Via Alpina – stage 10

And so I set off from the heart of Grindelwald at 7.30 am. According to the guide, this is an easy, straightforward stage. It said it should take about 6.5 hours – just shy of 1200 metres elevation and under 20 k. Yup – should be a piece of cake. (You know you’re on a tough trek when 1200 metres sounds easy).

At any rate, before I get into the details, a bit of my thinking this morning. My version of “do these pants make me look fat?” (Addressed to my nearest and dearest) is “do I look too old?”

So – I am blessed with a man who loves me and thinks I am young and beautiful exactly as I am.

I wish I was the kind of person who doesn’t need reassurances. I wish I had so much self confidence that all my approbation came from inside me. But no, I am not that person. I do need reassurance. Luckily, my husband also doles out reassurances in monster bucketfuls. I was feeling grateful this morning. And beautiful. And young.

And then the hike started in. I suppose it was too much to expect that every single day would be great. I did my best with doctoring my feet. My best was not great.

I have hiked in this area. I have hiked most of the trail/track I was going to be on. I knew what to expect.

It was a tough day.

The good news: the day was clear and sunny and gorgeous. Not a trace of humidity and temps in the mid-twenties. Just perfect for hiking. But this leg of the trip is almost entirely on roads. It started off steep on paved footpaths. Then went on a wide gravel track that continued pretty much to the top of Kleine Scheidegg (the pass).

This is a very busy pass: it’s where trains from both valleys converge and the train goes to the top of Jungfraujoch through the Eiger. There are restaurants and hotels and – well – it’s busy.

That said, some of the views going up were gorgeous, especially in the early morning light.

I opted to take a little trail down, not the main path. It was going to add time to the day but hey, I wasn’t in a hurry. This trial was pretty and I got some fine views. Even managed to get my picture taken by a lady from Dallas.

And then I hit a fork and took the right hand one that landed my back on the track//gravel road. But then I had this view for lunch

While looking in the other direction, I could see Muerren across the valley and above it the next pass.

You can see it right in the middle of the photo. The day after tomorrow (finally – a rest day) I am going to go over that one.

And so I hiked down to Wengen, which took forever on the painful, dusty road, my feet killing me, my lower back giving me twinges and my shins hurting. And did I mention my backpack digging into my hips?

Lesson learned: pack a lot lighter. Bringing my lumbar pack was a huge mistake. Too heavy. The only time I’ve used it is on the plane. I could have put my essential carry-on in a paper bag and it would have worked just as well. Also, I didn’t need that many t-shirts. A total of 3 of everything, not 4 or 5.

I was initially going to walk all the way to Lauterbrunnen but darn it, I was sore and by the time I got to Wengen I’d already been hiking 7.5 hours. I didn’t have it in me to do one more hour of steep down on a road in the trees. I took the train.

And then things got interesting. I’d decided to reserve a room the night before in a little holiday apartment place because it was cheap and had a kitchen. I asked for directions at the Tourist info kiosk. And off I went. After 20 minutes of fruitless walking (I did not need to walk another 20 minutes!) I turned back. Turns out I’d got bad directions. Tried again. Found it. And it looked rather odd. It was a house with a hugely overgrown and weedy garden. It just didn’t look right. I rang the bell. No answer. Rang it again and again. I shouted. I knocked on doors. I peeked in windows. It looked like the place had been burgled.

I gave up. I was so done with walking. My feet hurt. I was tired. I wanted a shower.

I wasn’t particularly distressed or upset – just done.

So I found a hotel that wanted an exorbitant amount of money and when I said it was too much, they offered me a room with a toilet and shower down the hall – for 96 francs! Yikes!

But I took it and I’ve had my shower and done my laundry and, let me tell you, it’s the most depressing room I’ve ever been in. There isn’t even a chair to sit on. There’s no table or desk. There is a bed and a tiny little footstool thingy. That’s it.

And my window is on a level with the terrace.

And I don’t care. It’s one night.

I have sent a strongly worded email to demanding a refund for the no-show room.

So – not a great day. And, in a way, a great day. Great because I felt love and joy and my heart is bursting for love of Simon. Great because I got to hang out with Eiger, Moensch and Jungfrau – my triumvirate of “home” mountains. And great because I have completed stage 10. Wow! More than halfway.

My plan was to hike up to Muerren tomorrow. I have a room reserved at my fav little hotel. I would get there at about 11 and take the rest of the day off. I have half a mind to take the gondola up and not hike at all. Especially after today, which turned out to be 9 hours by the time I got settled.

I’ll think about that and see how my feet and back and hip bones feel. I have to be in good shape for the next two passes. They are the mothers of all passes. First, the Seffinenfurge and then, the highest and diciest of the whole trip: Hochturnli at almost 3000 metres.

And these are my poor feet while waiting for the train today in Wengen.

About goodyniosi

Writer, avid(!!!) hiker - living life to the fullest. Love, life, bliss - getting high on getting high (in the alpine that is)
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3 Responses to Via Alpina – stage 10

  1. I think your body is telling you something – and so are your thoughts. You need a pit-stop.
    Think of the last time you hiked continually, at this pace, and then think about how much distance/elevation you did in that time. Add up the elevation you have done. And then add in the challenges that you haven’t had in the past.
    You’ve walked every single day for over a week on bloodied, blistered feet with an overweight pack and bruised hips over half of the Swiss Alps!
    What is this trip for? To get to the end? Then it’s just over. You are in a place of wonder and beauty that you have spoken about since we first met. It is one of those homes of the heart – a place that needs no words or, more aptly, can never be properly conveyed with them.
    Let your soul soak it in for a little while and maybe let your feet just soak! One day in paradise, in the place you cherish? I’d take three myself (or more likely ten). Not that anyone on holidays needs to ‘earn’ it but you most certainly have!
    Love you! Be safe.

  2. goodyniosi says:

    Thank you. You speak wisely. I love you. And I love that you love me.

  3. Hurray for small paths and trains and gondolas. And for days off to enjoy the surroundings.

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