Monday, August 2, 2010

The North Face Trail, Mürren, August 2, 2010

I am so glad that I brought my computer, with mobile internet card, this year!  Checking the forecast as soon as I wake up is a huge improvement over going to the Tourist Office.  This morning the forecast was for a dry morning, with afternoon precipitation.  I was tired, so a short morning walk seemed exactly what I wanted.  I decided to hike what the local tourist map calls The North Face Trail; it allegedly gives views of many of the north faces, with lots of boards describing routes and first ascents.  I prefer reading that kind of stuff at home, but the hike itself seemed very attractive: a couple of hours, about 6½ kilometers and two or three hundred meters of elevation gain.

Just as I was going up the steep track from the chalet I got a good view of the Lauterbrunnen Breithorn (there are several Breithorns in Switzerland):

About a couple of hundred vertical meters above central Mürren is the Pension Restaurant Sonnenberg:

Shortly after it I left the most used trail that goes north to the Allmendhubel and instead went south, soon reaching another high level pension, the Pension Suppenalp:

Just as I was wondering how guests got there a rugged car drew up with a passenger; obviously they fetch their guests from the station in the village.

After the pension the trail went up for a short distance, then was more or less level, passing through many meadows.

The meadows where cows currently graze are surrounded by electric fences with gates, that hikers are expected to close after passing through. One gate stumpted me: after looking carefully it was clear that it was not a gate, as both sides were firmly fixed. As I was thinking of climbing over it two women, smaller than I am, came up and decided to crawl through it. I decided that crawling might be easier than climbing, one of the women was kind enough to record the crawl:

Note the hat with bandana  to protect my face and neck from the sun should it have chosen to make an appearance!  I will also note that I was carrying a fanny pack as well as a Goretex top for the expected rain; I had thrown them over the gate before crawling through it.

After that the trail, wide and with excellent footing, continued on the contour. I am sure that there would have been spectacular views of the southern parts of the mountain range if the weather had been better, but as it was I saw almost nothing in the distance. I was able to enjoy the alpine meadows; unfortunately my meadow photos do not seem to reflect what I see.

Just before going down I came across the last of the mountain restaurants of the trip, the Restaurant Schiltalp:

with its decoration of cow bells:

and a man playing a flute like instrument:

Just beyond the restaurant was a barn with piggies:

I do not remember seeing any on my previous trips to Switzerland.

Shortly after I reached the hamlet of Gimmel and a wide, smooth track, paved much of the way. It started raining, and I was glad to be able to make good time (going downhill until Mürren). back at the chalet in time for lunch and an afternoon/evening of sorting out photos and updating my blog!

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