The hike from Schynige Platte to First is considered one of the best in Switzerland. We were cautioned that it is strenuous, 10 miles with about 2,500 feet of climbing. We had planned to do it on Thursday, but the weather is expected to change, and this hike is a must-see.
We made the 6:49 a.m. train, then connected to the Little Engine that Could. Seriously. We were on a 100-year-old train that puttered up the hillside, and we wondered how we would make it. The train ride alone was worth the trip, though, with even the Swiss train employees gazing out at the beauty surrounding us.
After hiking for three hours, we stopped at a tiny bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere for a snack. Clouds rolled in, cooling things off, which we didn’t mind. At first we felt too warm, and there are few trees to provide shade, so the cooling made the hike more comfortable.
After that point, the hike became a meditation. I needed single-minded focus to find the right placement of feet and poles so as not to lose footing on the loose shale on the steep ascent. And, of course, I had to remember to stop to catch the view. We took our time, ignoring the locals with their mountain goat nimbleness, and we made it through with no incidents.
Was it worth it? Oh, yes. 360 degrees of jaw-dropping splendor, from glacial mountains to Sound of Music meadows. Pictures are amazing but do not do justice to the sense of life and accessibility of these mountains. Will these mountains show up in my writing somewhere? Yeah, count on it. I just hope I can come up with some words by then to describe them.
Exhausted and with sore feet, but triumphant, we took a gondola from First to Grindelwald, where, looking and feeling like something the cat dragged in, we had to navigate through the town’s monthly street market. We grabbed pasta from a restaurant and hurried to the quiet of our apartment.
Today we decided to take it easy. We only hiked seven miles! This hike, though, was almost entirely on level ground. Our goal was to see the Trummelbach Falls, which collects runoff from three major mountains. The falls themselves are inside a mountain, so we took a lift that gave us entry inside, where we could view the falls from multiple vantage points. I shot a brief movie on my camera of the falls so we could capture their roar–if it turns out, I will post it on FB.
We then took a cable car to Murren, a charming village, where we ate lunch and enjoyed, yes, the view. Murren hugs a hillside with a 2,500 foot sheer dropoff.
Afterward we walked for another three miles among the trees. Ready to collapse, though not as sore as yesterday, we made it back to Grindelwald and home sweet home (until Saturday).
Tired as I am, I am inspired by the landscape and being out in it. Last night I drafted a synopsis of a new novel and introduced myself to several characters. Since it has to do with travel, this trip is research!