cows with little babies. I know, that they can be very protective and you really shouldn’t approach them. But I still had to go through them… Everything went well till that one cow starred at me and walked straight towards me. Damn, I was terrified! I stopped for a moment and then made a curve around the cow. Luckily she didn’t follow me! I guess, the cow just wanted to show me who’s the boss on the field. After the cows the trail led up zigzag to another meadow. The views up there were incredible! You could see again Lake Oeschinen on the other side and the hut, which I came from yesterday. It was still some way up to the Pass. From the Pass you could already see the town of Adelboden. The weather was good that day, there were some clouds, but it was fine. As I was in Adelboden I went to a Bakery and treated myself with a dessert. I ate lunch on a bench on the pedestrian zone of Adelboden. Again I felt like the attraction of town.. I still don’t know, why people stare at a women with a backpack. It was about 3pm and I felt like I should keep going, so I did. The trail was mostly on a gravel road (as very often), which wasn’t that exciting. In Geils, a little town where more ski lifts than houses are, I wasn’t sure where to camp. I was desperate, so I asked a elderly couple if I could camp in their garden. They didn’t agree at all (and I felt embarrassed) so I kept going. Afterwords I ended up camping next to a ski hut. I had a little low point that evening. I was just annoying by everything: the cows, road walking, walking under the gondola, the struggle with camping, the weather, the civilization which is everywhere. I wasn’t sure if I really enjoyed it as much I thought I would. Good thing of civilization is there is reception, so I could text friend who lifted me up!

day 14 – geils to gstaad

On that day I walked 1.5 stages in one day, because once again the weather mixed up my plans. In the morning I hiked over the Hahnenmoospass and down to Lenk. Almost the whole trail was on gravel roads! Not very exciting.. At a restaurant I stopped for a coffee. The weather was still pretty good in the morning. In Lenk I hiked past the railway station, parts of me were tempted to just take the train home. But I’m not a quitter! After a short break in Lenk I set off to the Trütttlisbergpass. The trail went along a popular walk in a gorge, where a lot people were. The gorge was really nice! After that the trail went up on a gravel road in the forest. On the way uphill it started to rain and I was using that time to have lunch at a house’s bench. The houses can be a advantage when the weather is getting shitty! It didn’t rain for long so I went on. There were everywhere flowers, soo pretty! Just after the pass was this place where you had an incredible panorama and perfect camps spots! I immediately stopped and was like, I’m gonna camp here! I chilled there for about a half an hour and then checked the weather. The forecast for the night and the next morning was heavy rain… great! So I hiked down to Gstaad and stayed in the Youth Hostel. I didn’t want to camp in rain, if I don’t have to. Guess what, the trail down to Gstaad was also on a gravel road! I got mad about these gravel roads.. this is not how I imagined it! In the Hostel was also staying a swiss team of orienteering.

day 15 – gstaad to camping le cuizon (la Lecherette)

I slept really well that night and didn’t want to get up so early, because I knew it was supposed to rain. So I went for breakfast without packing my stuff before. I took the bus back to Gstaad and went to the grocery store to buy some food. I started hiking around 9.15am. The weather looked okay then, but about a hour later it was pouring rain down. I was in the middle of the climb out of Gstaad and went from tree to tree. On top there was a gondola station in construction. The workers looked very confusing at me, when they saw me walking in the rain. I was sitting out the rain under a roof at a restaurant’s terrace and had some nuts. When I was just about to leave another hiker appeared! She was also hiking the Via Alpina and on that day she was the only person (and the workers) that I saw on trail. The weather cleared up and I made my way up to the Trittlisattel, which was a really nice walk. It followed a ridge and the views were great. That’s how I imagined the Via Alpina! I imagined also the PNT could be like this. I had a great lunch spot with a good view over the valley. On the Pass it was super windy and I had to take of my hat. The pass was also the cantonal border from Bern and Vaud and from this point on people speak French. The trail was going down to L’Etivaz, which were just a few houses. I decided to do a short cut via Lake L’Hongrin. The actual trail would go to Chàteau-d’Oex and then back up to Rochers de Naye. I came to this abandoned village La Lecherette, where I really felt somewhere else than here in Switzerland. It was already 6.30pm when I was there, so I walked along the road to the campsite. There were only a few people on the campsite and nobody at the reception. I stayed there for free! The area I was hiking in was in a nature reserve and I really didn’t want to camp in there, because you shouldn’t. I had a relaxing evening 🙂

day 16 – Camping Le Cuizon – Rochers de naye

In the morning my tent was all wet from condensation and it was really chilly. It was my last full hiking day and what a day it was, the weather was just perfect – blue sky and sunshine! I could already see my goal for the day in the morning. It looked so far away, but within 5hours I was up there 🙂 I was hiking along the Lake L’Hongrin, which is a artificial lake and really beautiful. The Lake is shaped like a starfish. I really enjoyed walking along it, though it was on a road. But I was used to it and it was almost my last day. After the Lake it went uphill to the Mountain Rochers de Naye. When I came up on the rigde I could see Lake Geneva for the first time. I got a bit emotional, this is what I came for! I really made it to here 🙂 As I got higher and higher the views got more and more beautiful. It was a hot day and I was happy when there was sometimes some wind to cool down. Rochers de Naye is a touristic spot and there’s also a cog railway going up. So when I finally made it up there, so many people were up there. In my mind I said to all of them “Fuck off, you didn’t walk up here”. I didn’t mean it angry, but I was just a bit annoyed by so many tourists. You got up there with all your powers and they just ride up there.. it’s just not the same! It is just such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you made it up there by foot!! I decided to stay up there in the Hotel/Restaurant for the night. It was such a great place and it was my last night on trail. This was the most perfect place and day to finish such a hike!!! I had hash browns and a big beer for lunch. As I was drinking my beer the girl from yesterday showed up and we chatted for a while. She actually read my blog, which I shared to the FB Group of the Via Alpina. What a coincidence! I was sitting in the shade the whole afternoon. At 6pm all the tourists were gone, because then the last train was going down. Then I had this amazing place almost for myself 🙂 I had a queen sized bed for myself and couldn’t been happier to be there! The sunset was so stunning and I took tons of pictures! I was so thankful to be there, to do this hike, to everything 😀

Day 17 – Rochers de naye to montreux

I took my time on that day. Some parts of me just didn’t want it to get to a end and the other part want it so badly. But first, I had breakfast! They even had Pain aux Chocolate, yummi! I packed everything up and started to hike at about 8.45am. In the beginning it was a nice ridge walk then in the forest. It ended up on a gravel road, of course (haha). I walked across the tracks of the cog railway and trough a village. Close to Montreux the trail made a curve and went through a spectacular gorge! First it wasn’t so interesting, but suddenly I thought I was in a rainforest. Well, I was never in one, but I imagined it that way. There were big walls covered in green plants, which were hanging down. It look really beautiful and you couldn’t hear anything else than the stream. The temperature was nice and cool. Civilization hit it, when a huge bridge appeared above and you saw the pillar. The town of Montreux looked like you were somewhere south in Italy. The buildings were old and there were little alleys. I followed the markings to the actual endpoint. There was a sign with a quote of Goethe “Nur wo Du zu Fuss warst, bist Du auch wirklich gewesen.” in english “You only really were where you were on foot.” I was a little disappointed by it. But hey, I didn’t hike here for a big monument!

After that I walked along the lake promenade to the next grocery and bought food. Oh man, I couldn’t hold me back.. I just wanted all! I bought sushi, hummus, carrots, cherries, bell peppers and something to drink. Now the plan was to find a place, where I can finally jump in the lake! It was really hard to find anything, so I ended up eating my sushi on a bench. After that I found anyhow a little place to swim and it even had sun chairs! So I swam in the lake in my underwear 🙂 I really didn’t care much, if people would look weird. I fu*** walked here!!! I decided to go home for a few days to rest. It wasn’t my actual plan, but why not 😉 So I enjoyed the lake in the afternoon and took the train back home in the evening. The ride was pretty amazing! I bought a beer and chips and eat those. After that I felt really sick and thought I gotta threw up. I totally forgot that I eat sushi and cherries.. yikes! Luckily I didn’t 🙂 I had a second beer at home with my parents. Can’t wait to be back on the Alpine Pass Trail 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this and sorry for my bad english (I’m sure there are many mistakes in it), but that’s fine for me! haha

Happy Trails, Tinkle

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