Read about a hike from the West to the East of Switzerland. Starting West of Geneva and move on by passing different culture, languages and different housing styles around the little country. Going up several times above the tree line, passing great lakes, small and big rivers, snow, glaciers, farmland, old trains and friendly people. At the end spending about 145 hours on the track, counting more than 544 km and managing 23'000 meters altitude up and down.
Day 19 and 20 Zernez, Piz Cavalatsch to Müstair
Beautiful autumn weather accompagnies me on the last part of my hike through Switzerland. Starting in Zernez it'still freezing cold. I have the occasion to see the set up of a cattle and horse market. Making my way up to the pass dal Fuorn (Oven pass) into the Swiss National Park. The forest starts to turn yellow and the first larch trees already start to loose their needles (it's the only needle tree who looses them over winter), the colors and the nature in this remote area are fantastic. On the other side of the pass, the most eastern part of Switzerland, I walk down to the valley of Müstair. Todays rest is in Sta. Maria, a beautiful village with the typical old stone houses with thick walls and beautiful paintings.
On the next morning - the last of this tour - we get up early to climb the Piz Chavalatsch that ist the most eastern point of the Swiss boarder. The weather is great again, the colorful autumn wood shines in the morning sun and even though the steep ascend 1'500 meters up to the peak are exhausting we enjoy this last hike very much. Reaching the peak the 360 grade view back over Switzerland to Italy is just fantastic. What a great feeling to have reached the goal after nearly 550km, from the very western to the most eastern part of our wonderful country. Happy I take the last descent back down to Müstair with its old monastry under our feet.
Day 17 and 18 St. Peter Molinis, Davos to Zernez
After leaving St. Peter/Molinis and passing the village of Langwies the forest opens up and I hike through open fields surrounded by already white topped mountains. The last village on the way up to todays pass is Sapün, a very old Walser settlement. The old wooden houses are still inhabited throughout summer but during winter, only one of the houses, the 'Heimeli', an old guest house is lived-in. The path is now getting steeper. The few marmots that still can be seen seem to be gorged and ready for winter. And winter really doesn't seem far anymore, as I climb higher up, the surrounding changes color from green to white. The last hundreds of meters I walk through the snow - but arriving on the Stelva pass, the south side going down to Davos is still fairly green. After a hot soup I make my way down through the ski region of Davos, home of the yearly WEF (World Economic Forum), enjoying the beautiful view and the now warm shining autumn sun.
Over the night, it started to rain and I have to leave a grey Davos with my raincover on. Following the hiking trail up the very long, but not so steep Flüela pass, all of a sudden raindrops are changing into snowflakes. Wow, what a welcome sign of the upcoming winter season. Once again I make the experience, that even though loving the sun, hiking in nasty conditions has its own charm. In just a few moments the path under my feet is covered by snow and a mystic scenery surrounds me. Unusually I leave the hiking track and follow the pass road, as the path gets very slippery. But as I am approaching the Flüela pass, the sun returns and shows all the beauty of our mountain world. On the way back down On the other side, the scenery soon changes again. I leave the snow behind and pass a wonderful and for this region typical larch forest. These needle trees change color of their needles from green to yellow in autumn before loosing them over winter time. In Susch, the first village at the foot of the pass, the typical stone houses with thick walls and typical paintings show me, that I arrived in another region of Grisons, the Engadin. Fast the last kilometers to Zernez, the door to the Swiss National Park and my goal for this day is reached.
Day 16 Chur, Tschiertschen to St. Peter Molinis
For once it was only a short day trip, due to the bad weather. Starting in Chur, the main capital of canton Grison, I first take some time to visit this nice old city. Afterwards the slowly ascending path leads me to Passugg, where the fountain of "Passugger", one of Switzerlands many mineral waters is. Passing many typical wooden stables of this alpine region I reach Tschiertschen, a very nice farmer and holiday village. Most of the still original old houses seem to be renovated lately. A nice place to have a rest and enjoy the view inbetween the clouds to the allready snowy mountains. Autumn has definitively started and first signs of winter arrive. Nevertheless in the afternoon the sun comes back and accompagnies me to todays goal, the railway station of St. Peter/Molinis.
Day 14 and 15 Disentis, Ilanz to Chur
On the way down from Disentis to Ilanz, I am passing some typical farm vilages in a scenic landscape. In the village of Surrein a surprise expects me. The villagers celebrate the installation of their new curch pipe organ with a bizarre parade of old traditional and brand new vehicles. The parade is leaded by so called "Treicheln" (men swinging cow bells), the sound of Switzerland. I arrive in Ilanz, the first city on river Rhein, just before the first raindrops fall.
The next day, my way leads me through the famous Rhine gorge, River Rhein has blazed its trail over millions of years through the sand stone and built a wonderful, deep canyon. Half of the track I directly follow the river down in the canyon, like the railway tracks of the famous Glacier Express, an ancient Railway that leads from St. Moritz until Zermatt, do. For the rest I ascent up to the old Rhine gorge street, right on the ridge of the canyon with a wonderful view back down. At the end of the day, Chur, the main city of the canton of Grisons is my goal.
Day 12 and 13 Grimsel Hospiz, Andermatt to Disentis
These two days lead me through Europe's water castle. How adequate, I start walkin from Grimsel hospiz in deep fog. But just before reaching the Grimsel pass, first shy sunrays cast out the clouds, what a mystic scenery. Fast I leave the steep way down to Gletsch (englisch: Glacier) behind me. Only about 100 years ago the Rhone glacier ranged down till here, till nowadays it shrunk massively and can't even been seen from the sole of the valley. Following the old railway track up to the Furka pass I'm very lucky to see two historical steem rail trains crossing. Wonderful, that a group of volunteers still make this experience possible. Hiking over the second pass of the day, Furka, I soon reach Andermatt, another Ski Ressort, in the center of Switzerland and the famous Gotthard massiv.
Next morning it only takes me 2 hours to ascend the Oberalp pass. Now in the canton Grisons/Graubünden the last part of these two days gently leads me down through another beautiful Landscape to Sedrun. Passing a few small alpine farmer villages with beautiful old wooden houses and small chapels, I finally reach todays destination, Disentis with its ancient monastry.
Day 10 and 11 Grindelwald, Meiringen to Grimsel Hospiz
The ascend from Grindelwald up to the 'Grosse Scheidegg' is gentle and leaves enough time and air to enjoy the impressive view. Looking back the very thin and steep ridge of the Eiger peeks out of the clouds and makes it hard to imagine one could climb it (I know one can, I did it just a few weeks ago...). On my right the Weatherhorn where the remains of one of the very first cable cars of the world still can be seen. Soon the Grosse Scheidegg is reached and the track descends, passing Rosenlaui, a glacier gorge. Meiringen, from where one of the Sherlock Holmes Storys ist about, is my destination for day 10.
Early next morning the way leads first through the Aare Gorge. The 1.5 km long and 200 meters deep Gorge is a must see. The following beautiful 25 kilometers up to the Grimsel Pass are following the old mule way. A very interesting hike through our history, surrounded by a wonderful landscape. The Grimsel area ist home of a huge system of hydroelectric power plants. Passing Europes steepest funicular (Gelmer) as well as many other trains/cable cars and several barrier lakes the way to my goal, the Grimsel Hospiz is a real pleasure. Especially the last part where the old mule way is still very well preserved takes you back into the old times. A wonderful hike again.
Day 9 Stechelberg to Grindelwald
Leaving Stechelberg early morning soon the access to the ascent next to the famous Trümmelbach falls is reached. A row of 10 waterfalls in the inside of the mountain that carry the glacierwater from Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau down to the valley. A small, steep path leads up through the forest. After overcoming the rockface and passing small alps arriving in Wengeneralp. Here the historic Hotel Bellevue invites for a stop but hiking directly further up to the Kleine Scheidegg. All along the way the impressive view to Eiger, Silberhorn and the Black Mönch can bei enjoyed. From the Kleine Scheidegg from where the Jungfrau Railways leave to the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, the path ascends further to the Eiger Glacier Station. Unfortunately the glacier melting has left nothing than rocks and the glacier itself ends much further up. Now taking the Eiger Trail, a path to Grindelwald that follows the foot of the Eiger northface. What an impressiv view up to this wall. After 21 kilometers with 1700m ascent and 1500m descent reaching Grindelwald just in time before a thunderstorm with heavy rain.
Day 7 and 8 Adelboden, Kandersteg to Stechelberg
In the big stages of the tour hiking in two days over three passes in the Bernese Mountains. 42 kilometers distance plus over 3500 hight meters up and down, in the heart of Switzerland. Starting in Adelboden steadily climb up to the Bunderchrinde, a small Pass leading to Kandersteg. On the way visiting a small alp and have the joy to see the dairymaid producing Cheese, all still handmade. After a steep way down enjoing lunch in the over 250 year old Ruedihuus, a pitoresque country house near Kandersteg. The last hour walking up to the Oeschinensee.
Early next morning leving the lake and mystic scenery. Walking careful, in order not to stand on one of the many alpine salamanders crossing the path on their search for a partner. Through heavy rain finding the way up to the Hohtürli and take a break in the Blüemlisalphut, 3000 on meters altidute. From there steep stairs down again. As the sky brightens up findng an unrealistic looking stone desert. Global warming is real, unfortunately, only a lunar landscape is left over where a former glacier covered the mountain. After passing an exposed path through a steep cliff, sometimes secured by a rope, and climbing up an iron ladder finally reach the Sefinafurgge, from where a great view can enjoy to the Schilthorn and to Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. This view accompagnies the whole way down, passing some beautiful waterfalls until reaching the goal of this Stage, Stechelberg.
Day 4 to 6 Vevey, Rochers de Naye, Gstaad to Adelboden
The second part of the hike has been taking 3 days from Vevey, at the shore of Lake Geneva to Adelboden in the Bernese Mountains.
On the first day the path slowly ascented from 400m through the forest to the village of Les Avants. From there the way gets steeper and soon reaching the Col de Jaman, from where the target, the Rochers de Naye could be seen. The last 500m altitude taking the direct way climbing over rocks and passing some snow fields and finally reached the famous Rocher de Naye on 1'968m altitude. There all could enjoy a spectacular sunset over the lake of Geneva and a wonderful view far into the French and the Swiss Alps.
At the beginning of the next day first search the path, as the snow still covered the top of the ridge on the way down to the barrier lake Hongrin. Following the lake, after taking small tracks down to Château d'Oex which is a famous place for balloning. Follow River Sarine/Saane until reaching the language barrier from the French to the German part of Switzerland and after walking 38 kilometers reached Gstaad, home of the Swiss Tennis Open.
On day 3 from Gstaad to the next destination Adelboden crossing two passes, the first ascent from from Gstaad (100m altidude) over the Rümlispass (1718m) back down to Lenk (1000m) and up again in the Ski Arena of Adelboden/Lenk over the Hahnenmoospass (1950m) to Adelboden,
Day 1 to 3 Geneva, Lausanne to Vevey
Starting point is Chancy at the Rhone, the most western village of Switzerland, at the French border, near Geneva. From the border stone walking through fields, changing with woods, small village and always meet river Rhone again.
The top of the boarder stone at the West Point of Switzerland shows not only the corner, but also the line as it is near by. It is a very quite place and nothing else shows signs of a boarder. Just peace between France and Switzerland.
The first walk is going to the near by forests and nothings tells you where the track is, in France or Switzerland.
Passing the first kilometers the famous Swiss vineyards show up in the friendly hill side outside of Geneva. Little farm houses, hors stables and old houses need to be passed and all seems to be quite and peacefull.