This is pretty much what the start looked like today: cloudy, wet, wild and forbidding. I’ve got to go over that pass that you can’t even see. A bit daunting. But I plowed on.
Despite the clouds and weather, the wild high alpine was crazy beautiful and as the rain turned to a drizzle then just dampish air, I started to take a few photos:
I should also say right here that I did cut this day short as planned. Took the cable car up to Bruesti thus shortening a 10.5 hour day to 8 hours and 1200 metres. I don’t even feel like I cheated.
At any rate, it was a wonderful hike up, steep and hard and interrupted frequently by stepping aside for skinx. Yes, it was the day of the skinx (a new movie title?). They were everywhere, some of them even doing things that looked a tad naughty.
Interestingly, they were only on one side of the pass. Cresting it, I had that “wow” moment. It’s always so cool to get that big reveal. So, a few shots:
And then the 4 hour down the other side. Interestingly, the Engelberg side was clearer – with clouds rolling in behind me. I was so lucky with the weather. It could have been so much worse. And all the scary bits like rock and scree turned out not to be scary at all.
Yeah – I had to throw in a cow shot. This one tried to follow me.
And so it was nothing but down and not a steep down so that was pretty cool. And there was the Titlis – the forerunner of the big boys coming over the next few days. From now on, the mountains are going to be huge. And even though Titlis was covered in clouds, you could feel him looming above you.
As I walked, I thought of things that are different in Switzerland:
When they make sandwiches they don’t cut the bread in half. Kids don’t appear to be constantly supervised by their parents. Things are very expensive but judging by the price tags, I’d say that’s more due to our low Canadian dollar. No one tips. Tipping is not an option on POP machines. People are soooo polite.
Those are just a few observations that are neither good nor bad. Just what is.
So – I limped into Engelberg, the place where it all began about 40 years ago. This is the place where I got off the train and found dozens of hiking signs and started walking. And, just like that I was hooked on hiking. I can absolutely blame it all on Engelberg.
I walked into the first hotel I saw and thought, “uh oh. A bit posh. Probably not in my budget.” They had a room. I asked the price. I heard 60. And thought, “160 francs is 200 Canadian. Cannot do.” “How much?” I asked just to make sure I’d heard right. “60” she said.
I’ll take it, I said. You see, yesterday I stayed in a guest house with shared bath facilities in a dungeon of a room for 55 francs.. sooooo…
And this is Engelberg! It’s one of the big tourist villages! And such a room: I know I should have taken a photo but I can’t now because my stuff is scattered everywhere but it’s got this lovely old wood furniture and a sleigh bed and it’s darn pretty and I have a balcony.
First thing I did was peel of my sodden wet muddy boots and take off my socks. My right foot had only been hurting badly the last two hours. But now it was bad. Well, I have two enormous blood blisters on one toe and it’s throbbing like heck. I have no idea what to do. I showered, stuck a band-aid on it and will simply tough it out.
Oh – one other really cool thing. Exactly 5 minutes after I got into the hotel the heavens opened and it’s pouring rain. Yup, I am convinced that I have an angel walking with me.