The past two weeks flew by like the wind with a lot of hiking involved. We explored the Schwyzer Alps, Appenzell Alps, and the Glarus Alps. Very impressive mountain ranges and a Paradise for explorers.
We first started with Mount Rigi – the so-called Queen of the mountain, located in central Switzerland. It is surrounded by Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, and Lake Lauerz and it’s part of the Schwyzer Alps.
We took the cable-car from Kräbel station to Rigi-Scheidegg and from there a two-hour hike to Rigi Kulm. This trip was totally spontaneous like usual so we didn’t check the weather conditions on the mountain. We just found ourselves diving in the clouds with the cable-car and only then we realized that we might miss the spectacular panoramic view along the hike. And with few exceptions, so it was. We were like two hedgehogs in the fog hiking up, with no one else around. But there was a nice, spooky atmosphere that we pretty much enjoyed. And from time to time the greatness of the area was being revealed for like a minute, giving us the chance to stop and be amazed by the view. We also found a nice spot for lunchtime that would have probably been crowded during a warm sunny day.
We then headed towards the Appenzell Alps and found ourselves on the Schwägalp Pass, ready for new adventures. Close to our parking place, there was the Säntis cable-way which goes right to the peak of Mount Säntis where you can enjoy a view across no fewer than six countries. It is situated in some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Europe. However, we didn’t take the cable-car but decided it’s a better idea to hike up all the way instead. And that’s where the real adventure began.
We came across the first path covered in snow which wasn’t that bad but should have been an obvious sign that as we go up we will encounter even more snow. Shortly after, we passed a Warning sign☠ saying that you shouldn’t go on that trail unless it’s Summertime. We didn’t take it too seriously either and we kept going forward. The trail started to become more and more challenging and the assisting ropes have been removed. There was one more couple hiking behind us and when we started to really climb on a very steep path in the snow, they made a U-turn. We were not ready to give up yet and we kept going forward even though we were totally unprepared for a snow hike. None of our shoes or clothing were waterproof and we didn’t have the proper equipment. We got so wet and muddy and we started slipping a lot. We could have literally fallen off the cliff if we wouldn’t manage to stop ourselves on time.
We stopped for a break to catch our breath, to eat something and to finally enjoy the view. Also to check how much longer would take us to reach Säntis. It was showing 30 min on the map but with a steep path covered in snow would have probably taken us 1-2 hours longer (if we would make it there alive). As we sat there eating, rocks started falling down from the peak right where we were supposed to pass by. We also realized that there’s quite a big risk of avalanches. The decision of turning back on the same scary path wasn’t appealing either. We started joking about calling Rega (the helicopter emergency service in Switzerland) while slowly made our way back. We were even more prone to slipping than while hiking up and to make things scarier it also got very foggy with about 5 meters (16 feet) visibility range.
Luckily we managed to get back in one piece, with the lesson learned to always get informed on the hiking routes beforehand and never ignore a warning sign again. Adventuring is great but safety should be still a priority.
We spent the evening sharing stories with a traveler from England who’s discovering Switzerland with his cool Land Rover and also attempted to conquer Mount Säntis that day, from another side.
Next day we were of course very sore after the extreme workout, therefore, we took our time to relax at home. It was a nice sunny day and we enjoyed having our home parked in a place surrounded by trees, mountains, and fresh grass. It’s like we get to choose a new garden every time we decide on a place to stay.
Even though we kind of wanted to stay one day longer in that beautiful spot, it was time to hit the road as we were low on most of the supplies and with a full toilet. Ughhhh :))
We went to Zürich to get things done but also for a quick meet up with friends by the lake. Since we started the van life journey we actually don’t get to hang out with our friends that often. We are most of the times on the road, discovering new places spontaneously, which makes planning meetups not that easy.
For the next destination we were thinking to go to Italy but as the weather forecast was not too optimistic, we decided that we didn’t have enough of Swiss Alps adventures and started driving towards Glarus.
In Glarus Süd we discovered a beautiful waterfall called Diesbach and a perfect parking spot in the valley of the Linth river. More campers seem to know about that stunning peaceful place so we also had company during our stay there. The river was flowing two steps from our window, with the imposing mountains all around us. The place was also well prepared with a campfire spot and wood. The perfect kick-start for our first BBQ this year.
While we are driving to Lichtenstein we let you enjoy our YouTube video which sums up these two weeks. We hope you like it.
To be continued…