I have always been fascinated with the beauty and majesty of the Swiss Alps. About a year ago I decided to embark on an adventure that would allow me to experience Switzerland up close. I started by reading The Alpine Pass Route by author, photojournalist & lecturer Kev Reynolds. I devoured this book and began to plan a trekking holiday to Switzerland. I found a friend who was willing to accompany me on Switzerland’s Alpine Pass Route. Soon I found myself making plane reservations and hunting online to find B & Bs, berg houses, hotels or inns that would be on our travel route. I enjoy planning these active adventure trips for baby boomers (this is my 7th long distance trek) myself because I like to be in on the decision making process of where we stay during our vacation. Besides, it is much cheaper to plan our European adventure travel myself.
The trip was set for August 25 to September 27. The training hikes, with loaded packs, began and by the time we left for Switzerland I had about 300 miles under my travel belt. Our adventure took us all the way across Switzerland. We started in Vaduz, Lichtenstein on August 29 and finished in Montreux, Switzerland on September 21. In total, we hiked 254 miles, climbed 54,204 vertical feet, and traversed 16 passes during our Swiss Alpine Pass route.
It was an amazing trip that allowed us to experience the Swiss Alps in a way that is only possible if you walk alp to alp, village to village. The Swiss are warm and charming people who welcomed us at every turn. We saw many animals both wild and domestic during our travels. The ever present cow bells rang through out the trek. We were fortunate enough to happen on a herd of cattle that was coming down out of the mountains for the winter. The cows were all adorned with flowers as they were herded down the road, a sight that I had always wanted to see. And how invigorating to be greeted with a Swiss band as we climbed up to a berghaus in need of refreshment. The trek was both physically challenging and awe inspiring. For the active adventure seeker, it was well worth the effort to prepare for and accomplish this trek.
When I travel I try to stay in small, fun places that give me a taste of the country and the people. There were many like this on my trip to Switzerland, but these are two of my favorites;
Chalet Fontana in Mürren, Switzerland in the Jungfrau region. It is charming and in the middle of the village. The second place that we stayed is near Meringen. They serve alp cheese from their own cows, have an historic saw mill and a lovely alpine inn. The name of the place is the Schwarzwaldalp Hotel with a view of the mighty Wetterhorn.
If You Go:
This is a guest post by hiking enthusiast Kathy Wharton. When not trekking in the alps of Switzerland, Wharton may be found walking the hills of Northern California. For more pictures of this trip and her training hikes, follow Kathy on Instagram.