Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Round Two in the Swiss Alps

Trip date: September 2018

Day 2 of hiking in the Swiss Alps was even warmer and sunnier than the first. As with the day before, we started by hiking thru our town of Mürren and riding up the Allmendhubel funicular. But this time we headed away from the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau towards the village of Sonnenberg and picked up the North Face Trail.

It was a spectacular view as we descended into this pretty valley. The trail was mostly flat as we hiked thru a cattle farm and past Pension Suppenalp, which is accessible only by foot. But soon we started to a moderate climb until Mürren was just a small sight below us.

We hiked along this ridge for a bit, passing only a handful of other hikers, and a lot of cows with noisy bells ringing. Absolutely gorgeous!
We stopped when we got to the cheese making hut Schiltalp; the word alp refers to these mountain farms. There is a group of mountain farmers who own this land and share the self-serve/honor snack business. We bought some alpine cheese and some cured sausage along with some fresh juices and sat for a snack. Lovely.

There are only a handful of these huts/alps left, and they are communal with the farmers sharing cow herders and equipment. If the cows are still up in the hills (until late Aug or early Sept) you'll see cow bells hung in the eves of the huts. When the cows are taken down to lower altitudes for the winter the bells go with them so the eves are empty.

This was the highest point at about 6,000 feet and about 1/2 way into our 4.5 mile hike. We continued along the trail, into another valley, over streams, through fields. It was just beautiful, the only sounds from birds and cow bells, and super fun to be hiking with these great girlfriends.

We entered into a small forest and all of a sudden we lost the trail. We reread our notes, looked at the photo of the trail map again, but could not see how to get to the Sprutz Waterfall that we were in search of. Unfortunately we chose the wrong direction and ended up sliding down a hillside dense with saplings and fallen logs! Not the trail! We scrambled back up and finally saw the trail leading in the opposite direction.

As we got closer to the falls we could see that the trail would take us right under it! We had such a blast getting wet in the spray and taking photos and videos from underneath! The view of the snow-capped mountains from behind the water was awesome! And there wasn't a single other person around!
We were near the end of our hike and all of us were pretty hot and tired. We continued through the forest until we came out above Gimmelwald, and saw we still had a pretty steep walk down into the town.

On our descent into town, we passed one more cheese hut and as we were going thru the honor cooler selection of cheese we heard a helicopter. We looked up and the helicopter was transporting something from it's hanging cable. Was it a person? Was it a piece of machinery? Forest snapped a quick shot with her good camera and when we zoomed in we saw it was a cow!!! Flying thru the Alps!
When we sat down at Pension Gimmelwald (the only restaurant in town) I asked the waitress if she had seen the helicopter and she said "no! was it carrying a cow? I've been waiting all season to see that!" OMG! Turns out that the farmers will have a hurt or dead cow taken off the mountains. Our cow was not dead as it was being airlifted out like this flying cow.

We enjoyed sitting down with a bottle of wine and the view at 4,484 feet before catching the gondola back to Mürren, this time coming in at the other end of town. There was a restaurant with a terrace that had cozy blankets and sheepskin throws, so we grabbed some seats, another bottle of wine and relaxed. These mountain views do not get old!

For our last dinner we went back to Eiger Guesthouse where the owner again treated us like family! A round of 007 martinis and some delicious schnitzel were exactly what I wanted for my last dinner in the Alps.
The next morning we checked out of our chalet and said goodbye to lovely Mürren. If you are trying to decide where to base yourself for a hiking adventure in the Swiss Alps, I highly recommend this sweet place! It was sad to be leaving but we were very excited to be on our way to the Mont d'Or cheese festival!

But first we had to get down from these mountains!

-BLM train from Mürren to Grutschalp
-Gondola from Grutschalp to Lauterbrunnen
-Train from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken
-Train from Interlaken to Bern
-Train from Bern to Lausanne

All Bernese Oberland photos here.

Other posts from this trip:

Swiss Ms Behaving

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