36 Miles and Three more weeks to go.
The breakfast fare was typical and I ate what I’d usually eat – yogurt, granola, and coffee. My hiking pants were beginning to get a little snug. The nice thing about having few clothes was that I took care of what I had. The day looked sunny and it turned out cloudy with spotted sun, no rain but a lot of wind.
We arranged our packs and headed out. I was glad to leave Grindelwald this way. We found the chalet we were unable to find yesterday -the house on the knoll. We passed small fields and yards, flowers and people working. There was dew on the ground and the 64 franc gondolas passing over head. The extra 3-4 miles this was adding onto our hike was worth it. The beginning of our climb had asphalt roads used as paths.
I wrote this in my journal:
Two hours up from Grindelwald mountains growl with the passing airplanes. We walk through the topiary forest, a natural japanese garden with water fall streams and organic made bamboo see saws, tipping and bouncing off rocks. Smooth wooden benches formed from hiker butts. New glaciers form in front of a clear blue sky.
It was getting pretty cold. We were sweating through and when we took our backsacks off I would begin to freeze. It was on this hike that I took one of my favorite photos – showing everything we carried, and all we took for a month. I had to leave room for eventual souvenirs too.
We began to pass a few structures in mucky fields. Older people were hiking down. Maybe by now it was 10 or 11 in the morning. The fact that so many 60-70 year olds were doing this amazed me. The area had a lot of cow waste smells, the field turned to rock and grass slopping meadows and I was really ready to find this picturesque view of Balchapasee. Then we came upon the lower lake.
Everyone raved of the clear days, the reflections of the mountains off of this pristine lake. Not until we climbed up to the other side of it, sat down to eat and look from where we’d come from did we truly appreciate the view. At first we were both thinking…what’s all the hype about? We ate our nut mix and gummy bears. Phil filmed me and watching myself made me realize that I sometimes spoke without a point. I spoke with pointlessness actually and it was annoying to watch me open my mouth and let spill out whatever my mind was piecing together. hm. Amazing what you can learn watching yourself.
It took us 4.5 hours from Grindelwald to Faulhorn. From there we could see the gem sea trapped by the mountains, Interlaken. Up 1200 feet per hour was tiring to a late 20’s couple. There were some grassy fields with open vistas back toward a framed view of the mountains. But, what was about to come was more varied, from Faulhorn to Schynige Platte. In hindsight we could have gotten a bus from Grindelwald to Buesalp, or even stayed at a different place like Wanderweg nearby instead. Taking a hike from Buesalp via Rotihorn to Balchapsee and then onward to Faulhorn would have worked nicely too.
Ah, but Falhorn. It is the first hike we have taken to peer down on any mountains in this trip. From here we see our first glimpse of the aqua lake, and crisp clear teal water of Thurnsea and Brienzersee. The seas are strung like a bead threading through land connecting range to range, North to South.
At 8100 feet, after bean soup, we decide we must go to Schynige Platte. It took us three hours from Faulhorn to Patte. Leaving time to photo the golden eagles. Make sure to arrive in time to catch the last cog train down into Winderswil. On a Wednesday in September 5:53 was the last train down. We hiked that day from 9 – 5:15 and we were zonked. It was long. Faulhorn to Platte was not difficult (or scary), at times had fist sized rock or larger that was unstable. It made mountain music. The sleek soft rock embedded with years of rain and slow grooves took tiresome to my knees. A lot of looking down to be sure footed, it was like climbing ancient mountains and naturally formed graveyards of boulder sized tumbling rock. There were actong signs to watch for rams, but we never saw any. At one hour away from Platte the paths became places to look into the valleys and gorge from where we had come. The Jungfrau opens up to us out over the grassy plain. We spot Grindelwald again, 7 1/2 hours of walking away.
In our catalog of hikes Phil had this hike more difficult than Mt. St. Helen, but not me!
What I enjoy after this trip is the top peak of our trip where my video of Phil shows him talking, but no words can be heard. His map is flapping furiously and the whole scene is so comical. At Faulhorn, the last switchbacks up to this high point with a tattered swiss flag are killer. Sometimes it’s too much to see the top before you begin climbing. A top of Faulhorn, where we see a wooden roof and hear there may be food inside. The wind by now, as we’ve stopped walking, is through us. The pristine views of the turquoise seas to the north and the green hills to our south are glorious and gem like compared to the bland and cold sky.
We open the creaky wooden doors expecting an interior to match the shab exterior and find ourselves walking over the threshold of a Hollywood movie scene.
Inside is a Paulie’s girl clanking beer mugs for us to join in the drinking. This 40 x 12′ structure is packed with about thirty people. How did everyone get up here – and how is this a restaurant? Soup and beer await. We share a table beside 2 Californians who are coming the opposite direction we are and say our trek ahead is scary. Hm. My definition of scary is much higher I realize than many of the elder people we meet. So we sit with warm hearts and eyes to one another and take a gamble on the journey that follows. The couple by the window leaves and we have to step out to let them by because this place is packed. It really was like steeping into a portal. I expected a city outside of this establishment. We could take a bus 3 miles away or we could go discover Platte, and that is exactly what we did.
So, at the end of the day our long long hike made us so tired. But, we didn’t stop there. We walked another mile to dinner after setting up at Balmers Interlaken Hostel… the coolest hostel I’d ever been in.
Below is an Oberland Map I drew as well as a google map looking south on our trek.