In the south westernmost part of Germany, cornered by France and Switzerland, is the Schwartzwäld…
Today we would hike to the Löschenpass Hütte! After a lovely few days at an Airbnb in Blatten, we were ready to get back on the road. We drove to Wiler, a town near Blatten, and parked our car. We bought a round trip on the gondola and excitedly clambered on. Our first gondola in Switzerland! Going up the Alps! How exciting! It began and whisked us up the mountain. Too fast. It was super anticlimactic. We were both somewhat disappointed when we arrived at the next stop after only one minute.
The hike to the Löschenpass Hütte was beautiful. Straight across and up the side of a mountain towards the mountain pass. The rocks were beautiful, and covered with lichen! We crossed a few little creeks, and found ourselves so high up we were in snow! The snow crossings weren’t too bad, because it was pretty rock solid. A few times we took a step and went right through, knee deep, and once Michael went hip deep, into the snow. It was so adventurous! And so hilarious!
We ate our peanut butter and honey sandwich in the sun, on top of a mountain.
We arrived at the hut, positioned right in the middle of the mountain pass, and checked in. We enjoyed a beer and a bag of peanuts sitting outside. We introduced ourselves to the only other guests of the hut this evening, Christine and Marlon from Washington, and their two year old son, Chess. Together, the five of us enjoyed dinner of salad, soup, and a traditional Swiss style macaroni dish. After dinner, we all retired to bed. We were in our own rooms, amidst the empty bunk beds. Almost immediately, we were asleep.
During dinner last night, Christine and Marlon raved about the hike they did up to the pass. They came up from the other side. They started in Kandersteg. The valley, they said, was spectacular. If there’s one thing I know about Michael it’s that he suffers from FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. We had originally planned to hike back down to Wiler, but what if this valley is as spectacular as Christine and Marlon say? What if we don’t get to see it? We decided to do it.
The beginning of the hike was treacherous, down what felt like a sheer rock face, through numerous snow drifts, and over countless glacial run off creeks. It was crazy. I just kept wondering why we did this. Especially when every sign we saw appeared to have a longer time than it should. “Kandersteg: 5h,” then an hour later, “Kandersteg: 4h 30min.” It was crazy! We hiked in a cloud for the beginning of the trail too, so we really couldn’t see much.
But, right when I started to question our decision, the clouds disappeared and revealed the most remarkable valley. It was endless, carved away from a melting glacier over millions of years. The mountains on either side were tall, steep, and craggy. We were surrounded by waterfalls and wild flowers. It was breathtaking.
The hike down became a lot easier when we were back in the alpine meadows and then down further in the tree line. The shade from the trees was a welcome change. Damn, this Swiss sun! She hot! And still, the signs seemed to lie, “Kandersteg: 3h,” an hour later, “Kandersteg: 2h 45min.” We found the river at the bottom of the valley, and found a shuttle bus stop near the bridge. We weren’t interested in paying for the bus, and decided to walk, the signs all said it was only 2 hours more, and we figured because it was a river valley, it would be somewhat flat.
We were right, the path was so pleasant. It weaved around the river bed, in and out of trees, and through really lovely nature. We stopped for lunch on the river, in the sun, looking up at a towering waterfall. I collected perfect skipping stones and Michael skipped them. It was bliss. We continue our walk, “Kandersteg: 1h 30min,” an hour later, “Kandersteg: 1h.” Wtf?!
It became comical as we walked. We finally arrived in Kandersteg, but had another 30 minutes to walk to the train station. We were exhausted, our feet were tired, we were SO ready to just be there, we were goofy. We walked through the town, arrived at the train station, bought our tickets and found our platform. The train took us to Goppenstein station, and from there, the bus took us back to Wiler where our car patiently waited for us. Phew! What a day!!
Interested in this hike? Click here to read some more information!