Early morning; possibly everyone is still sleeping. The light outside is reflecting the surrounding mountains off the lake at the end of the valley.  Instead of waking everyone up to get my camera which is buried under a pile of clothes, I leave with just my phone.  There is a soothing calm outside.  No wind, it is a brisk chilly spring morning.  I sit on the edge of the lake actually enjoying the moment, despite other photographers jockeying for the key spots, tripoding their gear all over the place.  I felt in the moment and not pressured to get ‘the shot’.  Although, in that fluid moment of enjoyment, I remained programmed to snap a few pics.  Below is one which captured the moment the best, the spring can be seen by the excess of pollen along the strands on the lake edge, matching the boat hulls.


This photo was taken on Seealpsee, in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Out of this World

When I first stumbled across this, it seemed bizarre, out of place, alien.  I had to stop, examine the tracks, and study the plant.  Our hike had led us to Lämmerensee, which had started to dry up in the late summer, its clay-like mud surface textured by micro organisms and invaded by macro organisms of human, canine, and aves origin.

Visit this post for more photos of this hike from Gemmipass to Lämmerensee.

Stuck in the mud

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Out of this World

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.