Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hiking in the Jura : Oensingen to Holderbank

This was one of those "stay flexible" days. The idea was to hike from Hägendorf to Oensingen along the Jurahohenweg in order to enjoy the forecasted excellent views. In reality the train into Olten was late, causing us to miss the connection to Hägendorf, so we started in Oensingen. After climbing past the old castle and up to the Roggenflue we discovered that the high fog was higher than it was supposed to be and that the Alps were mostly covered by clouds anyway. Ah well.
We followed the quite nice path along the ridge, occasionally seeing a bit of the Alps off in the distance, until hitting the parking lot for the restaurant at Alp. From there we headed down into the valley to Holderbank, from which we headed home.

Not what we planned, but it was a nice walk in the mountains.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hiking around the Aletsch glacier: Day 2

Greg's pre-sunrise climb to the Riederhorn was pretty much a waste since the clouds were too thick to see much in the way of mountain tops. Oh well, it's good to start the day with a bit of exercise.

We got a pretty late start because the hotel didn't serve breakfast until 8, but then we headed up along the ridge path towards Moosfluh. This really nice path had the added advantage of being mostly empty, it was our one bit of solitary hiking on the trip. Along the way we spotted a couple bits of wildlife: a pair of Gemsen and a small member of the weasel family (to be looked up later). The original plan was to take the UNESCO high route between Bettmerhorn and Eggishorn, but that was all in cloud by the time we reached the climbing point, so we opted to join the crowds and take the Aletschtour around the mountain to the Märjelensee. What a relief it was to be back on the highway and away from all that scary solitude. right.

Along a very nice path along the mountainside with great views of the glacier and its constraining mountains we reached the path down to the Märjelensee and were shocked to see a horde of giant ants moving off to the Gletscherstube:


We walked down to the glacier itself and amazed ourselves with the sheer scale of the thing from close up. Upon finding a hole, we did something one probably shouldn't do and climbed underneath the glacier to look around.

there are probably a million good reasons not to do this

After a brief Kaffee and Kuchen break, we took the tunnel under the Tälligrat (see straight line on map), and then continued along to Fiescheralp and the gondola back down. The train trip home was just as crowded as the one down.

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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Zermatt: Day 2

Hiking with Greg's parents in Zermatt

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zermatt: Day 1

Hiking with Greg's parents in Zermatt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gelterkinden -> Farnsburg -> Buus

Hiking with Greg's parents in the Baselbiet.

Jim atop the Farnsburg


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Faulhorn -> Grosse Scheidegg

Hiking with Greg's parents, day 2.

Setting off from the Faulhorn hotel.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Schynige Platte -> Faulhorn

Hiking with Greg's parents, day 1.

Intrepid hikers. That's the Faulhorn in the background.