Zürich woke to yet another cloudy morning, as the sun rose on winter solstice. On this, the shortest day of the year, we hopped on a plane to Washington, DC, following the sun to the west. Flying high above the clouds, we enjoyed daylight for 15+ hours, though inside the plane we never really got to enjoy the sunshine. When I checked out the window, soon after we reached cruising altitude, I was blessed with a grand panoramic view of the Alps – the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps – spread out beyond a sea of clouds.
We were fortunate to stay at a hotel with a fantastic view of the Matterhorn, seen across the village of Zermatt. As the sun rose shortly after 8am, the first light illuminated the tip of the Matterhorn. See the gallery for more.
I returned to my morning walking route, climbing through the streets and stairs of Zurich to the viewpoint atop Zurichberg. Today, I arrived not long after sunrise; with fewer clouds, the sun shone through to the Zurich valley. Indeed, it seemed the orange glow of the rising sun was bouncing off the cloud deck above, illuminating the light fog hovering over the lake Zurichsee.
Zooming in to the Alps spread across the horizon, we can see the morning sun illuminating the Eiger and its neighbors.
Earlier, I paused along Spyristrasse at a point where I knew one of the multi-story condo buildings hosted an impressive sight: a three-story cat staircase, mounted outside the building, allowing the cat to come and go from its residential balcony. Today, for the first time ever, I saw a cat sitting atop the stairs, surveying its territory and guarding the homestead from all comers.
Although it was tempting to think of Friday’s climb of Piz Palü as a grand finale for my time in Switzerland, today’s sunny summer weather just couldn’t be ignored. With only a few days remaining in Switzerland – a hiker’s paradise – I decided to maximize the opportunity. So this morning I hopped a train back to Braunwald, where in March I spent an intense day postholing my way across the high country toward Schwanden. It was quite different today! Read on and check out the gallery.
I grew up hiking in the Adirondack mountains of New York, and later the White Mountains of New Hampshire – places that are still near and dear to my heart – but ever since I was a young boy, leafing through pictorial mountaineering books from legendary climbers like Chris Bonington and Reinhold Messner, I’ve dreamed of ‘Real Mountains’ capped with snow and glacier. Yesterday, I finally had my chance and summited Piz Palü (3900m, 12,811′). Although relatively simple on the grand scale of mountaineering, it was nonetheless the most challenging mountain I’ve experienced in my 50 years of hiking. Read on and definitely do not miss the gallery – we were blessed with outstanding weather and snow conditions.
Tuesday’s weather was promising to be gorgeous, and I could not let such a day pass me by – despite an afternoon full of meetings. Waking early, and browsing the weather maps, train schedules, and hiking routes, I decided to return to Flumserberg – because it is close and offers many options. The catch?: the best train would leave in 13 minutes. Good thing I keep my backpack ready to go! Jump on the train with me, read on, and check out the gallery.
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.
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!
As the spring season remains dry, our views of the Alps have been hazy.
Every morning I climb Zürichberg to my favorite outlook, with its sweeping view of the city and Zurichsee in the foreground, and the Alps in the distance. We’ve had a very dry spring – no precipitation since that light snowfall on March 30 and no real rain for weeks before that. That has led to beautiful, warm sunny days, but also a fair amount of haze between me and the mountains. Yesterday morning the view was relatively clear, and Adobe Lightroom helped me remove a bit of haze from my photos. I can’t wait to get back to the mountains!