Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hiking around the Aletsch glacier: Day 1

This trip would be a good candidate for: Switzerland's 20 Best Hikes for People Afraid of Being Alone in the Mountains.

We start the day with a cheat and take the gondola from Blatten to Belalp instead of walking the 700m. We've already fought through half the population of Switzerland on the trains and bus, so the gondola ride seems somehow earned.
We set off on an easy flat path, go by the organizational beginnings of an Alpabzug and watch some rebellion from the cows. hee hee. Further along to the Hotel Aletschboden and nice view of the glacier, and then down, down, down the "Steigle" to the Aletschji. Quick lunch on a nice rock on the other side, watching the crowds go by on their way to the hanging bridge, holy crap is this hike popular today!. We get a nice view, through the crowds, of the glacier from the Gletschertor and then head down to the bridge.

It's a nice bridge! Wider than the one at Trift, and maybe not as high, but quite mobile and fun to cross. Up, up the other side to the massive crowds at the lake, and then down into the forest. Very, very nice path to Teife Wald and then up, up, up through the woods to the Hotel Riederfurka. Many nice mosses (multicolored!) and mushrooms (multicolored!) along the way.
Reach the hotel, have a beverage and check in, then skip the 8 CHF alpine garden and exhibition at the villa Cassel and head off around the Casselweg (around the Riederhorn) instead. This is a nice easy path with great views of the Matterhorn and other big mountains.

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