New Year and still no snow. Well, not anything worth mentioning anyway. So we went hiking again. From Kandersteg up to the frozen Oeschinensee (1522m) and from there further toward Blüemlisalp. We only went as far as Oberbärgli (1978m), a nice little Alp below the glaciers where we sat in the sun and enjoyed the views below. Then back down to the lake and across the ice for dinner in the village.
Winter is missing and to see snow you need to go high. We left Basel at 4.30 in the morning for Interlaken, where we boarded the train that takes you up to Jungfraujoch station (3454 m). Several highest here: highest railway station, highest observatory, highest radio relay station, highest chocolate and watch shop and as a christmas special it also hosts the highest christmas tree in Europe. And the views are of the highest calibre as well…
We set off towards the Mönchsjochhütte (3658 m) which is situated just above the Obers Mönchsjoch (3627 m). In winter they don’t normally maintain the route for tourists but with this weather there were quite a few people going for the free Gletscherkaffe – coffee with lots of Schnapps. We left the hut and crowds behind and continued on across the Ewigschneefeld towards the Unders Mönchsjoch (3518 m). Fantastic setting and wonderful albeit way to warm weather.
Unfortunately you need to play the sardine on the way down as the trains are packed with Japanese and American tourists from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. In Interlaken we finally found some peace and quiet for a nice Rösti and some beer before going back home.
Jungfraufirm leads to Konkordiaplatz and Aletschglacier
Lack of oxygen again…
Towards Unners Mönchsjoch
A little hike up to Mont Raimeux (1302m), the highest peak of the Canton Jura, to see the Alps on the horizon. Cold on the northern side but super sunny and warm in the sun. And great views.
There they are
This must be a happy horse
Temperatures are going back up and we chased the cold early Sunday morning. One hour drive to the Vogesen to skin up the Grand Ballon (1424m), the highest peak. It was raining all the way there but then just as we reached the bottom parking the scenery turned white. We were the only two people there so early and we had to break trail on the grassy slopes. We made two loops up and down and then headed back home for lunch. Good start of the day.
Park and Ride
For a change we got to ski first
And then skinned up for more
Cold and quiet
Sort of magical
Then down again for the second round
And finally back to the Col
Finally the first ski tour of the season. We took the train down to Matten (1023m) in Simmental. You start skinning just behind the train station and soon enter the relatively steep forest. This being the first tour of the season i would expect us to take it a little easier but for some reason we were really fast. Maybe it was all the untouched, super light and fluffy snow. There was about 40 cm but there is no base and you basically sank down to the bottom. Luckily we chose a grassy route. The top 200 vertical were windy, cold and the snow was blown away so we were quick to head down. Ski back to the train and home. Good start.
The path starts on an old service road behind the train station
Shortcut through the woods
Fluffy all around
Only sun was missing
The top was windy
October is the month of wine so it is only fitting that we made a trip to one of France’s best wine region Alsace and more specifically Kaysersberg, the home of Pinot-gris d’Alsace.
We started pedaling from Basel along the Rhine and it’s canals following the EuroVelo 15 toward Colmar. In true French fashion we got lost a couple of times but didn’t care much since the sun was shining, we had enough wine and good company. Eventually we passed the Alsacian plains or the Grand Ried and started climbing towards our goal Lapoutroie in the Vosges (Vogesen). Traditional dinner and wine tasting.
Next morning it was time to go back but we chose a different route. First we descended down to Kaysersberg, which is apparently one of the nicest villages in the whole of Alsace according to our French colleagues. From there we followed the wine route (Route des Vins d’Alsace) that takes you through all the vineyards and little villages all the way back to Mullhouse and from there along the canal back to Basel.
We did about 230 km in 2 days but with all the sun, laughs and good wine we hardly noticed the effort 😛
Some say Hardergrat (also called Brienzergrat) is the most beautiful ridge trek in Europe. The path starts above Interlaken at Harderkulm (1321 m) and then goes on for 27 kilometres all the way to Brienzer Rothorn (2349 m). At first the path follows through the forest but soon steeply rises and ultimately you are walking on a tiny ridge that falls down steeply on both sides. Sure footing required which is easier said than done with that view…