Grindelwald to Kleine-Scheidegg

A surprisingly challenging climb.

Seeking to maximize our final weeks in Switzerland, Pam and Andy and I headed off for another overnight trip.  On Thursday we took a sequence of trains to reach Grindelwald, a delightful tourist town in the heart of the Jungfrau region, surrounded by stunning alpine peaks.  Pam and I were last here in December – a quick trip on a stunningly beautiful winter day – and I hiked into Grindelwald after the incredible Faulhorn trek last fall. Check out the gallery and read on.

A field of wildflowers below the north face of the Eiger.
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Mettmen–Leglerhütte

A spectacular hike from Mettmen to Leglerhütte and Unter Chärf.

Sometimes when you go for a long hike into the mountains, you never want to leave and come back. Today was one of those days – no clouds, no wind, no bugs, and spectacular views in every direction. In fact, I would rank this as one of the most outstanding hikes I’ve had in Switzerland – second only to that amazing night on Faulhorn last fall. Today I was inspired by a post from another blogger to return to Mettmen in the Glarus region, a place I visited for my first hike in Switzerland last fall. What an outstanding day! read on, and be sure to check out the gallery – today was a photographer’s dream.

Chli Chärf as seen from trail from Mettmen.
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Rigi Kulm

A steep descent made for an exciting hike on Rigi.

Today was a beautiful day so Andy and I decided to do another hike. My preferred location became temporally inconvenient, late in the morning, because the necessary bus apparently does not run during lunch time. So we picked something closer – Mount Rigi. Read on and check out the photo gallery for more.

We chose an especially steep trail down from Rigi. Zugersee dominates the view.
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Alpstein summits

A cloudy climb to the highest point in the Alpstein region.

The day after Andy and I explored the northeast side of the Seealpsee valley, from Ebenalp to Äscher and up to Schäfler, then down to Seealpsee and Wasserauen, I woke early to climb the other side of the valley. We had stayed overnight at the Alpenrose hotel in Wasserauen, and my colleague drove in to join me at 6am as planned. Our goal was to climb to Rotsteinpass and then decide whether to turn left and climb Altmann, or turn right and summit Säntis. The sky was full of clouds, low enough to obscure all the peaks, but we held on to hope that it might clear later in the morning. Our luck held, with wonderful views of landscapes and wildlife, pastures and farmhouses, and some challenging terrain on this 1600m climb to the highest point in the Appenzell region. Read on, and check out the gallery – many photos have details better seen at full-resolution.

David on the Lisengrat ridge, with Altmann summit at rear.
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Ebenalp and Äscher

A spectacular hike above the Seealpsee valley.

Nearly three years ago, I was in Switzerland for just a few days and was determined to go hiking. As it turns out, early November was not such a great time to visit alpine terrain, and I spent the day wandering through a misty snowstorm, knowing there were grand views – but all were hidden in the low clouds. I enjoyed the hike, though, and it made me more determined to return. This weekend I did – including two spectacular hikes despite some lingering cloud cover. Read on, and check out the gallery; the photos on this page tell the story but don’t capture the beauty of the place or of the day.

The trail from Schäfler up the valley follows a jagged ‘knife-edge’ trail, with cable handrails and slippery footing.
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Flumserberg

A 4-peak tour of Flumserberg.

It has been one month since my last ‘real’ hike – on Pilatus – but it has taken that long for my health to return more or less normal after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms a few days afterward. (Fortunately, I tested negative then, and again 10 days later in an antibody test.) So with today’s beautiful weather enticing me outside, I decided to make a quick trip over to Flumserberg – where Andy and I skied in January – to hike where I could really see some views. Read on, and check out the gallery for photos and video.

David on Gross Güslen peak; Walensee is behind.
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Gattiker Weiher

A pleasant, mild hike outside Zurich.

I’ve been a bit under the weather lately so I’m focused on taking easier walks closer to home. This pleasant parkland, in a suburb of Zürich, includes meadows, pastures, forested trails, and two pretty ponds. On this cool Saturday morning I was not the only one out to enjoy this little pocket of nature! Joggers, strollers, bikers, families, and even horseback riders, all hummed by as I explored some of the trail network outside Langnau-Gattikon. The ducks were in the pond, the wildflowers in the meadow, the cows in the pasture, and the smiles were on all the people. I capped it off by walking down toward the lake shore, reaching the Thalwil train station after passing through its flowering uphill neighborhoods. This hike was recommended by Swiss Family Fun. More photos in the gallery.

Scenes from a walk through the outskirts of Langnau-Gattikon, near Thalwil, near Zurich.

Pilatus

A beautiful day to climb a big peak.

I’ve had my eyes on Mount Pilatus for months, since a local friend suggested it as a place for hiking and (in winter) sledging.  Andy had hiked there in the fall – walking down from the summit.  Today, Andy and I decided to visit and climb up from the base.  The funicular railway is closed (due to coronavirus restrictions) so we planned a round-trip from the Alpnachstad train station to the kulm (summit) and return.  It was a beautiful day and, though a bit hot and humid for hiking, it still granted us spectactular views. Read on and check out the full gallery.

Andy descends through the alpine meadows with views of the Alps beyond.

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Alpine view

Morning views from Zürichberg.

We are blessed with a view of the Alps from our flat, across the historic district of Zürich, the northern tip of Zürichsee (lake), and beyond the forested ridgeline that separates us from the valley to the west.  On a clear morning, like today, it’s a delightful view (below).

Even better, my normal morning walking route takes me straight up the hill behind our flat, nearly to the top of “Zürichberg”, the forested ridgeline that separates us from the valley to the east.  It has a lovely viewpoint, from which I have posted many photos (notably, a series of beautiful sunrises in December).

Today, I thought it would be nice to bring you a bit closer to that view, with a 10-second video panorama… including the sound of birdsong and joggers out for their morning run. Enjoy!

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Nightingales

The nightingales sing us awake every morning.

It’s 5:22 A.M.  Time to wake up! sings a bird loudly from its perch in the chestnut tree outside my window.  I sleep with the windows cracked open all night, so the early morning lights and sounds tend to wake me early.  As spring arrived, I noticed the arrival of a new bird, one with an incredibly complex, non-repeating song, one I’d never heard before.  It was mesmerizing to listen to it chatter away in complete paragraphs, then pause and listen for a response from a distant colleague on a tree down the street.  I’m used to the early-morning birdsong back in New Hampshire – where it seems hundreds of birds start their mornings at 4:30am every June – but never before have I heard a song quite this entrancing.  Read on, and listen.

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