Atop

In honor of the weekly photo challenge entitled, “Atop,” we have chosen a lovely view from a ridge – line hike from Chlingenstock past Fronalpstock.  This is one of our favorite areas of Switzerland for the layered mountains, the stunning lake perched far below and the views that literally take your breath away.  To read more about this particular hike, please visit, Why I Love the Push.

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This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Lofty Goals

We’ve had two days of consecutive sunshine; the penetrating warmth we have missed for months now. The sky has been an incredible hue of blue and we linger each night under a starry, denim blue heaven anticipating what the next day will bring.

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The signs of spring are among us and with each observation of green emerging from a once frozen earth, the sound of birds chirping in the distance and tiny buds appearing on once dormant trees, we are reminded of what is yet to come.

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We can hardly contain ourselves with the thought of breaking free of the full-length winter coats, shed the gloves and hats, push aside the blankets and get outside. “Come, it whispers, come and walk my fields, dance in my meadows, push yourself up my mountains.”  We must heed the calling.

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We have set some pretty lofty goals this year for our family and ourselves. One of our goals is to hike as much as humanly possible with our two little ones at our sides, track those walks and calculate how many kilometers we are covering.  An experiment of sorts and an educational experience for all.   So far, we are off to a slow start. But now, with that bit of sun reminding us that in the days and months to come the earth will take on a green glow, we are slowing ramping up our kilometers and getting ready. Our first mountain stay has been booked, and we plan to dust off the hiking poles, pack our sacks and make our way back on the trail this weekend.

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The simple pleasure of stepping into nature after a long winter is intoxicating. The thought of discovering what has been hiding among the dark earth and feeling alive again are just within our grasp and you’d better believe we are going to take it!

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Women Who Hike

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Women Who Hike is an inspired group of women all gathering with one common goal – to get outside!  We hike in and around Basel Land and together we have a great time, share stories, overcome obstacles and are inspired by nature.

Why? I created this group after seeing first hand the healing benefits of nature. Nothing lifts my mood better than spending quality time outdoors with some awesome ladies!

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Are you interested?  Great, here’s what you need to do.

Step 1:  Wake, up, show up and meet us for the hike.

When?  If you are interested, email me at:melschoutens@gmail.com and I’ll happily email you our next hiking route.

What?  Please weather appropriate clothing and good shoes for hiking.

Bring:  Water, snacks, and your smile!  Oh, and feel free to bring a friend, or several for that matter.  The more, the merrier.

Don’t Bring:  We all love children, but please leave yours at home because sometimes Mamas need to feel like people too!  Friendly dogs, now that’s OK!

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Word of caution!

I love weather, well, most kinds of weather, but hiking in the rain and cold simply isn’t that much fun.  So if it is raining on the morning of the hike, stay in your pajamas, pour another cup of coffee and relax!

Have fun and hike on!

 Melinda

Hike – Gemmipass

In the heart of Switzerland, straddling the cantonal boarders of Bern and Wallis, is the Gemmipass. Famed for its treacherous south-face of switchbacks up a near 1000m cliff, and said to have been climbed as one of many routes over the Alps even earlier than 800AD. Like most passes, there are two sides to climb, and the north side is just as spectacular and perhaps recommended for those with vertigo. From Kandersteig, take Bus 241 to Talstation Sunnbüel, and the Sunnbüel lift to the top. From Sunnbüel, the trail is a well-marked T1 (yellow) rolling through hills, past farms, around a lake, up a hill and through a narrow valley before emerging up to the Daubensee which is said to be the highest natural lake in the Alps at 2207m. At Daubensee, the trail splits, and gives you the option of hiking the right side, a T2 mountain trail, or continues on the T1 before rising up to the Berghotel Wildstrubel perched on the edge of the 942m cliff of Gemmipass. We stayed the night here and enjoyed the views with the setting sun, rising moon, and expansive views of the Wallis Alps with the Matterhorn in the distance. This area is a hot spot for adventure seekers, opting to challenge their minds and bodies on the Via Ferratta along the cliff, or mountain climbing Daubenhorn, Schwarzhorn, or other peaks in the area. If you plan to stay the night at the hotel, and you have a few extra hours before dinner, we recommend the hike to Lämmerensee. From the top of Gemmipass you can hike down the intensive switchbacks, or take the gondola to Laukerbad. There are three main restaurants along the way if you desire a coffee, gipfeli, or a larger meal; Sunnbüel, Berghaus Schwarenbach, and Berghotel Wildstrubel.

Hike – Gemmipass to Lämmerensee

From the Berghotel Wildstrubel, on the edge of Gemmipass, hike westerly along the pass in the direction of Lämmerenhütte (SAC). The trail, a T2 mountain trail, will decline towards the start of the descent to Laukerbad (the strenuous part of Gemmipass) but will continue towards a flat valley once the trails crosses through an old military bunker via a narrow tunnel. From there, the trail follows the edge of a riverbed along talus slopes jetting upwards towards the Daubenhorn on your left. Across the flat expanse, the riverbed resembles the lunar surface more than a grey granite alpine valley. This area is nearly void of vegetation except for small flowing plants and lichen, and despite the uniqueness, there is beauty in its simplicity. The trail splits, to the left and upwards to the Daubenhorn summit, or continues straight in the direction of Lämmerenhütte. All around you are peaks, glaciers, and the riverbed. Near the back of the valley, the trail crosses a bridge taking you to the other side of the river giving you another fork which leads to Lämmerensee. We hiked this area at the beginning of September, and the Lämmerenhütte had already closed for the season. Out to the lake and back to the Berghotel Wildstrubel is about 2 hours.