This is the first trip my daughter and I took, after arriving in Switzerland on June 19th. We have been based at my cousins house, near Zurich, where we have been leaving most of our gear, only taking along what we need, according to where we are going. We rested one day and took off on Monday, June 21st. We took several trains and a long bus ride with the "Post Auto", the bus system that aslo delivers the mail.Our trail started at " Wildhaus". It was sprinkling, and we were told that the pass we were hoping to cross, over to a couple of beautiful lakes, had justbeen snowed on, with the possibility of a little more on the way. There was a hut that we could use, right before the pass ( Zwinglipass) ; it was not warded, but part of it was left open for use.
We started our journey with a gradual uphill on a coutry road that lead to a farmhouse, maybe a couple of miles. Next the trail brought us to a rocky, steady, steep climb, until we hit snow. We ascended about 1400 feet over no more than 2 miles. At first we were stoked about the snow and the scenery. Pretty soon we realized it was still a ways up to the hut, and all we saw was fog and snow. Now and then we caught a glimpse of the hut, far above us, but the rocky trail leading to it was quite elusive. We saw some of the red and white markings, then the snow was piled against the rocks and we could not find anymore markings. When the fog let up a moment we saw it again, then lost it right away, as all turned white and it started snowing sideways. We used out trekking poles to gauge our steps since we were off trail and on very steep, rocky terrain. We finally reached the hut, tired, but glad for shelter.
The beginning of our trip, before we reached the farmhouse.
Libby, ready for the uphill
First bits of day old snow.
Looking back from where we came.
At this point we were still happy to be in the fresh snow
The next morning, I took off on my own to see if we could make the pass. I am the little black spot in the middle of the picture. I found a couple of trail markings, then lost them where the snow got deeper. Ahead was just snow and fog and I decided to get back to the hut and head back down with Libby and try to get to the lakes a different way, which meant a few buses and starting again at a lower elevation, without having to go over this high of a pass, which was actually just about 7000 feet. I was a little disappointed, but it wasn't worth taking that kind of a chance. By early afternoon we got to the other side of the range and started up again. On this side the sun was out for the most part.
We closed down the hut. The night before we found wood and a wood stove for cooking, as well as a big pot, which we used to melt snow, as the hand pump inside was
frozen. The tiny stove put out little heat but we had our sleeping bags ( Megalite and Montbell Superstretch 2) as well as down jackets. We placed our thermometer outside the window and at 9 pm it read 22 Fahrenheit.
We are now heading back down, retracing some of our steps from the night before , and finding the actual markings .
We quickly leave the snow, to find the green valley we started at.
On the way down we saw quite a variety of wild flowers, some places there must have been over 20 different species within a square foot.
A yellow " Papaver sp."
We are now going for our new approach to the valley. This is the last farmhouse on the way up. This area ( Appenzell) is known for it's cheese, the large old farmhouses, and according to my cousin: " The people there are so different.... they are so friendly, tiny in size and have the nicest dialect.". This area is just an hour drive from our hometown..... We did find the people we met to be very kind, if not particularly tiny. During this second day, we encountered a few hikers, some well into their seventies, with bowed legs and Leki trekking poles. Once we left the farmhouses, the trails were once again very steep and rocky.
The first valley we hiked down into, after our 3 mile ascent. Here lies the Samtisersee ( Lake). Our destination is another valley that lies past lower pass then the first one we attempted.
We are now approaching our next ascent, over the snow dusted pass.