Day 9: Kandersteg to Lenk
Elevation: gained 1200 meters, lost 1000 meters
Eats: the usual
The Alpine Pass Route, a haiku
The Alpine Pass Route
It’s Swiss for knee-replacement
But it is pretty.
Travelers note: the Hotel Alpina in Lenk is amazing! The hosts were very nice, the room was beautiful and clean with it’s own bathroom. Highly recommended!
Day 8: Golderli to Kandersteg
Elevation: Really, really, really steep. More elevation gain than last year’s Whitney climb
Eats: the usual, including a Nutela packet licked out clean
Today’s climb was brutal. Punishing. Crazy. Steeper than steep. I’ll let everyone speak in their own words:
“I cried on the side of the cliff and random French people saved me.” Courtney
“I have calves larger than Arnold Schwarzenegger now.” Katy
“I got to know my bronchial tubes for the first time.” Kim
Day 7: Murren to Golderli
Elevation: 3000 ft gained. 3600 ft lost.
Eats: the usual bread, cheese and chocolate.
One word for today’s hike–steep and stunning. Okay, two. It was, according to Courtney, scree-liscious. Scree is crumbling slate and shale. We wound our way up a calf burning ascent of said scree. At times I was afraid I’d fall over backwards from the steepness.
Upon arrival at the top we discovered the heart stopping drop that awaited us. (that’s Kim’s sentence).
It was a rather narrow saddle, so we didn’t linger long, especially since Courtney is rather averse to the heights.
The descent involved wooden steps drilled into the rock face. A cable provided hand hold for part of the way, but then was so close to the ground that it’s use was impractical. Since it had snowed the night before there was a light dusting of what became hard packed snow on each step. The views were amazing, though the journey was a bit intense!
The end of our hike was Golderli, a remote valley where our guesthouse had a sun deck. We enjoyed beer, apple strudel, scrabble and reading for the afternoon. Wonderful after the punishing day.
The best part was dinner. “You must have the dinner here” the guesthouse told us. So we did. We sat at a table with an English couple from London. The dirt course came–soup. The second course came. It looked like something you’d feed a cat. Apparently it was salmon mousse. Thankfully Courtney ate mine. Then, as we prepared for the main course, Parmesan cheese and a smooth applesauce appeared on the table. We joked that the main course would be pasta and pork. It came. Macaroni noodles with meat. Katy took one bite and said ‘hamburger helper!’ The Brits had never had the pleasure of such fine delicacies and were a wee bit horrified as we described. It made for some good table conversation.
Day 6: Lauterbrunnen to Murren
Elevation: 3000ft gained
Eats: FONDUE. All else pales in comparison.
Today: 3 hours steep. Straight up. A bit brutal. But, it was all worth it when we approached Pension Sonnenberg, with the Swiss flag and the California flag flying on the mountainside.
Since it was such an easy day (we are crazy) we decided to take a day hike along a panoramic view (panoramaweg) in the rain.
The highlight was coming upon a children’s play area complete with a zip line. The Swiss are amazing at creating spaces for their children to enjoy the outdoors. And clearly not litigious considering the zip line could easily have flung a small child off the side of the mountain.
The food highlight of the trip was clearly tonight’s fondue, made by chef surfer Santa Cruz Steve who owns the pension. We now have bellies full of cheese, wine, garlic and bread–what else is there in life? Katy plans to take this place over when Steve is done with it.
Murren, the car-less village, is the highest permanently inhabited village in switzerland. We highly recommend it and Santa Cruz Steve’s pension.
No Schilthorn for us but we’re full and happy.